Let experts tell you how to further improve your curriculum vitae.
Have you been involved in a trading position over the past five years and now you are seeking a position in marketing? Explain in your CV (e.g., in the part dealing with professional goals) why you have decided to do so, so that the human resources officers do not get the impression that you made a mistake or that you have spammed them.
- Yet another important factor is represented by the length of your practical experience. A curriculum vitae of a school leaver will be substantially different from a curriculum vitae produced by a manager with extensive practical experience. In the latter case, you should stress your last position held, so the education section should be at the end. School leavers, on the other hand, should apply the opposite approach.
- Try to make your curriculum vitae as transparent and brief as possible. It is not a school essay. HR officers will pay up to twenty seconds’ attention to your CV. Some of them even less and it may take them just a couple of seconds to decide whether they want to read your curriculum vitae or not. An ideal format is represented by two A4 pages.
- When dealing with your job descriptions, state specifically what exactly you were doing and what you achieved, instead of such routine wording as “in charge of” or “chiefly involved in”.
- You should mention your highest level of education in your curriculum vitae, so you definitely do not want to mention your elementary school.
- It is not necessary to mention very personal data – your age, weight, religion, political creeds, and family status. Also, it is not necessary to mention the reasons for leaving your previous employments and describe them. There is no need to attach your photograph to your curriculum vitae.
- Make use of key words–if you are an old hand in the terminology of the given profession, do not hesitate to use any appropriate professional terms and established abbreviations. It gives the human resources officer the notion that you know the field. And if the employer files your application in a database and it comes to seeking a person for some other position later on, the employer will use key words, so that using key words in your curriculum vitae may come in handy again. Examples: PHP, SEO, system engineer, etc.
- If you possess fairly long practical experience, it is advisable to concentrate on the past fifteen years. Earlier professional experience may not have such relevance. Your curriculum vitae will thus be shorter and–moreover–you may take the focus away from your age.
- Make it a matter of course to present your references–do not say that references can be supplied upon request.
- Always align text to the left margin of the document. Do not use block alignment as it leaves unsightly spaces in the text.
- The curriculum vitae should not contain any financial requirements. This information will be discussed during a personal interview.
- Make sure to make your documents easy to read and graphically appealing, do not use more than two fonts and refrain from applying “exotic” fonts; ideally, use Arial or Times, size 12.
Many companies apply a so-called “run-up” plan to new sales people, which would respect a gradual improvement of your sales results in the context of a step-by-step introduction process and building up of your commercial opportunities.
“Hunter” or “Farmer”?
Unless such conditions have been duly agreed upon, you may be unpleasantly surprised by the speed in which you are expected to deliver sales results. If, e.g., an absence of product training and process of adaptation in the company is added, it may well happen that you will “succumb” to pressure exerted upon you.
Just imagine that you have applied for the position of a “Key Account Manager”. Many sales people see it as an advantage (judging, at least, from the title of the position) that they will be in charge of expanding cooperation with existing customers. So far, so good. But when joining their employment, they will find out that – yes, they will be responsible for maintaining key clients, but that they must recruit them first…
As long as this fact is duly revealed in the job description, everything is all right but unfortunately I have come across many cases during my practice that a company, in an effort to entice high-quality applicants, intentionally picks an over-exaggerated title for the position and keeps the job description secretive during interviews, claiming that “details will be provided after starting the job”.
Therefore, it is advisable to have the job description explained in as much detail as possible before signing the employment contract, in order to prevent any future disappointment.
In particular, sales people with previous practical experience possess portfolios of personal contacts in various companies with whom they cooperated in their previous employments. All beginnings are difficult so it goes without saying that you will attempt to look for your clients where you have your contacts. It is recommended that any such intention should be discussed as part of your interview. Experience shows that it may be a major de-motivating factor if such matters are not agreed beforehand, you are assigned unknown clients after starting with the company where you are supposed to start “from scratch”–while having been requested to pass your own contacts to another colleague of yours who deals with “your” customers.
Programme of adaptation and initial training
Each company has its own unique know-how. If you are supposed to become a successful representative of any such company, you must be in the know about all important areas. They include, in particular, product training, information about price offers, delivery terms and conditions, auxiliary services, and so on. We can come across such a situation, in particular in small firms, that they do not have a standardised process of adaptation in place. A new sales person is thus “thrown in the deep end” and it is up to them to show how they will cope. If combined with excessively busy colleagues, unavailable supervisors or a “non-cooperating” corporate culture, we have a problem. Although we are more than happy to learn new things, there is simply no way how to do this. Your potential to sell anything is down to a minimum.
Therefore, it is proper to have also this area included in the introductory negotiations about joining the company. You should ask how, by whom and when you will be trained in respect of products, use of price calculators, internal information systems, etc.