Tech sales is a challenging but very attractive industry to work in straight out of college. Competition is intense and there are likely a hundred other applicants applying to the same job as you. So, you need to find a way to stand out.
This is where your CV comes in. It needs to not only be immaculate but tailored to the roles that you’re applying for. The one size fits all outlook is dated and ineffective. While cover letters and having a LinkedIn profile are important, your CV is the most important artefact.
When it comes to sales, drab and dreary don’t cut it so investing time into this part of your CV is key. Get into salesperson mode when discussing your experience to highlight what you can bring to the role. The process of putting one together can range from a minor inconvenience to a massive pain in the arse depending on what kind of person you are.
Fortunately, we’ve got some tips that will make the process of tailoring your CV to sales roles as seamless as possible.
Step #1 — Get structure and formatting right 📃
Make a good first impression by ensuring that the CV is well organised and easy to consume. Hiring managers look at a lot of CVs. You want it to stand out for the right reasons and having a three-page summary of your life’s work to-date isn’t one of them.
Keep it concise and to a single page. There are numerous other ways you can make it stand out that won’t wreck the hiring manager’s head. Start with a short and engaging pitch about yourself in your professional summary at the top of the page. This gives you an opportunity to give a high-level overview of your educational and professional background as well as some of your interests and generally just try to give whoever’s looking at your CV a reason to keep reading.
Use tools like Novoresume or Resume.io to find templates that layout content with clear headers, bullet points, and structure your text. Putting some extra time into layout and presentation now will set you apart from candidates who haven’t bothered to do the same.
Step #2 — Highlight your experience 🔍
If you have an extensive background across a variety of jobs and industries, pick the 3–5 most relevant ones and focus on them. Research the company(ies) you’re applying to and look at their job descriptions so you can customise your CV to match.
In the same way, when selling a product you sell its unique value proposition to a customer, this is your chance to show how you’re uniquely qualified for the position they’re hiring into. Being at the point you’re at in your career, you may lack relevant sales experience. But, it’s extremely likely that you’ll have gotten sales-related competencies from other roles. These are called transferable skills.
Tasks you’ve undertaken in part-time roles and summer jobs (whether you knew it or not at the time) have a lot of transferable skills. Typical college jobs such as working in a bar or restaurant are customer-facing and require many of the skills a good salesperson needs such as communication, rapport building, and listening.
Any previous work achievements are relevant, irrespective of if it was in the sector you’re applying for. Whether that be Employee of the Month at McDonald’s or winning an industry award, this will show your current employer that you have a track record of performing well in previous roles.
Step #3 — Talk about your achievements 🏅
While managers are primarily looking for competent candidates to hire, they’re also looking for people with a diversity of skills and interests. Therefore, it’s essential to include previous sporting or academic achievements on your CV. Skills demonstrated through these achievements are, as mentioned previously, often transferable to the role you’re applying for.
For example, if you’ve captained a team to sporting success that shows you’ve not only got leadership qualities but you work well in teams and are probably an effective communicator. Both of which are extremely transferable skills. If you’ve received an award for individual academic performance, this demonstrates that you’re motivated and self-driven. Again, a crucial skill for someone looking to perform in a sales role. Sales is all about working towards goals, whatever the context. If you have experience in setting and achieving them, make sure you draw attention to it.
The process of applying for a job can be a tough and arduous one. This is accentuated even more so when you’re going into competitive industries such as sales where the chances of rejection are higher. Don’t let that hold you back. If you think that a sales role would be something that would make you excited to go to work every day, start looking at how you can leverage the experience you’ve already got to help you land an entry-level role!