The 5 Big Blunders We See on Software BDM’s CVs

Software sales recruiters and software hiring managers give CVs and Resumes an average of six seconds to decide whether to keep reading. 

Surprising isn’t it? So how do you make that 6 seconds count? 

As a software sales recruitment company, we see a lot of BDM CVs, and a lot of them feature one or more blunders that really shouldn’t happen.  

But don’t panic: These mistakes are incredibly common, and easy to fix. And doing so will transform your CV into one that makes that hiring manager pay attention.  

Here are the most common blunders we see on software BDM CVs here at LivRecruit, as well as some helpful advice from a Google recruiter on how to make your past results stand out. 


1. You’ve not written a powerful, results-focused CV. 

Every single hiring manger in the world wants to see results.  

If you’re going for a Business Development Manager role in the tech field, your past results are all your most important selling tool. 

As this former recruiter for Google pointed out: A good guideline should be using 1 line to describe your responsibilities in each role, and then 2-3 lines detailing the results you achieved while you were there.  

(And he received 3 million CVs a year at Google, so should know a thing or two about tech CVs.)

For a BDM, that’s going to focus on how you expanded sales in your territory by 20%, increased your market share by 10%, or built the company’s social media following in your target demographic by 30%. Sales awards, promotions; you know what you’ve achieved … 

Use the exact figures where possible and have your results ready as proof at your interview. 

[Hint: Wherever possible engineer an opportunity to physically show your figures; it has a greater impact.]


2. You’ve not used the keywords that appeared in the job spec. 

It’s a growing trend for CVs to be ‘read’ first by a software tool that scans your CV for relevant keywords. Even if it is a recruiter reading your CV straight off the bat, they will be automatically scanning your CV for the keywords used in the job advertisement.  

If they’re not there, you’re advertising one of two things:  

1. You don’t have the skills required, or 

2. You haven’t read the job spec properly and are therefore signalling you’re not very interested. 

There’s a simple fix: sit down and scour the job advertisement for key skills and competencies they’re looking for.  

Where they correspond with your own experience, add them into a ‘skills’ section at the top of your CV, and then scatter the keywords throughout the document where applicable. 


3. You’re using an old or generic CV to apply for multiple jobs. 

Fact: Few software sales candidates love sitting down to rewrite their CV from scratch or tailoring it to each vacancy. So instead, they take their old CV, add in their recent role and experience, and then think that is it; please don’t let that be you. 

The software recruitment consultant will spot the generic CV in a microsecond. Believe us, we see plenty of them, and it’s a shame as we can see potential in the candidate but can’t put them forward for the job with a CV that doesn’t meet our client’s requirements. (Of course, if you’re our candidate, we’ll help you fix your CV so we can happily put you forward.) 

We get it, CV writing isn’t fun, and doing it well takes time. But if you’re not sitting down and spending a good few hours tailoring your CV to each role, you’re probably not trying hard enough to profile yourself for the role.  


4. Your CV is formatted like the proverbial dog’s breakfast! 

You’re applying for a software sales job. If you can’t use Microsoft Word or Google Docs or Adobe to the level where you can format a CV, then a recruiter or hiring manager can’t help but be suspicious about how knowledgeable you are about technology.  

Take the time to make your CV legible and nicely spaced. Big blocks of text are a no-no, as are CV’s that are over-formatted, such as creative designs.  

Spelling and grammar mistakes also have no place in a CV. Run tools like Spellcheck or Grammarly over it, but also get a trusted person to read over your CV to pick up those mistakes that software sometimes misses. 



5. You have outdated or redundant information on your CV.  

Candidates are often reluctant to remove old jobs from their CV, even if they’re no longer relevant. Where a job is old but still relevant to sales or tech in some way, they can be retained, but reduced to a simple sentence. 

Additionally, the only reason to ever have school grades on your CV is if you haven’t had any further education or work experience. Otherwise, they should go. Any tech-related awards are a possible exception, depending on how long ago you left school.  

Don’t put your skills with basic software like Microsoft Office. It’s a tech job, that’s a given.  

Finally, don’t put ‘References available on request’ at the bottom of your CV. Recruiters and hiring managers know how to ask for a reference from you, you really don’t need to waste the space. 

So, here’s the basic breakdown of what your CV should look like. 

  • Name and contact details 
  • Summary: A powerful, concise overview of how your skills and experience as a BDM will benefit the company. (2-3 lines)
  • Skills Section: 10 skills, bullet pointed, 2 columns (these must be closely matched to the skills mentioned in the job spec.)
  • Experience: Each role, most recent first. 1-2 lines describing duties of role, 2 lines describing results achieved. (This format is just a guideline, it can be longer if you’ve got great results to show off.)
  • Education: Just the bits that matter!
  • Optional: You can also add in a personal section if you like, detailing a few of your qualities that are relevant to sales (particularly those mentioned in the job spec), as well as one or two interesting hobbies if you like. Take your lead from the tone of the job spec here- is it friendly and engaging, or is it more formal?  

If it’s casual in tone with a strong focus on a fun team culture, mentioning your weekends rock-climbing or taking part in the latest charity tough mudder event could go down well; ask your software sales recruiter, they will know the culture of the company in question.  

Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. You have their initial attention for 6 seconds so use them well.  


Until next time,