The world of job hunting is highly competitive, so getting past the resume stage and moving on to that all important interview is key when trying to get your first step on the exciting career ladder. With so many different schools of thought when it comes to CV’s these days, just how do you make yours stand out and net that vital face to face meeting with prospective future employers?
Presenting the Right Kind of CV
Including relevant information may sound like common sense, but many people fail to grasp the meaning of the word ‘relevant’. Of course you’ll need to have basic information such as your name, address and contact details, but many of us are tempted to add too many extras, for example you don’t need 3 contact numbers where 1 will do. Keep it simple. All the information you want to relay to the person reading your CV should be laid out clearly and concisely. Concentrate on the areas which will make a difference, such as your employment history and achievements, and on what you can bring to a position within a banking firm.
Keep it short. Your CV should ideally contain everything that your intended employer needs to know about you on one A4 sheet and no more that two A4 sheets of paper. Above all, lay it out in an easy to read way and use bullet points if you feel it’s necessary. Check your spelling and grammar. One of the major reasons for CV’s failing to hit the mark with employers is shoddy presentation and bad spelling and grammar. If you’re looking for a high flying job it stands to reason that you should have high basic skills. If you can’t get the basics right no employer is going to have faith in you when it comes to important tasks.
Take a career like investment banking, it is a serious business, and so as a result it makes sense that your CV is serious. It may be fine to send a fluorescent green CV with purple print and illustrations if you’re applying for a job on a kids comic or with a funky young advertising company, but it isn’t appropriate in the banking world. Stick to plain white paper, an easy to read font, and black ink.
What Your CV Should Say About You
Include your academic achievements, starting with the most recent, your Phd or degree. Your employment history, if any, should focus on areas where you held responsible positions rather than casual jobs which you did for a few weeks. Include facts which are pertinent to whatever position you’re applying for, and relay them in a way which will make an impact on prospective employers. This will be the difference between you being called for an interview or your CV joining the reject pile.
Focus on areas which will be seen as an advantage to your career path. In finance your maths degree for example, or your summer job doing the books for a local company. If you’ve held several jobs try to highlight the ones which are important and leave casual jobs out if possible. Unless of course your casual job was as a volunteer to a community project and you’re applying to work for a charity. In a case like this your casual job may be the perfect way to demonstrate your relevant skills. Include references which can be checked, with up to date contact details, on a separate sheet of paper if you wish.
Once you’ve got your basic details and academic and employment history down and laid out in a clear, to the point way, you can add the parts which you hope will make the impact you desire. This is vital and should convey to the personnel manager reading your resume a sense that you can bring something special to the position. You’ll be expected to say why you feel that the position is right for you, as well as what you as an individual can bring to the firm.
Don’t grovel. You don’t need to say you think they’re a fantastic company. They know that they are and flattery is irrelevant information. Perhaps you’ve had an interest in the stock market from an early age, love to travel and meet people, or perhaps you thrive in a competitive environment. If you can add an achievement which highlights this, all the better. For example, winning competitions, taking part in sporting events or creative hobbies are all useful points. However, do be careful to keep the balance between too little information and far too much in mind.
Overall, your CV should imply that you have the right credentials and skills for the job, and the right attitude to succeed. If you can say this on one A4 sheet, in a clear and compelling way, you have a far higher chance of being called for that important interview.
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Good luck in your search.