CVs are always an essential job search tool for selling yourself to prospective employers. But when your sights are set on a selling position, the stakes are even higher. Luckily, we can help you to ‘wow’ recruiters with our ultra-persuasive sales CV example.
With help and advice from Resume.io, there’s no need to fret. Our resources include a growing library of occupation-specific writing guides with corresponding CV examples.
This guide is designed for sales job seekers. Stay with us as we take you through a proven CV-writing process, backed by sample wording from a sales CV. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- An overview of what sales professionals do and how much they earn
- How to get started with your CV (the correct structure and best format)
- Interview-winning advice for each resume section: header, summary, work history, education and skills
- Looking the part: layout and design tips for visual flair
What does a sales professional do?
It’s all in the name. Sales professionals are in the business of selling. However, that's a deceptively simple answer to the question of what they do, given the vast spectrum of job opportunities and career path options at every level of sales experience.
According to pareto.co.uk:
- Sales jobs represent 10-20% of total employment in the UK. A significant shortage of salespeople is a persistent pandemic casualty.
- Commission rates for sales roles start at about 5%, usually in jobs with a generous base salary.
- The average base salary/commission ratio for UK sales positions is 85/15 — quite a bit more conservative than in the U.S., where a 60/40 split is typical.
- The base rate for a manufacturer’s sales representative — a top-paying industry — is £36,649 per year.
- Financial sales professionals are highly sought-after, for their highly specialised knowledge in a high-paying sector. Entry-level annual salaries may be £30,000, with potential commission earnings of £200,000 or more.
UK income data reported by these leading online sources is fairly consistent for comparing the national average base salaries of sales professionals:
From retail, finance, IT, and manufacturing to healthcare, real estate, and vacation travel, virtually all industries have a product or service sales component. Competition-driven incentives are a common denominator, wherever your specialised interests and expertise lie. Whether you’re keen on selling bicycles, retirement funds, gaming software, club memberships or building supplies, the sales labour force will have openings.
Hubspot.com categorises sales job types as follows:
- Sales Development Rep (SDR)
- Account Executive (AE)
- Outside Salesperson
- Inside Salesperson
- Account Manager
- Regional Sales Manager
- Sales Operations Manager
- Sales Engineer
- Director of Sales
- VP of Sales
- Chief Sales Officer
Relatively speaking, sales job earnings are above average, but vary depending on levels of education, experience and difficulty. The same goes for commission rates relative to base salaries.
How to write a sales CV
Next up, let’s look at how to start writing your sales CV. No matter what kind of sales job you are pursuing, and however well-matched your qualifications, the same universally used CV structure applies. These are the essential sections that all CVs should have in common:
- Profile (sometimes called summary or personal statement)
- Employment history
Keeping this structure in mind should help you stay focused when organising your sales CV content. And there’s a vital end-product consideration that may require selective cherry-picking: Everything you decide to include should fit on a single page.
If that sounds daunting, here’s one more guidepost for hitting the mark: Each version of your CV should be targeted to the specific job you are applying for. Pinpoint the most directly relevant qualifications as the basis for narrowing the angle. Leave out any information that recruiters are far less interested in.
To customise each version of your CV, scour the posted job application requirements and make sure you’ve got them covered. Certain keywords will likely stand out — many specific to your sales background.
Matching these keywords precisely in your CV wording is also the key to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) optimisation. This gives your resume the best chance of passing through the digital filters that are typically used by hiring organisations to screen online applications.
Choosing the best CV format for a sales professional
Almost always, the chronological CV format is recommended for sales professionals. It’s also what recruiters prefer to easily review your work history as bullet-point descriptions below employer headings. These are listed by date in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent position and working backwards.
There are other options, however, if prospective employers are more interested in what you can do than where you’ve worked. In that case, consider the functional CV format, focusing on specific sales skills or even clients. Or opt for a combination CV format, with both chronological and functional elements.
A distinctive header design sets your job application apart from all the rest. It can have double the impact when your CV and cover letter are a visually matched pair.
Practically speaking, the header draws the reader’s eye to the place on the page where your name, occupation and contact information appear, creating a memorable first impression. The white-space separation from black body text adds eye appeal. Above all, the header information’s prominence makes it easy for recruiters to revisit your CV for shortlisting and extending an interview invitation.
CV profile example: sell yourself quickly
Your CV profile — otherwise known as the summary or personal statement — is a written elevator pitch for being this employer’s dream hire. As an up-front value proposition, it captures your most relevant sales qualifications in an irresistible manner. Being just a brief synopsis, it intrigues readers just enough to keep reading for further details.
A sense of your sales-winning personality should also confidently come across in the profile. It’s the only CV section that allows you to express your purpose and passion as a sales professional.
Below is a sales CV summary example you can customise.
Highly dynamic Senior Sales Representative with a proven track record of achieving maximum sales profitability and account penetration for assigned regions. Committed to working hard to establish new business and maintain existing customer relationships.
Employment history sample: telling your story
Tell your story so far with your employment history section. Again, your CV’s effectiveness hinges on the effort you make to zero in on what hiring managers are keenly interested in. Speak the employer’s language in the selling context of its needs and values.
As affirmed in a simplysalesjobs.co.uk blog, every successful sales close begins with a full understanding of the customer’s needs and motivations. That’s essential to position your products or services precisely where they need to be — as a solution.
The same holds true when presenting yourself to prospective employers as the right hiring solution.
Create results-oriented descriptions of your sales accomplishments — not merely job descriptions or vague assurances of meeting your targets and quotas.
Recruiters want hard evidence of the numbers behind your success stories: revenue and sales unit increases, quota percentages, closing ratios, profit boosts, new customer growth, customer retention rates, and the like.
Below is a sales employment history CV sample you can modify.
Oxford Senior Sales Representative at Bellinger
Jun 2017 - Jul 2022
- Successfully identified customer or market opportunities and maintained positive business relationships.
- Developed an in-depth knowledge of the community and specific neighbourhoods within my assigned region.
- Sold thousands of advanced TV, high-speed internet, and mobile and voice technology packages.
- Worked to understand the needs of potential customers before making appropriate suggestions.
- Put in upwards of 60 hours a week meeting and exceeding target sales numbers.
- Earned the 2019 Sales Representative of the Year Award for outstanding portfolio growth and an unwavering commitment to the company.
Oxford Sales Representative at Ledmore Suppliers
Mar 2013 - May 2017
- Worked to establish and retain clients for this well-known kitchen and bath material supplier.
- Established excellent relationships with contractors, estate agents, business owners and the general public.
- Maintained a thorough knowledge of our product line, promotional events and services.
- Helped the company to see a 40% increase in sales revenue within the first year of employment.
- Unfailingly identified solutions for customer needs, leading to higher rates of customer satisfaction.
- Worked to ensure on-time delivery and quality of products and services according to the customer needs.
Sales CV education example: show off your qualifications
Specific qualifications aren’t always necessary for salespeople. However, you should share your education history. List your post-secondary education in reverse chronological order, from highest to lowest level. High school information should only be included in the absence of university and college degrees or diplomas.
This CV section is also the place to list internships, other types of on-the-job training, certifications, and any relevant continuing education. That might include industry-recognized Institute of Sales Management (ISM) qualifications, up to the level 6 equivalent of a university degree.
Below is the education section from a sales CV example.
Associate of Science in Marketing, University College, Oxford
Sep 2010 - May 2012
CV skills example: share your talents
Sales jobs are largely talent-based. With that in mind, name four to seven of your most valuable secrets to sales success. It should be a winning combination of learned abilities and innate personal attributes. This can be your foundation for an impressive CV skills list.
Before finalising, be sure to check your list against the employer’s job posting before to make sure you’ve covered the essentials in this hiring situation. Your CV skills list is a further opportunity to incorporate keywords, as an ATS-proofing safeguard and to show your awareness of employer priorities.
Check out a sales CV sample for the skills section below.
- Marketing and Sales
- Industry Trends & Sales Forecasting
- Effective Time Management
- Ability to Work in a Team
- Campaign Management
CV layout and design: make an impression
For the same reason, appearance has make or break importance in a face-to-face sales scenario, your CV document needs to look the part of a professional on all counts.
Cluttered and chaotic is hardly the impression you’d want to give prospective clients about your capabilities or the integrity of the product or service you are selling. The same goes for your sales CV, which should be visually spotless and orderly.
These CV layout and design guidelines will help you achieve a polished result that’s a sight for recruiters’ sore eyes.
- Readers should effortlessly find what they’re looking for in the place they expect. One section connects logically and smoothly with the next.
- White space in the margins and between lines offsets the text-dense segments to create balance and ease of reading.
- Reader-friendliness should also guide your choice of fonts for body text and titles.
- Graphic elements and splashes of colour can provide added visual appeal if used sparingly. They should never detract from readability.
Key takeaways for a sales CV
- Whether the sales force demand is slack or vigorous in your field of focus, an outstanding CV is always essential to outshine other job contenders
- The qualifications showcased in your CV should be a tight fit with the requirements of each specific job and employer.
- Scrutinise the posted job description to determine which skills and work experience do or don’t belong in your CV. This also helps with optimal keyword use to avoid ATS rejection.
- The look of your CV is crucial to the first impression recruiters will have of you as the sales professional they might hire. Ensure the document layout and design projects the right image.