When you’re in sales, there’s one main thing you need to be good at: selling. And that’s something that needs to be seen right from the start, from your first application to the company. As a sales representative, you need to show that you can sell the company’s product; and as a sales manager, you need to be able to sell yourself. Call it showcasing your skill set, showing off or tooting your own horn, but in all honesty, who’s going to do it if you won’t? Getting a manager’s position is all about proving you’re the right one with excellent leadership and mentoring skills, who’s able to communicate values loud and clear. And the best way to show that is, you’re guessing right, by crafting an outstanding CV and cover letter that will roll out the red carpet for your personal presentation.
1. Starting with a summary
When I look at your CV for the first time, I want to know immediately who I’m going to be dealing with. And that means that I want to know more than just your name, birthdate and the three year old photo of you. So what are the main expectations from someone applying for the position of a sales manager that you want to fill at first glance?
To me, the person who radiates these four features is immediately more interesting:
The best way to show these qualities right from the start is to open your CV up with a short introduction, saying who you are, what your background is, what you’re looking for and why you are the best candidate for the position you’re applying for. Straightforwardness and determination are valued highly. Just make sure to keep it brief and to the point. This is a fine balance. Of course, you can get more wordy in your cover letter later, but your applying for a manager’s position, so the traditional “keep it to one page” rule may not apply. On the one hand, you only have about 15 seconds (that’s right, faster than the traditional elevator pitch) to capture my interest. On the other hand, if you’ve captured my interest, I’ll read the whole thing.
2. Results, awards, education
Once the introduction is off the table, the next step naturally is packing your CV with all your experience up to date: your achievements at previous positions, awards and recognition you’ve obtained so far, and of course education – not just college degree, but be generous with all the training programs and courses you’ve ever been to. Everything counts here. But again, keep it synoptical and well-arranged. Here are few tips to help you make the best of this section:
- Highlight your main skills and strengths. Drawing attention to them may turn to your advantage during your interview.
- Use industry-specific buzzwords, but be careful to avoid the clichés everyone has heard before. You want to stand out here.
- Show me the money. Showing specific results instead of just waving big words around will give your CV a solid foundation.
3. What YOU’RE About
Every CV needs that “rapprochement zone”, as I like to call it. It’s the part where you go deeper in on yourself. You may start off with hobbies, skills and qualities that are still somewhat relevant to the execution of the job. But don’t be afraid to go even deeper than that – if you’re a passionate golf player or you love to crochet or go for a jog in your free time, just write it there. It gives the whole formal document that your CV has become a pleasant breath of personality.
And who knows, maybe your future boss will happen to have a thing for crocheting as well (OK, maybe you should leave the crocheting for the live interview).
My last tip for this point would be to try to think of at least one reason why each listed point makes you the right person for the job. There should be no redundant information, try to make everything point towards the desired job. This is a sign of dedication and premeditation.