How to format your CV and sell yourself

It’s important to make sure your CV includes relevant information in order to market yourself for prospective job roles. Victoria Wilson gives her top tips on CV writing, particularly for roles within the financial services.

Printed CV with a pen resting on itIn the Business Review department and more specifically in the Wealth Management team, we come across a vast array of CVs; some more colourful than others and many filled with an assortment of interesting snippets of information.

As stimulating as this information may be, much of it can often be irrelevant and can take the attention away from what really gets us going.

It is therefore important to be aware of the dos and don’ts when crafting your CV to ensure you can demonstrate your suitability for each role you are applying for.

  • Try to structure your CV with your name first followed by a brief blurb about yourself, your key skills and achievements, qualifications and then your career history. When heading your career history try to stick with company name, job title and dates you were there.
  • For contract CVs it is also worth remembering that potential clients are often seeking to buy your skills and industry knowledge on a short term basis. Your priority will be to resolve problems or build something new right away, therefore unlike permanent roles, you need to indicate the skills you possess early on in the document and avoid the temptation to flesh out the CV.
  • For permanent roles, you should take an alternative approach and guide us chronologically through your career history. Also, more focus should be attended to writing and structuring your CV; it should be clear and easy to read.
  • Remember that it is essentially marketing yourself and that a prospective employer will use the details provided to form interview questions. Gaps in career history should be explained and falsehoods and inaccuracies avoided at all costs.
  • Avoid putting irrelevant information on your CV. If you were a Fire Marshall previously, that is very noble, but not helpful in making yourself attractive to a potential employer within the finance sector.
  • Ensure you place your employment history from most recent onwards. Quantify your achievements and be specific about how and where you added value to an employer.
  • If you’re aiming to change your career, ensure your CV supports your new aspirations. Extract the most relevant details from previous experience and minimise what’s not relevant.

How to format your CV for financial services roles

For PPI case handler roles we often come across unspecified information. For example, which level of PPI complaints were you dealing with – 1,2, or 3? Were you in redress, review or both? Were you making manual, more complex calculations or using an automatic calculator? Making this clear is excellent for all parties.

With regards to other positions that may require the successful candidate to deal with a plethora of products, ensure you list all that you have worked with and what your role was in relation to each of them. Were you reviewing the suitability of advice at the point of sale or are you dealing with business as usual complaints? Again, not being specific enough is the biggest and most common error.

If you have a wealth of experience from OIECs, Bonds, Unit Trusts, ISAs, or even AIFs it is great to make this clear. For example, if you were dealing with AIFs what sort of Alternative Investment Fund was it? This makes your specific skill set visible for clients and recruiters alike.

It may seem obvious but it is surprising how many CVs are littered with common grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. It really does undermine the whole CV, despite the qualifications you have or how perfect you are for the role.

Hopefully this will have given you some useful guidelines when you next re-vamp your CV!

If you would like any help with formatting your CV for financial services roles, please email me – happy formatting!

– Victoria Wilson

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