How to Make Your Financial Resume Stand Out
Obtaining a coveted job in finance often requires more than good grades. If you’re an accounting or finance professional, you will also have to showcase your skills.
So, how can you use your resume to prove to any prospective employer that you are the best person for the job? Here are some tips.
First, your resume should include:
A clean but standard format
Changing the standard resume format may seem like a good idea to help you stand out from the crowd. However, due to the sheer volume of candidates, hiring managers often scan a résumé for just a few seconds. If your application doesn’t follow the standard format, they may discard it.
So, stick to the essential details such as:
- Contact information
- Professional summary
- Work experience
No objective statements
Having an objective statement can make your resume look outdated and should definitely be avoided. Most employment experts agree that submitting a confident and action-oriented professional summary is preferred by many prospective employers. Begin with a few sentence fragments or bullet points detailing your noteworthy work-related achievements and skills.
If you have highly sought-after skills, such as financial management experience, make sure you include these in your CV.
Self-assured but not verbose language
Most HR personnel prefer to skim rather than read resumes. If you want your qualifications to stand out, consider using bullet points and readable fonts. This is not the time to be shy about your expertise and accomplishments. Express your confidence by using words such as ‘adept’ when describing your competence using software.
An emphasis on your education
Besides your skills and experiences, employers in the financial industry value formal education. Ensure that you make the education section as comprehensive as possible. When discussing your finance-related ability, you should include your:
- Formal degrees
- Professional development courses
If you are a recent graduate, it is better to omit your graduation dates.
Financial Achievements and Highlights to Include
In terms of content, consider including the following information.
Unlike other industries, in the financial sector, talent and experience can only take you so far. A finance job requires you to successfully navigate the industry’s tests, standards and best practices. Your resume should indicate that you have both the educational training and relevant work experience to succeed. Also, it’s great to include that you may have Chartered Financial Analyst or Financial Risk Manager Certification.
Communication and interpersonal skills
Finance professionals no longer stay hidden away in cubicles crunching numbers all day. In most positions, you will have to deal with clients on a daily basis. Employers will require you to have solid oral and written communication skills. You should also be able to explain financial jargon to your clients in simple terms.
The ability to communicate and make complex financial language intelligible to clients with limited knowledge is a highly valued skill.
Financial reporting, analytical and problem-solving skills
It is no surprise that these skills are a primary requirement, especially for tasks such as forecasting. Having strong financial reporting skills will give you an edge. Make sure that you emphasize your aptitude in this domain.
The ability to analyze various scenarios and draw the appropriate conclusion is a highly sought-after skill in the financial sector. Candidates who can clearly demonstrate their analytical skills are the ones most likely to be hired.
Although thorough knowledge of financial systems and processes is important, you won’t impress many prospective employers unless you can demonstrate that you can solve real-world complex business problems. For example, your résumé could outline how you would come up with a unique solution to a client’s tax problem. It is this type of professional achievement that will help boost your career.
IT software knowledge
The financial industry is currently being digitized and automated so it makes sense for employers to hire professionals who have the suitable skills to handle their systems. It doesn’t matter what type of finance position you’re applying for, you will need to demonstrate your knowledge and proficiency in:
- Accounts payable
- Predictive analytics
- SAP accounting software
Management experience, business acumen and an innovative mindset
Management experience is valued by prospective employers even if you’re applying for an entry-level position. Candidates who can demonstrate their ability to manage others are likely to get a leadership position sooner rather than later.
Employers also prefer to hire people who understand the delicate relationship between a company’s financial actions and its customers’ demands. If you possess such acumen and are interested in industry trends, it’s better to mention this in your résumé.
The financial industry, especially accounting, is used to routines and systems. However, innovation is also welcome and rewarded. For example, you may have devised a data collection system that improves a department’s productivity. Such an innovative mindset will help you stand out from the other candidates.
A well-crafted resume is essential in order to attract the attention of prospective employers. It should follow a format whereby the content is easy to read but still stands out. Of course, there are several crucial financial skill sets that most companies will look for in a candidate. Make sure that you list all or most of them in your resume. In addition, consider brushing up on your skills since you may have to demonstrate them during the interview.
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Lauren Walker is the marketing administrator for Stellar Select.