Curating your CV is the first hurdle of any recruitment process – and often the one most financial executives dread. Building anything in life requires you to form a solid foundation. That’s the role your CV plays during the recruitment process. It’s a snapshot of your career and your suitability for the role.
At FD Capital, our inbox is always full of CVs. Some hit the mark, while others are off target. Creating or updating your CV doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler the better.
Most people overcomplicate their CV – from choosing overcrowded templates to exaggerating their experience. Keeping your CV simple and focusing on your personal brand is the best way to get your application noticed.
At FD Capital, we connect talented financial professionals with companies throughout the UK and beyond. We’re sharing our top ten tips for getting your CV to the next stage of the recruitment process.
- Present your personal brand
Your CV is a snapshot of your personal brand. One paragraph of your CV should act as an overview or summary. It’s your elevator pitch. Use it to focus on anything that sets you apart from the competition.
Your personal branding statement will typically be placed at the top of your CV. You want it to be the first thing that anyone reads. It acts as the hook for the rest of your CV. Personal branding is everything in a competitive field like finance. You can craft your personal branding statement as a short paragraph or use bullet points, including accolades and fundraising milestones.
Personal branding is something you want to be working on throughout your career – even when you’re not actively exploring new opportunities. Purpose-driven companies care just as much about your personal brand as your achievements. If you’re entrepreneurial, your personal brand is your golden ticket.
There are several ways to incorporate your personal branding into your CV. Start with your short personal branding statement. It should only be 2-3 lines and highlight your key selling points. You can also showcase your personal branding throughout your CV. Focus on including examples of your accomplishments and performance.
Your personal brand is even more important if you’re transitioning to a new position or industry. You want to focus on your transferable skills and communicate how your experience makes you suitable for the role.
- Contact details
CVs are often passed from one recruitment executive to another, especially internally. One of the most important pieces of information on your CV is also the simplest. Your contact information. Without these details, you might miss out on a role that you’re the ideal candidate for.
Double-check that your contact information is up to date, including your phone number. It’s best to avoid using an existing work email address instead of using a personal email address. Your phone number should be easily accessible or monitored, such as your personal mobile phone.
While it’s not required, you can state if you prefer to be contacted by phone or email. It’s not uncommon to see candidates include their social media profiles on their CV. You should include only ones that are professionally maintained, such as your LinkedIn profile.
- Keep it short
Most CVs are 1-2 A4 pages. A portfolio is separate from your CV and will typically be requested separately. Most recruiters read through dozens of CVs every day. Any CV should be able to be streamlined into 2 A4 pages. Don’t forget that you shouldn’t go in-depth about every position you’ve held, especially for older or junior positions.
A short CV means you can keep the recruiter’s attention. Start by writing your CV before shortening it and eliminating any unnecessary information. Start with a basic CV and remove any information that isn’t relevant to the specific role that you’re including.
You should always update and adapt your CV to the specific role that you’re applying for. These edits shouldn’t be too heavy but should highlight your key selling points for that specific condition.
Streamline your contact information to the most relevant ones to help you save space on your CV. If you’re applying for a job domestically, you can include your current city or county. CVs for remote positions will often skip an address as they’re seen as less relevant.
Bullet points can help you shorten your CV and make it easier for a recruiter to scan through your qualifications. When you’re editing your CV, remove any skills or experience that are common in your field. Most recruiters will assume you have these, such as understanding how to operate Excel.
Statistics and numbers can make your CV more visual and streamlined. They also help to add weight to your experience. When you’re editing your CV, look for ways to include buzzwords from the job description. Some recruiters use software that automatically screens candidates. You want your CV to be picked up by these programs.
- Simple structure
Short and simple. That’s the golden rule for a winning CV. Your CV should be no more than two A4 pages and have a simple structure that is easy to follow. Reducing the size of your page margins can help you maximize your space.
Most recruiters need to be able to easily check your skills and qualifications against the job description. Choosing a simple structure allows recruiters to tick off your qualifications that match those needed for the job.
Your CV will typically have three to four sections with a heading for each. Combining multiple sections can help you streamline your CV. A heading with “additional information” will allow you to incorporate any extra skills or achievements.
Before you submit your CV, ask someone else to review it. A fresh set of eyes can spot any potential errors. Your CV should be easy to understand and follow. Career coaches and mentors are the ideal choices to review your CV and provide useful feedback.
A key part of any CV is your education. Focus on your highest qualifications and include any awards or additional education you’ve received. Earlier education, such as your GCSEs and A-Levels, only need to be briefly mentioned.
Your education should be listed in reverse chronological order. Begin with your highest or most recent qualification and work backwards. Keep the information to the basic points, such as the name of your university and degree, along with the dates you studied for and your classification.
Deciding where your educational qualifications appear on your CV will depend on your experience. It’ll often appear at the top of your CV at the start of your career when it’s one of your main selling points. As your career progresses, your experience will start to outweigh the significance of your educational background.
If you’re currently studying – whether it’s for a bachelor’s or a postgraduate course – you can include this information and provide the expected completion date.
Training is one element people often forget to include in their CV. Personal development is one of the most important aspects of your career progression. You want to point out any specific training you’ve had, including any relating to regulatory matters.
Potential employers want to know that you’re up to date with all the latest changes in the industry. Your CV should feature a specific section for your training if this is a main selling point of your personal brand. It’s an easy way to direct attention to the experience that will set you apart from the competition.
Showcasing your training can show a potential recruiter your readiness for the position. You may have the training necessary to hit the ground running and streamline the transition from one employee to the next.
- Avoid company-specific terminology
Every company has its own ‘voice’. It’s not uncommon to pick up the specific jargon of your employer. Large companies often develop their own lingo and key terms that are specific to how they function.
You want to keep the language of your CV simple. Acronyms may help to shorten your word count, but they can be difficult to understand if they’re company-specific.
Every company has its own corporate culture and most of these include their own jargon and acronyms. Don’t forget that acronyms can mean different things in separate contexts.
You also want to avoid using company-specific jargon or terminology as a hiring agent may not always be familiar with your industry. Most CVs are screened before being filtered to the next stage, particularly for positions with a high number of applicants.
Asking a third-party to review your CV can help you spot any company lingo that should be removed. As acronyms and jargon become part of your daily vocabulary, it’s easy to fall into the habit of including them in your general writing.
You especially want to avoid company lingo when applying for remote or international positions. Terms and phrases mean different things in other countries and cultures. Avoid any potential confusion by keeping your language simple and easy to understand.
- Don’t exaggerate or undersell
One of the biggest mistakes people make with their CV is exaggerating. Nothing looks worse than when a recruiter discovers you’ve embellished your CV. Most recruiters can easily spot when a CV has been embellished once you reach the interview stage.
It’s not uncommon for applicants to exaggerate their CV. Similarly, applicants can often undersell themselves. Underselling typically happens with entry-level applicants who downplay their skills.
Exaggerating and underselling cause their own problems. You could miss out on a job by underselling yourself while exaggerating or lying on your CV could cause you to lose a job. The recruiter will speak to your referee to ensure that your experience matches up with what you’ve stated in your CV.
- Digital skills
In 2022, your digital skills are more important than ever before. Whether it’s managing specific software or using everything IT tools, your technical skills can help you hit the ground running. Make sure to include if any of your previous roles have featured specific IT work or software.
Most senior financial positions will require digital project management and data analysis. Reference these in your CV and any specialist digital tools you have in your arsenal. If a job application references a specific digital skill that you have, make sure to mark it off on your CV.
Be specific when describing your digital skills and use statistics to back up your experience. Your digital skills can help set you apart in a competitive field.
- Pitch yourself
First impressions make or break the recruitment process. Your CV is how you introduce yourself to a potential employer or recruiter. The purpose of your CV is to sell yourself and show what you can bring to the position.
When you’re reviewing your CV, ensure that everything you’ve written helps to pitch yourself. Your entire CV should read as an elevator pitch for the position.
Look at your CV through the lens of selling yourself. It can help to start by writing your pitch and personal brand story separately to use as a template for crafting your CV.
Your CV should always be a pitch for the specific job you’re applying for. You should only need to make minor edits when updating your CV from one position to the next.
Find the next step in your career with FD Recruitment
Incorporating these 10 tips into your resume will guarantee that your CV lands in the ‘yes’ pile. Writing your CV can be daunting but it should be a streamlined process. These tips and tricks will simplify the process of writing your CV and make it feel less stressful.
Take your time when writing your CV and work to simplify, streamline, and shorten wherever possible. Don’t forget that your CV is the first impression that you get to make.
Are you searching for the next step in your career? At FD Capital, we have a talent pool of financial professionals, including FDs and CFOs. Submit your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org to start your job search.