Being in the early months of my new job having come through a recent recruitment process, I almost religiously searched for advice on how to write the perfect CV.
There’s a lot of information online, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll divulge the whole mass and end up biting off more than you can chew, becoming more confused than when you started. But here is what I learned.
First of all, no matter how much advice you try to follow, the key point to remember is that your CV is your CV. Nothing’s more personal than how you spend your 40 hours per week, so make sure you sell yourself, not entirely copy a generic layout and writing style. Don’t get me wrong, you need to cover all bases, but your personal qualities and skills need to stand out in a way that is unique for you to get the job.
For sales jobs, recruiters are looking for candidates who are motivated by financial targets, are resilient against setbacks and show initiative when faced with complicated challenges.
If you already have a sales background, then you’re already one step up from the wide-eyed graduates. Sales experience opens doors to management roles, so beef up your CV with examples of your experience in sales. There are less of these positions available thanks to the recession, but it doesn’t mean they’re non-existent. You’ve just got to want it more and prove it in your CV.
Having good communication skills will be your saviour through your cold calls, and listening is just as important.
Putting across a genuine personality helps you connect with a client, and in turn they’ll respect your expertise and honesty. If you’re able to make a connection with your potential manager at your interview, they’ll know that this will be transferable when dealing with clientele.
But how can you put this across in a CV? Here are a few basic tips that will help you go far in the recruitment process:
A list of achievements where you've interacted with a variety of people is clear evidence to the employer that you are comfortable working with others. These activities could include work experience, voluntary work, or gap years. Experience in hospitality and retail are also great examples of proving to the employer that you can work under pressure as well as sustain interaction and customer service.
Thinking laterally and being flexible with your initiative is key to solving challenges at work. Thinking on your feet will save a lot of time, as we all know: time = money!
In terms of CV layout, it depends on your personality and the specific job application, but basic content is similar throughout:
- Name, contact details, website
- Language qualifications, sporting achievements, academic awards
- Education, include educational experiences that contribute to your personal skills ie public speaking, group presentations