On this topic, you will find a lot of articles and mentoring services too. However, after having been in the industry for over a decade and watching it closely through the eyes of multiple stakeholders (i.e. Students, Senior Business Management, HR Professionals and Interviewers), I feel I have my version to tell.
What alldoes an Employer expectin a candidate’s resume for a particular role? There is no specific defined format, however, a CV that appears suitable for the work profile will be preferred over the run-of-the-mill CV. This brings me to my most important point below.
1. RESEARCH & TAILOR-MAKE YOUR CV FOR THAT JOB!
Do you really, really want that job? Well, then read-up and research about the work profile and your potential employer through all possible sources. Read-up about how the LinkedIn Profiles of people in similar roles look like. Check if you have worked on any similar assignments. Take the pains and create a CV that highlights your potential employer’s preferences. This is like approaching that girl of your dreams ;) No standard, cookie-cutter approach would work. You have to customize and be innovative!
Work or Article-ship experienceshould be written in reverse-chronological order i.e. starting from your current job, organization, designation, period of work and profile, key assignments and then going backwards.
A better idea here is to keep noting and tracking your work or achievement every month. It is easier to build the CV when you have this data. Plus, later, this is beneficial at the time of writing for your year-end reviews as well!
Work Experience for each job can be broken up into two parts:
- Work profile in brief (what you were supposed to do there)
- Key assignments Handled: Mention what you actually achieved there without naming the clients. Client Confidentiality Matters!
- In terms of style of writing, in complete sentences, indicate what you did in a particular role or assignment. Avoid incomplete sentences. Use active past tense (Led a team, Participated in a debate, Drafted or Edited a Report, etc.)
Include clear examples such as:
i. “Assisted on Income Tax planning and annual filing to over 10 individual clients”
ii. Worked on Quarterly certification, reporting of Forex transactions of an Authorised Dealer”
iii. “Handled complete Service Tax compliance of a large Tour Operator”
iv. “Assisted on drafting of a case for representation at the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)”
v. "Assisted on Financial Feasibility Analysis for a Food Processing Project”
IN ACADEMIC DETAILS, AVOID TABLES
For academic details, avoid tables.Tables are just so passé. They look clunky and take a lot of space! Maintain reverse chronology here as well. You may show your 10th or 12th results only if they are extraordinary otherwise you can skip. Also summarize your achievements in academics here.
2 OR 3 DIFFERENTIATED CVs?
If you are a fresher, consider building slightly differentiated resumes for different positions. Think hard how you can highlight or elaborate any assignment or project that is relevant for the profile that you are applying for. Perform a proper spelling and grammar check before you send it.
2. UPDATE YOUR LINKED-IN PROFILE AND PROJECT LINKS
Ensure that you update your LinkedIn Profile too, in line with your CV. The trend of employers seeking details about a person from social and professional networks in increasing rapidly!
PROJECT OR SHAREABLE WORK
Regarding Academic Projects and shareable work samples, keep them online and provide the relevant links on your CV, LinkedIn Profile. You can use online presentation sharing tools such as SlideShare, Google Drive, YouTube etc. Don’t paste the links ‘as it is’ here. Create proper hyperlinks.
Avoidable Example: https://www.slideshare.com/profile/cx5VGD7M89Q
Preferable Example: Sample Work 1
3. NO MORE THAN 1-PAGE CV
I may sound a bit aggressive however, I want to say this! for an experience level of up to about 5 years, ensure that you fit it all in a page, period! Put all your language and summarization skills to work here. Highlight and elaborate parts of your experience which are relevant for the role. Reduce the irrelevant stuff.
Imagine you are an interviewer and going to take at least 50 interviews in day, will you be interested in reading a huge resume? Further, while conducting the interview, interviewer will have a copy of it in his hand.More crisp and to the point the resume is, the happier the interviewer is.
Avoid the formats which leave a large 2 inches unusable margin on the left hand side. Also, to fit the content in One page, never reduce the font size of body text below 11. A lower font size is difficult to read in a printed copy.
4. DETAILS AT THE TOP
CONTACT DETAILS, PROMINENT
Display your basic details like name, email address, phone numbervery prominently on top of the resume so that whoever picks up your resume, can immediately contact you without having to search forthese.Different font would be better. Name the largest and Contact details in a slightly smaller font size. Residential address, Date of Birth can be taken to the bottom.
Avoid words like Resume, Bio Data, Profile, Curriculum Vitae as the title of the CV. Everyone knows it is! Rather your name and contact details should be the title.
After the title, you can start your resume with short 3 points synopsis. This is that brief about you! For e.g., “A meritorious scholarly achiever having passed CFA (USA)and CA (ICAI, India) in the first attempt, and havingaround 4 years of multi-sector experience in the field of investment banking.” Also you can include your present job organisation, a brief experience and any achievement in one/two lines. This will give a perspective what your resume is going to say.
Honestly, after reading through so many of them, I feel the same 7-8 Career Objectives are doing the rounds across most of the CVs made!I have come to an opinion that such a generalization can be avoided.
Write something that can trigger a conversation here. May be about the industry that you wish to be a part of! Also, don’t be selfish! Think about the organization too..J. E.g. I want to learn…, I want to achieve… etc. can be clubbed with how I want to contribute to the organization too.
SKILLS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Every person has got some or the other skill and achievement. Think for a while, and mention your skills, strength and achievements. It may or may not be connected to your work or academics. E.g. participating meditation camps, volunteer service at some place, hobbies related etc.
This section you can use for your own benefit. This will give the impression of what type of person you are apart from your academics and experience. Think about how they have shaped you as a professional and an individual. Also, see if there’s a connection between your Skills and your Strengths.
If you have mentioned “Played Cricket for District Team for 3 years” in your Achievement, see how you build on this in your Strengths
5. USE FOLLOWING DESIGN & LAYOUT PRINCIPLES
Follow the C.R.A.P. Principle. For once, CRAP is proving to be useful JCRAP here stands for:
CONTRAST: The highlighted words should stand out from the rest of the text. The highlighted words include the title, contact details, headings for various parts. There are different ways to highlight a piece of information i.e. different font size, different font colour, different font style, etc. Never use all of them together (i.e. BOLD, UNDERLINE, ITALICS).
Incorrect Example: WORK EXPERIENCE
Correct Example: WORK EXPERIENCE
REPETITION: This means consistently following the same font style, font size, bullet types for one type of text. Also, consistently maintaining the same tone of language throughout the CV. Check for any inconsistency and remove it.
ALIGNMENT: Thismeanstaking care of your indents and bullets well. If one draws a vertical line at the margin on left hand side, Entire text should appear to be starting from this line
PROXIMITY: This means that the information related to one part shall be kept together. However, one part shall be separated from another by using line spacing.
Click here to view a Sample CV. See if you can build on the same!
If preparing for specific roles in Finance and for the right technical skills, you can consider signing up for our online Financial Modeling program here