How To Write A Sales Manager CV That Gets You The Sales Management Interviews You Want

A Sales Manager CV has to be straight to the point. Sales management is all about making things happen - as opposed to simply taking orders, like in some retail environments perhaps.

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When you're writing your own CV, you need to be very clear about what your sales responsibilities were. If the reader can't quickly grasp what you do, they'll just move onto the next CV. For example:

  • Do you generate the prospect list, qualify them, pitch to them and then successfully close them and obtain a firm order?
  • Or are you given 'warm' prospects or leads that you subsequently convince to make a purchase?
  • Do you manage a team of people or do you work on your own?
  • Are you able to both inspire and train staff to deliver agreed sales targets?

A Sales Management CV has to make it crystal clear that you can deliver results and mould a suitable sales force, whatever the type of environment you work in.

To cut to the quick you are either over target or not - there is no middle ground. Your CV needs to make it clear that you are successful and capable of delivering, with examples of how you have made this happen - the following sections of your CV therefore need to champion this.

Sales Manager CV Profile

  • The profile goes at the top of page one and will be the first to be read - it needs to imbibe a positive mindset and demonstrate relevance. In short, it needs to captivate the reader and raise interest.
  • The first line should include your label that corresponds to the job title that you will be applying for.
  • You need to tell the reader that you have got everything they've asked for in the job advertisement - keep it 'cup-is-half-full' at all times.
  • Do not be tempted to include information that has not been asked for, as unbeknown to you there might be some keyword search software being used that will often be set against the advert content.
  • Avoid generic, glib or clichéd phrases as these will be used by everyone and will not make you stand out from the crowd.
  • It will be worth spending some time on the Profile - even tailoring it for individual applications, so that someone that does not understand the job can still see its relevance.
  • Sales CVs are often read by sales people (after getting past a gatekeeper) - they do not like waffle, will expect to get straight to the point and need it to be ultra-positive in content. Don't try to hide behind 'flowery' language!
  • In a 'sales culture', you must show that you are results driven, so use positive language / outlook, with no excuses. Paperwork is tolerated rather than relished and at all times closing the deal is the goal - make sure you state this message clearly.
  • You must sell yourself just like a professional CV writer would, focussing on the key elements of the role and showing how you make a real difference.

Stellar Achievements Must Sell Your Sales Management CV To The Reader

  • The achievements section comes straight after your profile and serves the purpose of highlighting how you use portable skills to add value. Put simply in sales you should be accustomed to working to measured targets and you are either exceeding them or failing.
  • Do not offer excuses for failure - when composing achievements consider the relevant skills you are trying to champion (SELL).
  • These may include prospecting, qualifying, pitching, closing and consolidating for sellers and the management and morale supporting if a sales manager.
  • You will have a part to play in identifying under-performance, managing it and coaching to yield improvement - what a great achievement to show in your Sales Manager CV!
  • Remember that CV writing is all about SELLING your skills to the reader and making them want to interview you!
  • In sales, you are used to talking about the features and benefits of your product / service. On your CV you need to list your own features and benefits presented to the reader as an achievement.
  • Each achievement must catch the reader's eye and talk about how you saved money, made money, increased efficiency, etc.

Your Career History On Your Sales Manager CV Must Position You Correctly

  • Given that this is a Sales Management CV, it will be obvious to the reader what the current duties and responsibilities are, so there is no point whatsoever in writing out job description phrases.
  • These are generic and could apply to anyone who happened to be doing the job at the same time - more importantly it will not sell your personal talent, after all this is what the new employer will be buying!
  • As with any CV, start with your most recent job title and employer and then work backwards in reverse chronological order.
  • Just give a brief outline of your main sales management responsibilities, so that the reader can understand what you do.
  • Focus on the actions you have taken and how you used your skills with value-added outcomes.
  • With practise you can describe the job with skill deployment descriptions (like a CV service would, which will be far more effective than just listing duties and responsibilities.
  • Think about how you have made a difference, and influenced outcomes - in sales this means shifting product or services and the associated chain of events that might precede a paid for sale.
  • Devote more space to recent jobs and less to older ones - there is little point in going back more than say 10 years or less if appropriate. Old successes will look like you are trading on former glory and in sales you are only as good as what you did yesterday.
  • Pack the description of former jobs with lots of how you used your skill to make a difference, develop and inspire the sales team, etc.

Are Qualifications / Education Important on a Sales Manager CV?

  • This section will not influence the reader of a sales type CV as results from last week will be far more relevant than any education from 1, 5 or 10 years ago!
  • That said a brief section will complement a CV, but not if it goes back 30 years and talks about 'O' level results that will be irrelevant.
  • Bear in mind that this section is NOT going to win you an interview, as actions speak louder than words when it comes to selling prowess.
  • It could be worth slightly altering the heading to 'Training' and if there are any specialist sales-based training courses worth a mention, then this is the place to include them.
  • Make sure you clearly state the name of the course first and the provider (if well known).

What Additional Information May You Need on a Sales Management CV?

  • This is a short section that includes complementary information that will not fit elsewhere.
  • It is NOT a dumping ground for irrelevant bits and pieces that do not add value.
  • It might include: Driving Licence and if clean, which is relevant if you'll be meeting prospects and customers on a face-to-face basis.
  • Software / IT competencies may be relevant, depending on your job, so include them if they are relevant.
  • It is unlikely that listing your hobbies will influence an interview invitation. Especially if they are the same as everyone else's, things like socialising and cooking or whatever!
  • Do NOT be tempted to say 'References available on request' - this is nothing to do with winning an interview and is only relevant to a job offer after an interview.
  • Remember that it is a flawed process and the employer knows this - you are not going to provide the names of referees that will give you a bad reference.

What Else Do You Need In A Sales Manager CV?

  • A Sales Management CV should use 'sales' language throughout and demonstrate that you have an eye for the bigger picture and not just driving a sales team. We all know that there will be issues that you have to impose on the sales staff that might be unappealing and could likely inhibit income.
  • Keeping everyone focussed and motivated can be challenging when external influences are beyond management control.
  • Staff attrition is expensive, so the art of turning people away from the grass being greener elsewhere is important.
  • There is no 'I' in team and inevitably your big hitter will use their success to get their own way - often at the expense of others - can you manage this and maintain motivation?
  • All of this is part and parcel of being a successful Sales Manager and should be built into your CV, along with spectacularly described achievements that are unquestionably 'cup-is-half-full'.

Need to Improve Your Sales Manager CV and Secure More Interviews?

Please take a look at our:

  • Professional CV Service - discover how we can substantially improve your sales manager CV and generate the sales management interviews you desire.
  • Free CV Review - what crucial mistakes have you made on CV and how can it be quickly improved, so that it really sells you.
  • CV Examples - see how a CV can be immediately transformed, with these 'before' and 'after' CV examples that show you how to create a stand out CV that makes both recruitment agencies and employers want to meet you.
  • CV Tips - this lists all the free CV writing tips available on our website, telling you exactly how to create a CV that will get you from the initial sort stage, right through to the interview invitation from an employer or recruiter.

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