Creating the perfect IT Sales CV doesn’t have to be hard. In fact it can be a piece of cake. We see hundreds and hundreds of them on a daily basis, so we know a killer CV when we see one. Here are ten top tips we’re all agreed upon to help you really sell yourself.
1. Target achievements are your best asset – show them off! This information is the most important thing on any IT Sales CV. If there’s one thing that will impress employers it’s proof of smashing your targets, and every single one of our clients will always ask us for these details. Some people like to put a summary table on the first page but we think it works equally well at the bottom of each role snapshot, in bold font of course.
2. You are allowed to boast – go for it. Take it from us, you’ve got full bragging rights on your CV. Exceeding your target, making President’s Club, bringing a new client on board, striking a killer deal, achieving Top Sales Person…this is all gold dust when it comes to your CV. You’re a sales person, right? So sell yourself! Sometimes we see an “Achievements” section on the first page of CVs, which can be useful for drawing attention to the best bits.
3. Give a clear but concise snapshot of each role you’ve had. Stick to bullet points and explain, concisely, exactly what kind of technology you were selling and which market or vertical you were selling into. No employer likes to sift through a load of irrelevant info so keep it nice and simple. Aside from what you were selling it’s also a good idea to include deal sizes and samples of clients. Anything else can be expanded upon in an interview.
4. Don’t ramble on about each company you’ve worked for. But equally, don’t forget to give a BRIEF overview of what the company does, as your prospective employer may not have heard of every organisation you’ve worked for. It’s also worth putting a link to the company’s website next to the company name. Sometimes we see CVs splattered with company logos, which you should avoid as it looks untidy and clutters your CV.
5. Make sure you include months as well as years in your career history. Simply putting “2002-2007” can be misleading if you worked from November 2002 until January 2007. It’s all about giving an employer every necessary detail they need to make a judgement. Your CV should help them not hinder them.
6. Try to stick to three pages and don’t over do it. Bit of a generic tip but crucial all the same. We appreciate that you may need three or four pages depending on your experience and seniority, but you don’t want to bore an employer (or us!) with pointless info about your passionate interest in Tai Chi or memories of travelling around Asia. And is your Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award really going to secure you an interview with a leading Software Vendor? We don’t think so. Unless it relates to sales or technology, question whether it should stay on your CV. For sales roles the “human touch” isn’t necessary on paper; save the sentimentality to build rapport with an employer at interview. If you have an extensive career history, you might want to put “Earlier career history available on request”, especially if it includes more menial roles from your youth like Shop Assistant.
7. Avoid formatting sins. We touched upon this recently, but still think it’s important to any IT Sales CV. We recommend a nice clear font like Arial or Century Gothic and a font size between 10 and 12. Ensure headings are in bold as well as job title, company name and dates when it comes to your career history. Never put random “Key Words” in bold – this is a pet hate of ours and it looks like an ink pot sneezed all over your CV.
8. Keep your CV in Word format, never PDF. This is something that gets us pulling our hair out on a daily basis, and we know it’s not just us! Word documents are compatible with everything, PDFs less so. It might look slicker and be a precedent in European countries but we waste so much time faffing around with file converters that we’d rather just bin a PDF.
9. If your Career History looks a bit jumpy make sure you have a “reason for leaving”.Otherwise employers (and us) will be suspicious and will think the worst.
10. Be weary of a misleading job title. It can cost you an interview. In the past we have seen top candidates qualified out on the basis that a Sales Director was far too senior for a Business Development role, when in fact the candidate had not been in a management role, contrary to what the job title suggested, and had focused entirely on New Business sales. Don’t let this be you – think about the role you’re applying for and make sure your job title, or at least role snapshot, matches up.