Use your sales skills when writing your CV

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Why is writing a CV such an effort?

Is it the amount of time it takes? Is it that CV writing is boring – and if you find it boring to write, what will the reader think? Or have we become too lazy? There is probably an element of truth in all of these.

During my experience of recruiting sales professionals, and having read and reviewed hundreds of CVs, I am constantly amazed at the quality of CVs that people will submit to represent themselves. If you want to change jobs, writing a CV is a necessary evil that will hopefully lead to better things such as a new job, more money, better car etc. Writing a CV and selling yourself is not rocket science. As a successful sales professional, you have developed skills, knowledge and experience, and you know how to sell. If you apply these skills to CV writing, you will succeed in getting interviews and making that change.

What is the point of the CV?

First of all you should be clear about what you want your CV to achieve. The ultimate aim of the CV is to secure you an interview.

Sell yourself – Be the product!

You are the product! You have many Features, Benefits and USP’s that will be of interest, you just have to decide which ones are most relevant. This is not as easy as it sounds as you have to present a lot of information about you and your career, and create a positive feeling in 2-3 pages of black and white. It is at this point that a lot of people fail because they do not think about this and do not take the time and effort that is really needed.


Would you arrive at the biggest pitch of your career without any preparation? Hopefully the answer is no. You would probably do some research, maybe prepare and practice a presentation, and make sure your product knowledge is up to date. It is well worth taking the time to prepare your CV. Go through your records, update your CV with recent achievements, make it relevant for the position you are applying for, and importantly know what you have written.

Making a good first impression

The success or failure of a sales call can be determined within the first 30 seconds, so you want to make the right impression first time, every time. This why you are probably well dressed, looking professional, and have well presented information and materials. Would you expect a client to buy from you if you turned up wearing jeans, and a dirty T-shirt, with nothing more than a scrap of paper.

The same can be said about your CV. If a Sales Director reads two CVs and one is smart, well presented, and shows that the person has put some time and effort into the preparation, whilst the other is poorly presented, littered with spelling mistakes and shows that little effort has been made, which one do you think they will be more interested in?

Know your customer

As a successful sales person you have been taught to sell the features and benefits that are most relevant to your target audience. When writing your CV, you should try and put yourself in the other persons position and ask yourself ‘If I were recruiting for that role, what information would I want to see in a CV?’

For example.

Which description of Mr Smith’s current position would make you more interested in inviting him for an interview for a Key Account Manager position?


Training Solutions Ltd – Sales Executive 2003-2005

Sell training solutions throughout the South East


Courier Services Ltd – Field Sales 2001-2002

Sold courier services throughout Essex


Cold Food Ltd – Sales Representative – 1999-2001

Sold range of refrigerated foods to retail outlets throughout South East


Training Solutions Ltd – South East Sales Executive Jan 2003 – current

Training Solutions Ltd are a leading global training company, offering courses in IT, personal and professional development.


  • To manage the South East territory, from Herts to Kent , including London
  • To manage and grow 20 Key Accounts by 40%
  • Generate £400k in new revenue
  • Coach and Train new representatives


  • 2005 – to date 108% of revenue target, Key Accounts growth at 37%
  • 2004 – won 3 new accounts worth £450k, increased overall sales by 28%
  • 2003 – won 4 new accounts worth £500k, and increased overall sales by 30%

I have seen many examples of both these formats, and for me CV B wins every time.

When applying for a job, you must appreciate that a Sales Manager may receive 10-20 CV’s, and will only invite 3 or 4 people to an interview. By making your CV concise, easy to read, with relevant and interesting information, and making their life just that bit easier, you have a greater chance that they will want to see you.

Preparing a good CV is not just about what you write, but how you write it. If you apply the sales skills that you have, and take a little bit if time to think about what and why you are doing it, you should be able to write an effective CV that will do its job and secure you to an interview.

Written by Darren Spevick of Novo Consulting. Novo Consulting specialize in providing career and recruitment coaching services to sales professionals, from entry level to Sales Directors, including CV Writing, and Interview preparation and on-going support.

To find out how Novo Consulting can help you move on or up in your sales career, visit their web site at or call 01923-854600


Published On: 10th Dec 2005

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