The perfect sales CV – common pitfalls to avoid

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Eleven team Candidate blogs, Candidate resources

The perfect sales CV – common pitfalls to avoid

Sales CVs can be notoriously difficult to write, but don’t let that put you off. When you’ve looked at as many sales CVs as we have at Eleven Recruitment - formerly Oil Recruitment - it’s quite easy to spot the most common pitfalls. Our consultants have compiled a list of the reasons that employers are most likely to say ‘no thanks.’

  • Don’t use figures that have no relevance to anyone except yourself and the company you work/have worked for. For example don’t just say how many fuel cards you sold last year, the figure may not mean anything to a prospective employer. Instead use sales percentages to illustrate performance against targets and growth, and put the areas where you have genuinely succeeded into context
  • Try not to highlight that you’ve had lots of short-term sales jobs. Invariably clients will question whether you have failed probation periods or not achieved your sales targets. If you have had lots of short term roles, clearly and simply explain your reasons for leaving to avoid clients reaching their own (often negative) conclusions
  • Don’t be vague about your period of employment to give the impression you have stayed in a role longer than you actually have. Be specific with dates, using the exact number of months and years that you have been in a role rather than rounding up to the nearest year
  • Don’t be tempted to embellish the truth or worse, lie. Employers know that 60% of sales people don’t meet their targets so be honest and just highlight your actual achievements instead of exaggerating to make yourself look better
  • Don’t be afraid to sing your own praises. Make sure you mention any awards or incentives that you have won, especially those that are relevant to your chosen sector. These are common amongst top sales people and prospective employers will be keen to know more
  • Don’t focus too much on non-sales activities such as team management or building commission packages. Truly great sales people spend their time selling. Whether out on the road visiting depots in person or hitting the phones, focus on what you do best
  • Don’t use superfluous language. Get straight to the point. Sales people are known for their powers of persuasion but long, rambling sentences tend to hide the cold hard facts that employers are seeking

If you would like one of the Eleven team to have a look over your sales CV then please get in touch.