Crafting Your CV For Finance Jobs

A good CV shows finance recruiters why you are suitable for the job. Here’s how to write one!
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Jevitha
Jevitha Muthusamy
Editorial Writer
Crafting Your CV For Finance Jobs

Given how competitive it can be to get a job in the finance industry, a well-crafted CV is key to standing out. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! Below you’ll find our tips on how you can grab finance recruiters’ attention through your CV. 

Use a CV heading

Your name and contact information should be the first thing that recruiters see when they view your CV. To help your personal information stand out, put it in a heading at the top of the page. 

Your heading should include your name, telephone number, email address and your LinkedIn profile (if you have one). Don’t forget to double-check all of your contact information before sending out your application!

Choose an appropriate CV format 

Most finance employers prefer the reverse-chronological CV format – listing your experiences and achievements from the most to least recent. You can also use other functional CV formats or customise your own CV if it allows you to showcase yourself as a good fit for the role. But regardless of the format you choose, make sure the document has a consistent structure throughout. 

Avoid visual-heavy, unorthodox, or overly flashy CV designs and formats. Those won’t be very effective in this industry. Use bullet points, pick an easy-to-read font, and keep your CV to no more than two pages. 
There is also another reason why choosing a simple, consistent, text-based format is important. This brings us to the next point…

Research keywords to get past an ATS

Finance recruiters can be processing thousands of applications on a regular basis. So most CVs often get screened through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) first. The ATS will then shortlist CVs for human recruiters based on whether it can detect enough relevant keywords, phrases or terms linked to the job(s) applied for.

A useful tip when writing your finance CV is to refer to the job description of the role you are applying for, identify relevant keywords for the role, and then do your best to include as many of those as possible in your CV’s points. 

For example, if a job posting for a financial analyst role lists proficiency with Microsoft Excel as a requirement, make sure you mention “Microsoft Excel” when describing your past experiences, along with other related function terms like “VLOOKUP”, “pivot tables”, or “macros”.

Because the first line of defence may be an ATS, this is why it is important that you customise your CV for every role you are applying for, instead of recycling the same one for multiple roles. Avoid putting information in visuals or tables within your CV too, as the ATS will not be able to scan those. Stick to plain text.    

Highlight your academic achievements 

Although academic grades are not the most important thing recruiters look for, they do matter in specific roles with minimum GPA requirements. For example  ̶  management trainee programmes at banks, which have very stringent selection criteria and only accept top-performing students.

It’s not enough to just list down your academic qualifications in your CV. You need to highlight your achievements as well!  State your GPA if it is strong, or if the role you’re applying for requires it. List any finance-related coursework/projects you have completed which are most relevant for the role. Highlight any scholarships or awards you won while in university. These will help you differentiate yourself as a candidate. 

Demonstrate skills with measurable values

While finance recruiters do look out for both hard and soft skills when hiring, simply listing your skills in your CV offers no real evidence of your abilities. You should demonstrate your skills in your CV by tying them to measurable successes instead. 

Goals, targets, and ROI metrics are key parts of the finance industry. So when explaining your achievements and past experiences, use numbers to showcase how your skills added value to a company or organisation.

For example, if you previously held the position of a treasurer in a club and helped them save money through cost-cutting measures, you should mention the percentage of savings. Or if you contributed to growing client account values in a previous internship, list what the growth rate was. 

A good way to structure your bullet points is to use the Context-Action-Result (CAR) format. For example: “Attended client meetings with relationship managers to help pitch equity products to clients; achieved a conversion rate of 80%, leading to RM 3 mil in trade executions.”  
  

Show that you are an interesting candidate

Given the client-focused nature of the finance industry, recruiters are on the lookout for well-rounded, interesting candidates that people may enjoy talking to or working with. So to strengthen your application, you can also include additional sections in your CV on language skills, software skills, hobbies and interests, extracurricular activities, or volunteering experiences. 

Avoid banal lists like “Hobbies: Watching Netflix, playing video games, running”. Focus on interesting experiences that added value to you or to others. Did you do volunteer work with an NGO? Run marathons? Go backpacking for a few months? Take part in a coding bootcamp? Join organisations like Toastmasters? Run a small e-commerce business in your spare time? 

Choose points that show you have interesting stories to tell, as these help recruiters piece together a fuller picture of you.