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As any good advisor knows, consulting the right resources before tackling a complex challenge is incredibly valuable. Accordingly, if you want your advisor resume to stand out, begin by researching advisor resume samples to get an idea of format, the information to include, and the wide range of specialties that fall under the umbrella description of advisor. Academic, personal finance, and management advisor sectors will likely contain skills that you can claim as your own.
As you read further, you’ll also find guidance and suggestions to help your craft an impressive resume. You’ll also learn about common mistakes and how to avoid them.
What to Include in an Advisor Resume
Each section of your resume should work toward allowing hiring managers to create an image of you performing your job successfully with measurable results, setting the stage for a potential employer’s interest and the likelihood of an interview. The sections you choose to include are highly dependent on which resume format you commit to.
The most common resume format, and the most familiar to hiring managers, is the chronological style. It fits the needs of an applicant with no employment gaps and who is progressing in their career along a traditional path. The basic resume sections for this style are:
- Contact info (name/phone/email)
- Resume summary
- Work experience
If, however, you’re considering a shift in your career so you can continue performing the job of advisor in your job sector, but hope to enlarge or enhance the scope of your clientele, the functional style may work better for you. Financial advisors who have been self-employed may also find this style more suited to their needs. In the functional style, emphasis is placed on your achievements rather than a listing of your employment history. To do this, a new section, Accomplishments should be added, resulting in the slight modification of resume sections as follows:
- Contact info (name/phone/email)
- Resume summary
- Accomplishments (new section)
- Work experience
As you read further you’ll find suggestions for composing both styles, more information about the differences between the two, and guidance to help you decide which will serve you best. Refer to advisor resume samples to get a better idea of what chronological and functional resumes each entail.
How to Write the Advisor Resume Summary Statement
A resume summary is a concise description of your achievements and skills presented in a way that lets the potential employer see you as an ideal candidate. If you’re focusing on a particular job, go back to the job description, take note of what they have listed as requirements, and write a summary that tells the story of you performing the tasks that they’ve defined as critical. You obviously need to be honest, but you should be smart too. Use action verbs along with the employer’s keywords and focus on their needs as you describe yourself.
A review of advisor resume samples will provide insight into what a well-written summary looks like. Following are two summaries targeted at different sectors of the advisor industry:
- Academic advisor with 15 years experience in public university bachelor?s and master?s programs with case loads of 260-300 students handled successfully. Advised students on educational resources, provided guidance and assistance by planning schedules, and recommended courses for a variety of students. Provided assistance for at-risk students, reducing drop out rate by 23 percent.
- Licensed financial advisor who managed investment portfolios for more than 300 clients with combined assets of over $24 million. Conducted client reviews to evaluate investment performance and recommended solutions based on risk tolerance, time horizon, and investment needs. Obtained 45 new clients over a period of two years via recommendations and relationship building with both high net worth individuals as well as those just starting out.
How to Write the Advisor Education Section
To compose this section, it’s important to not only review advisor resume samples, but also to closely examine the education requirements on the job description as well.
The format for the section is fairly basic, with your highest level of academic achievement listed first. Under the education heading, the employer is looking for the school attended, the location of the school, and the degree obtained.
For many positions, additional certifications or licenses are required and should be listed under a sub-heading called Certifications/Licenses. Required certifications and registrations vary by state, and you should ensure you meet the qualifications for your state, even if they’re not listed on the job description.
Personal financial advisors can enter the field with a bachelor’s degree, and if you’ve had a course of study in investments, taxes, and risk management, that should be mentioned. Advisors who directly buy or sell stocks, bonds, or insurance policies require licenses based on the products they sell. In addition, the Certified Financial Planner certification verifies your bachelor’s degree, confirms you passed an exam, and that you have at least 3 years relevant work experience. If you’ve gone to the trouble to get certified, it should certainly be listed on your resume.
Management advisors, also referred to as management consultants, can enter the field with a bachelor’s degree, but there is often a preference for candidates with an MBA. The Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation affirms certain levels of education and tested knowledge. This designation must be recertified every three years, so be sure to include the date of your certification.
Academic advisors are most often required to have a master’s degree related to educational counseling, state licensure, and/or certification.
How to Write the Advisor Work Experience Section
At this point of writing your resume, you should have decided on either the chronological or functional style, and if you haven’t, well, now’s the time.
As was discussed earlier, the chronological resume is best suited to those with no employment gaps and who are progressing along their chosen career path. The main heading will be Work Experience, and the sub-headings for each of your previous jobs will include the name and location of the employer, period of employment, and job title. That’s the easy part. You’ll need to put some serious thought into how you’re going to describe your accomplishments at each job, how to do it in 3-6 bullet points, and how to include the requirements and skills listed on the employer’s job description. Depict your quantifiable achievements using action verbs so the potential employer can see you in action as part of their team.
The functional resume will serve you well if you’ve been self-employed as a financial advisor and are now looking for employment, or if you have other employment gaps that could trigger a negative impression. Before you list your previous jobs in the work experience section, create the accomplishments section, which will contain most of the detail of your experience. Without identifying employers, you can list 6-8 concise bullet points that show your skills and resulting measurable success. The work experience section, which follows, will be a simple list of your previous jobs. It will be similar to the way they’re listed in the chronological resume, but without the details because you’ve already provided them in the accomplishments section.
Illustrations of both resume types can be found by looking at advisor resume samples.
Action Verbs to Include in Your Advisor Work Experience Section
The importance of using action verbs has already been mentioned in the resume summary and work experience sections of this article. Following is a list of action verbs for your consideration as you compose those sections of your resume:
For more action verbs applicable to your industry, consider scanning advisor resume samples just for verbs.
How to Write the Advisor Skills Section
You may have a long list of skills that you’re proud of, but a potential employer wants to see the skills they identified as requirements on the job description, so make a point of mirroring their list, as long as you actually have those skills.
Hard skills are important. Advisors, no matter what sector, need to be familiar with commonly used software; so financial advisors should list all the financial software and risk analysis programs they’ve used. Academic advisors may not know every learning management system around, but the basics of one can be applied to others, so make sure you list every internal program you’ve used. Management advisors need analytical skills, spreadsheet creation, and MS Word familiarity or even expertise.
Again referring to the job description, identify the soft skills that are important to the hiring manager and that you can honestly claim, for instance:
- Commitment to long-term clients
- Excellent listening skills
Once you’ve covered the employer-stated needs, you can fill out the list with your additional skills. For formatting ideas, review a few advisor resume samples.
Should I Include References in my Advisor Resume
You won’t see references listed on any of the advisor resume samples you’ve found because it’s just not done. Rather than take up valuable resume space with a list of references, simply state that they are available upon request. In addition to keeping your resume to no more than two pages, there are other advantages to having the employer request them.
- When you receive a request for your references, you’ll know for sure the hiring manager is interested in you.
- You’ll have the opportunity to give your references a heads-up to be expecting a call.
- You can ask your references to let you know when they’ve been contacted, and you can find out what kind of questions were asked.
Academic advisors should use school or university administrators, department heads, and professors with whom they’ve developed a good relationship as references, and if you need to fill out your list of 3-4 references, a graduated student who benefited from your advice could be used.
Financial or management advisors should focus on former managers or supervisors, and should be careful using clients if there’s an active non-compete with a former employer. Even the minor contact of a reference check could constitute a breach.
Advisor Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid
- Keep in mind that the whole exercise of writing your resume is also an example of your written communication skills. Avoid first-person pronouns like I, me, and we. The use of incomplete sentences, called gapping, gets to the point in as few words as possible, which is helpful for time-pressed hiring managers.
- Proofread over and over, and if you have time, let it marinate overnight. A fresh look will spot typos and grammar mistakes that you just don’t notice in the heat of writing.
- You don’t have to list every job you ever had. If you’re a seasoned professional with 30 years of experience, the most relevant experience is the last 10-15 years. You don’t want to create age discrimination that you’d never be aware of.
- Don’t disclose confidential information about former employers or clients, especially in the financial or management sectors. You’ll be viewed as gossipy at best, and untrustworthy at worst.
- Don’t just start writing without taking advantage of ideas you can get from the advisor resume samples available to you.
Job Prospects in the Advisor Industry
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the growth rate for all occupations to be 11 percent from 2012 to 2022. Each of the following three advisor sectors are projected to do either as well or better than that average.
Personal financial advisor employment is projected to grow at the highest rate of the three sectors listed here, with an expected growth of 27 percent. Baby boomers approaching retirement, longer life expectancies, and shortfalls in pension funds will lead to increasing demand for financial planning services. Certification will increase job prospects.
Employment of management advisors, or consultants, is projected grow 19 percent for the ten year period 2012 to 2022. As organizations look for ways to improve efficiency and control costs, the demand for consulting services is expected to grow, especially in smaller consulting companies. As companies enter the foreign market, many will need advisors regarding strategy. A graduate degree, certification, and fluency in a foreign language will increase job opportunities.
School and career advisor employment is expected to grow at 12 percent, which is about average for all occupations. Increasing school enrollments will increase demand, but a decline in education funding from state and local governments may limit growth. Demand for career counseling in vocational rehabilitation and the transition of military personnel into the civilian job market is expected to increase demand.