As is the case with every industry, climbing the ladder in the finance sector takes time, patience and a broadening of your skillset—but it doesn’t hurt to have a great resume. In most cases, your resume will be the first thing a hiring manager considers when going through your application, so it’s critically important to your career prospects as an up-and-coming finance professional that your resume does the job it’s intended to do.
To ensure your resume ends up in the right hands and sets you apart from the competition, follow these resume writing tips for financial professionals.
Conduct a Fact Check
Neglected resumes can quickly fall out of date. Take a look at your most recent resume and make an inventory of what is relevant and what is stale. Your stint working at a coffee shop in college might have been important to include on your first resume, but unless you have no other work experience to speak of it can make employers call into question your suitability for the particular finance role you are applying to. In short, eliminate those items that do not specifically help sell yourself as a finance professional.
Outline Your Achievements
Your resume is more than a paint-by-numbers checklist of where you went to school, where you've worked and what you've done. It should also promote your professional achievements. Revisit recent emails you have received in your current role. Search for kudos from your supervisor or other executives. If they reflect work on specific initiatives you have been involved in, make mention of those accomplishments on your resume. Similarly, include any promotions or bonuses you received, projects you led and new business you helped bring in. If you can tie any of these to bottom-line improvements for your firm and/or your clients specifically, include that information as well.
Make sure your achievements cover these areas:
- All Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities and Exchange (SEC) Commission certifications and licenses
- Examples of your analytical and quantitative skills
- Any and all experience with specific and relevant investment sectors
- Expertise using spreadsheets, databases, or analytical tools
- Your skill in crafting written and/or oral presentations
- All professional finance designations and degrees you have earned thus far
Format it Correctly
Today's hiring managers tend to scan resumes quickly. In fact, many organizations now employ scanning software as a first threshold to search for terms relevant to the position. Regardless of whether a robot or an HR professional gives your resume a first pass, limit the length of your resume to one page. Multi-page resumes should be limited to finance professionals with extensive and highly relevant work experience. Other resume best practices include:
- Use verbs: Instead of "I worked on a major project to recruit a new account which helped our team beat goal by 20 percent," say "Led initiative to recruit a prominent new client, surpassed goal by 20 percent.” See the difference? Verbs. Look at all the achievements you outlined, make them succinct and lead them with verbs.
- Make it scan-able: Bulleted lists help hiring managers read your resume quickly.
- Go easy on the eyes: Use at least 10-point type and a font that's easy to read such as Times New Roman, Helvetica or Calibri.
Perform a Self-Assessment
As you contemplate a career move, now may be the best time to thoroughly assess not only your achievements but also areas where you need to grow. Does the educational section of your resume look thin? Do you feel you could benefit from more certifications or professional designations? Does your work experience thus far meet the minimum requirements for the types of finance jobs you are pursing? Be honest regarding the current state of your resume and those areas where you can improve to give yourself the best chance of landing whatever job you apply for in the future.
If you are intent on pursuing a career in the competitive field of investment management, you may want to consider pursuing an advanced degree. Creighton University offers one of the country’s top online finance degrees in the Master of Investment Management and Financial Analysis (MIMFA). Discover how this advanced finance degree can strengthen your resume and give you the skills needed to land some of the best jobs in finance.