One of the most challenging aspects at the start of job hunting can be writing a CV. Often you have to ‘brush the dust off’ your old CV; reformat the old word document and rack your brain on how to summarise your current role into a couple of paragraphs. This is a common problem many modern-day professionals face, often to no avail. Luckily for you, this article seeks to explain how to find that balance between ‘standing out’ and maintaining the desired professionalism.
A CV is short for Curriculum Vitae, a Latin phrase which in English translates directly to “course of life”. Most modern-day professionals will have some form of CV which can vary from a formalised document to a LinkedIn profile detailing education, experience and can even have references!
A CV normally contains different sections including, but not limited to:
Education and Professional Qualifications
Hobbies, additional languages or volunteer work you may have participated in.
A good CV can vary from company to company, role to role and industry to industry however one factor always remains, a good CV is always important (So important that it was our first ever blog post!). A CV is a great screening tool to assess if you have the desired qualifications, such as DipFA, CeMAP or R05 and the desired work experience for the vacancy. This is why it is so important, and tricky, to write a great CV as it looks to find the perfect balance of honesty (both to yourself and the company), enticing the company by saying the right things as well as ticking all the boxes in terms of entry requirements. In this blog post, we will attempt to aid you with all the separate things that make a great CV for Financial Services.
Due to the nature of the Financial Services industry, professional qualifications are required for advice roles and most support positions. Whether it be CeMAP (Certificate in Mortgage Advice & Practice), Diploma of Financial Planning, DipFA (Diploma for Financial Advisers), DipMAP (Diploma in Mortgage Advice and Practice). Therefore, this usually is a binary concept for IFA firms and Mortgage Brokerages with vacancies stating necessary qualifications to be suitable for the role. It may be a good idea to ensure your qualifications are located near the top of your CV to ensure you get over the first hurdle straight away.
2. Remember, it’s marketing!
Think of your CV as an advertisement of your skills and attributes you can bring to a new organisation. What are your personal USP’s? What makes you stand out from your peers? It might be a cliché, but put yourself in the shoes of the business, and ask yourself the questions you think they would be asking, and then ensure the answers are included within your CV. It may be a good idea to add a core competency section to display your key skills (E.g. I consistently hit my targets) and then give context (of writing 4 mortgages a month and often exceed this by achieving circa 6). This will help you build credibility and increase your chances. Do be careful to not overdo it, keep the information relevant and try not to obviously brag, this blog post explains how to find balance between confidence and arrogance. With this being said, don’t write an essay! CV-library wrote a great article on how to keep your CV on two pages which is great to use as a point of reference.
In conjunction with qualifications arguably the most important thing to include on a Financial Services CV is your experience. Some roles such as Trainee or Junior roles may allow little to no experience whereas, more Senior positions like an Independent Financial Advisor, Senior Paraplanner or Mortgage Advisor traditionally require numerous years of experience. It may be a good idea to give this section the same weight as your qualifications section, because companies may reject you on the ground of lack of experience. Even in junior roles, it is important to show that you have shown some form of initiative whether this is through work experience or a more formalised internship. Therefore, it can be beneficial for highlighting your experience.
Writing a covering letter
Writing a covering letter seems like a long arduous process however, you can create a template to assist each job application, by using an initial skeleton copy and then tailoring specifically to each vacancy you apply for. To boost your letter, undertake research and discuss some aspects in the company that appeal to you and explain why.
As the modern-day professional networking site, it can be a great way to display the companies you have worked for and can give an opportunity to display public references from previous employers. Furthermore, your education can be shown with grades and name of institution (much in the same way as your CV) and also skills and endorsements that your LinkedIn connections can choose to give you. A great blog article that explains how to turn your LinkedIn profile into a resume is this one written by the balance careers and is well worth a read of you are thinking about making that change.
- CVs are important and should be taken seriously – This one is obvious, right?
- Prioritise experience and qualifications – These are the most important things especially in the financial services industry
- Remember to market yourself and utilise everything you can – Go beyond your duties and list key achievements you obtained within your roles
- Apply for jobs – Don’t worry, we have loads, apply today and find your dream job HERE