Writing a Resume for a Banking and Finance Position
Banking and finance professionals will find plenty of career opportunities in the business world, because every industry has needs relating to finance and banking. Regardless of the position you are applying for, the basic requirements for any banking or finance resume are going to be essentially the same.
Among the available positions in finance are CFO, or Financial Controller; financial analyst/investment consultant; and a portfolio manager. You will face a lot of competition for these banking and finance positions because of the nature of the industry and the key roles that these people in these positions play in the corporate world. This means you need to find a way to stand out.
Most entry-level applicants have a minimum employment history in their resumes and usually simply create one resume for all the jobs they intend to apply for. As such, you can distinguish yourself in the financial world from other applicants and impress a potential employer by crafting an industry-specific resume, one geared toward that employer and the specific job you hope to attain. When crafting an industry-specific resume for a banking or finance position, one of the first things that you need to understand is that every resume that you create should be fully unique and customized using three emphases:
1) The specific industry that you are applying to,
2) The specific employer that you desire to work with, and
3) The specific job or position that you are hoping to fill.
By tailoring your resume to these three areas, you are creating a resume which will stand out to potential employers and show them why you are the best candidate for the position.
The structure or organization of your banking resume also will help it stand out. It should be divided into distinct sections with sub-sections and short paragraphs that bring out your strengths and downplay any weaknesses. Within each section of a good banking and finance resume, the most important entries are placed first.
The first section in an impressive financial resume is the introduction, or your current contact information. This eye-catching but professional-looking header should be distinct, with an enlarged font. It will include your full name, a permanent address, your telephone number, and your email address. Keep it simple and professional.
A snapshot of the real you can be captured in a profile, which would be placed directly beneath the header using balanced and well thought out spacing. The profile is a four-line overview that summarizes an applicant’s professional qualifications and financial experience. Often, a career objective line can be included in the profile along with the important qualities you offer the organization. It is crucial that you summarize your strengths, key skills, and qualifications in the top section of your resume. Here is an example that gets the point across:
"Chief financial officer with over 15 years experience in corporate accounting as well as management. Hands-on management style with expertise in accounting, development, financial reporting, and fiscal management. Offering a proven record of implementing and developing both financial and operational controls capable of improving P&L scenarios and competitively positioning firms."
In the following sections, your accomplishments should be highlighted in bullets that itemize your abilities and skills in the workplace. If those skills are lacking, then a format that places emphasis on your education would be more effective. An ideal resume will bring attention to your most recent experience first. You should be able to show quantifiable results from your work, which is one of the most important parts of an industry-specific resume. For example, if you played an instrumental role in growing revenue and income by 75% over a period of 15 months, you need to be able to show that in your resume. You need to be able to place emphasis on those details that explain your accomplishments.
In the banking and finance world, most operations are automated or aided by computers, and this would include screening the resumes of possible applicants. Your resume, then, should use keywords that recruiters can use to search resume databases as they look for the best talent. When your resume is in an electronic form online, keywords play a large part in helping people find you. The following is a list of key search words that are specifically pertinent to your current career choice. You may want to include some of the examples in the wording of your bullets regarding you experiences and training. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is useful. Keep in mind that you should only implement keywords and industry-related jargon in your resume if they actually apply, are transferable to the job that you are applying for, and do not overwhelm your resume with filler.
- Budget development
- Budget management
- Business valuations
- Cash flow management
- Cash flow modeling
- Financial planning
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Operating and working capital
- Strategic planning
- P&L management
Here are some final considerations to make when creating an industry-specific resume for a banking or finance position:
- Your main focus should be to highlight your skills, experience, and qualifications in a way that will draw the eye of a potential employer.
- One-page resumes are always best, unless you have ten or more years’ worth of experience in a role you are applying for.