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Further on in this article, you’ll find industry specific guidance that will help you identify and present the skills and qualifications that are valued in the financial industry. You’ll be presented with some formatting options to choose from, examples of suggestions for clarity, and advice on how to avoid common mistakes.
What to Include in a Finance Resume
While the decision of which resume format to use is yours, it’s worth noting that certain formats lend themselves to certain situations.
The chronological format is used most often and is most familiar to hiring managers. Its focus is on your work history, and is therefore best for those with a traditional career path and no employment gaps. It has five main sections:
- Contact info (name/phone/email)
- Resume summary
- Work experience
A functional style resume focuses primarily on accomplishments and less on a chronological list of previous jobs. It’s often preferred by those making a career change or who have difficult-to-explain employment gaps. It can also be ideal for self-employed financial advisors who have multiple clients and independent contract work. To accommodate and illuminate the accomplishments in this format, add another section to the list above. You’ll have six main sections with this format:
- Contact info (name/phone/email)
- Resume summary
- Accomplishments (new section added)
- Work experience
Yet a third option is a combination style. You can easily find finance resume samples written in each of these styles.
Choose the type that best suits your style and work history.
How to Write the Finance Resume Summary Statement
Not to put too much pressure on you, but since it’s the first thing the hiring manager sees, do your best to draw them in.
As you write your resume summary, try to see yourself through the potential employer’s eyes. The trick is to make them see you instead of just telling them about yourself. Show don’t tell. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Take a look at some of the summaries on the finance resume samples you’ve identified. When you read a good one, ask yourself what makes it work.
By the time you review the summaries in the finance resume samples online and read the two sample summaries below, you should have a feel for the tone of a well-written summary:
Experienced financial manager with a Fortune 1,000 company. Oversaw and recommended investments over a seven year period of consistent growth of 13 percent+. Managed accounting team, ensured compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and was responsible for the accurate financial records that passed audit scrutiny.
Finance manager with over 10 years experience in support of management in operational decisions. Maximized returns on investments, minimized risk, and created a control structure for the transfer and investment of company funds. Successfully, accurately, and consistently forecast cash flow, borrowing needs, and funds available for investment while mitigating risk on foreign exchange positions.
How to Write the Finance Work Experience Section
In the chronological style, the work experience section follows the resume summary. Employers are most interested in what you’ve done lately, so list your most recent, or current, position first. Each job will be its own sub-heading containing the following information:
Company Name/Company Location
Period of Employment
Beneath each job, list 3-6 bullet points describing your accomplishments. Being a finance professional, you see the value in quantifying the results of your actions – so do this. Use action verbs to show what you did, and never begin with Responsibilities included. Usually, your responsibilities are fairly clear by your job title. Go back to the job description and try to match your accomplishments to their requirements.
If you’ve decided on the functional style, create a new section called Accomplishments before you write the work experience section. You’ll likely use the same bullet points you’d use in the chronological style, but you won’t be linking your achievements to a specific employer. This can be very helpful to those considering a career change.
You still need to have a work experience section, but with all the detail now residing in the accomplishments section, the work experience section is reduced to a simple list of each employer/location/period of employment/job title.
Samples of bullet points representing quantifiable accomplishments might be:
- Recommended appropriate dividend issuances that satisfied both stockholders and the board of directors
- By contributing financial status reports and projected cash flows, assisted management in formulation of strategic direction
- Assisted in competitive product pricing based on features offered and competitor pricing
Yet another review of financial resume samples might provide you with ideas that you hadn’t considered.
Action Verbs to Include in Your Finance Work Experience Section
If you need more, a quick scan of the finance resume samples just for action verbs will provide more.
How to Write the Finance Skills Section
By referring to finance resume samples, you can decide on the format that fits your style. If columns work well and don’t take your resume into 3-4 pages, go ahead. If you find you’re going long, you could switch to paragraph style. Examples of both follow:
Technical skills: Expert level with both Excel and Access, Familiar with NetSuite Financials, Sage X3, and Financial Performance Management (FPM) software.
- Able to explain complex financial transactions
- Understands international finance
- Strong decision making
- Sales and speaking skills
How to Write the Finance Education Section
When you list your education, list your most recent degree by identifying the school attended/location/degree obtained. If you’re working on a post-graduate degree, you should absolutely list that same information with the caveat that it’s in progress. If you have an expected completion date, include it.
After your education, you should include a sub-heading called Certifications/Licenses, especially in the financial industry. As you know, there are a number of licenses required based on the products you buy or sell. If you’ve worked at a large firm, you must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and that information is critical to a hiring manager. Other certifications that will enhance your image include Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Not that these certifications are easy to get, but if you begin the process, you can show it as in progress.
A possible third sub-heading, if applicable, would be Memberships and Affiliations.
Should I Include References in my Finance Resume
Whether you say on your resume that your references are available upon request, or you don’t mention them at all, make sure you have an impressive list of 3-4 references comprised of prior managers, perhaps a CFO if you’ve got a good relationship with one, and even a former client if you’re not bound by a non-compete.
When the employer calls for your references, you have the advantage of:
- Knowing for sure that they’re interested
- Having the opportunity to contact your references to tell them to be expecting a call
- Asking them to let you know when they’ve been contacted and what type of questions were asked
Finance Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid
- Even though numbers are your thing, words are how you communicate with your staff, senior management, and customers. If you don’t put your words together well as you write your resume, it’s certain that a potential employer will notice.
- Which leads to the importance of proofreading. Reading your resume once or even twice isn’t enough. It’s just very difficult to see your own mistakes. You read what you think your wrote. Have a friend read it over before you consider it finished.
- It’s been stressed throughout this article how important it is to mirror the employer’s requirements so they can see you as a member of their team, but there’s another reason to pay close attention to the job description – keywords. So many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) that it’s best to assume your resume will be scanned by one before it ever gets to a human being, and if the ATS doesn’t see the keywords it’s programmed to look for, your resume will go in the reject pile. Not only are you writing the best resume you can for a potential employer, but you need to satisfy the electronic gatekeeper as well.
- One more thing about an ATS. It’s easily confused by tables, graphics, and slick formatting tricks that impress in hard copy but could get your resume kicked out of an electronic system, so keep it simple and clean.
Job Prospects in the Finance Industry
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected an increase in employment for the period 2012 to 2022 for all occupations at 11 percent. In the finance industry, based on the three sectors identified below, growth is expected to be higher than or equal to the average.
- Employment of
personal financial advisors
- is expected to grow 27 percent for the same period, which is much faster than the average. With decreasing funds for corporate and state pensions, personal financial planning services will be more in demand. In addition, as baby boomers approach retirement they’ll seek advice, and longer life expectancy will lead to longer retirement periods. Job prospects are good, and are even better for those who obtain certification.
- are projected to see employment growth of 16 percent, largely due to the increasing range of financial products. Restrictions on trading by banks resulting from regulatory reform may shift employment from investment banks to hedge funds and private equity.
- Employment of
- is expected to grow about as fast as the average, at 9 percent, but growth will vary by industry. In the depository and credit intermediation industry, employment of financial managers is projected at only 5 percent. Those with advanced degrees, certifications, and an understanding of international finance will be more competitive for the available job openings.