Writing a Finance CV
Finance is a very, very broad field. There are so many different specialisations out there in the Finance ecosystem. As a result, when writing CVs for those in the Finance industry, we must be particularly precise and accurate. We must be able to effectively isolate and present the individual’s specific area of expertise, and how that area can contribute to a prospective employer. If an asset management firm was looking for an analyst, a bank loans officer would not be the best fit, but both roles come under the broad banner of ‘finance’. If your CV doesn’t demonstrate a good fit for the role, chances are it’ll be discarded. Finance is a rather ‘hot’ industry nowadays – there are many many applicants for every single position, and it’s therefore very important to demonstrate that (i) you have the right skillset and competencies for the job and that (ii) you can contribute effectively to the company if you should be hired. Your CV must thus be well positioned to properly sell your profile.
Here’s a sample finance related CV I recently worked on. This client was primarily an accountant by training, but she gained a lot of compliance-related experience through her years of experience and wanted to apply for a senior finance manager role. It was a particularly interesting CV to write – there were so many good tidbits of information for me to sift through!
I’ll first show you the completed CV, then I’ll break it down section by section and talk you through my thought process and reasoning when I was actually writing the CV. Your area may be different, but you can try applying the ideas and rationale to your own CV. If you need a hand, or have any questions, feel free to drop me an email at russel (at) resumewriter.sg, or just drop me a message here – I offer free CV consultations. Alternatively, if you’d like to learn more about how to write a CV properly, check out my Ultimate Guide to Resume Writing – I go into greater detail on proper CV writing techniques, and discuss strategies for writing each section of your CV.
The Completed CV (without annotations):
The annotated CV with my thoughts and comments – keep an eye out for the [sections formatted like this]:
I’ve broken down this section into the individual segments that are common to all CVs I write. I suggest following a similar format. Refer to the Ultimate Guide for more details about the content of each section!
Introduction and Executive Summary:
Main Body: Professional History and Achievements:
Education, Certifications, Qualifications:
Additional Information (‘Misc Info’):
Want a winning CV like the Finance Manager Resume Sample above? Need advice on writing a CV for the Finance industry?
Now, your CV will probably be different. As I keep mentioning, Finance is so broad nowadays. It is however a very popular sector attracting very bright and talented individuals, which makes it even more important that you can target your CV properly.
About the Finance Manager Role
A senior finance manager role may come across as routine and process driven, particularly with regards to month end and statutory reporting. However, the truth is, it can also be challenging and interesting!
Reporting is just a small part of the role, and a financial controller can be responsible for treasury, tax, financial planning and growing of commercial business partnerships, just to name a few.
Depending on your specialisation, your role will likely differ.
Some Key Pointers Recruiters Look For in Finance Manager Resumes:
- Your experience in full set of accounts
- Your ability to support senior management in making business growth decisions
- Your familiarity with various accounting software, programs, and tools, such as SAP, Hyperion, and Oracle.
You will also have to be technically astute with sound knowledge of financial fundamentals. Knowledge of general ledger, budgeting, forecasting, accounting standards and compliance regulations are essential, and you will have to demonstrate the ability to see not only the micro, but also macro side of things.
Again, depending on your subspeciality, this will change. There’s no need to follow this exact format on your CV. Instead, play to your strengths, and identify the areas which your dream job requires. Feel free to drop me an email if you’re unsure – my email address is above. I read every email that comes through to my inbox – never fear!
Common Errors (which are very often dealbreakers – avoid!)
Here are a few common mistakes I see clients making in their CVs:
Being too general – Using one CV for all applications.
It’s very common to want to save your efforts, and use 1 single CV for every application. This is a critical mistake to make – every employer is looking for a different set of skills, and your CV must be written to account for this. Applying for a position in accounting is very different from applying for one in compliance, and your CV must correspondingly be adapted to fit the different requirements. I’m not saying that you need to completely rewrite your CV every single time. That’s just inefficient. Instead, look at the areas which can be transferred, and just tweak the areas which are different. For instance, in our earlier example, both accountants and compliance officers need to be aware of the major accounting standards and regulatory requirements e.g. IFRS, SOX, and there’s no need to change job descriptions which include either or both of these aspects.
On the other hand, the accounting CV might talk more about the client’s past experience dealing with accounts receivable/payable, controlling finances, reviewing budgets, etc. while the compliance officer’s CV could deal more with policymaking, liaising with the regulators/authorities, conducing internal audits, etc. The idea is to include more skillsets relevant to your targeted ad in your CV.
Not being clear about their specialisations
I’m not generalising, but one of the things I notice among many finance manager CVs I’ve read is how strong their background in budget management and finance controlling is, but how they fail to emphasise these on their resumes.
Just because you are good in numbers (or accounting) doesn’t mean you can do away with a well-presented finance manager resume. Remember, you are trying to “sell” yourself and your qualifications. Thus, you need to have a resume that stands out.
In fact, this one is a rather frustrating one to see. There are many instances where I’ve spoken to brilliant minds who cannot get an interview, but not for lack of skill. The simple reason is that their CV just doesn’t demonstrate that they fit what the employer is looking for. What a waste!
In your CV, be sure to identify and highlight your specialisation. Are you an analyst? Accountant? Financial controller? Be sure to check what the job ad is looking for and explicitly state your area of expertise on your CV. Even if you are from a different sub-sector, you can still highlight transferable skillsets on your CV. Be explicit about this. Clearly state that you are an analyst / accountant / compliance expert etc. in your CV, right at the beginning. A lot of companies (especially larger MNCs and global firms) use ATS, an automated CV scanner, to filter CVs. If you’re missing keywords, chances are that your CV won’t even reach the desk of a human. The Key Skills section, for instance, includes all the keywords resume scanning softwares often use.
Not including achievements when writing your CV
Finance is a very easy sector to showcase your value add in, as a lot of the work done is quantifiable by metrics. An auditor may choose to highlight the project value of audits that they’ve led; an analyst may point to the returns they’ve generated that year; an accountant can talk about the value of the accounts they control, the efficiency they’ve generated, or the revenues they preside over. Yet, many people don’t include achievements on their CVs, perhaps due to us Singaporeans being more modest in general.
This is one of the most important parts of your CV! It’s your chance to demonstrate where you’ve added value in the past, and thus how you can contribute to your future firm if hired. Don’t be shy. List your significant projects, achievements, etc. on your CV, and be sure to contextualise and quantify them with metrics and statistics where possible (it’s always more impressive to be able to see just how much value was created).
Your achievements section is critical to differentiating your application from that of your peers. Include projects which you have led and their resulting tangible business benefits. These benefits can be in the form of:
- Cost savings to the firm
- Improved business analytic / transparency leading to better business insights
- Enhanced internal controls
- Streamlined accounting processes resulting in higher productivity
- Due Diligence for M&A activity
- New business arm leading to higher revenues / profits
Always tie back your projects to business benefits. This is what the hiring manager and employer want to see on your CV. Ultimately, they want to know you can bring great value to their organisation.
However, be careful of confidentiality clauses. If a project is confidential, be careful when using it on your CV. You can use percentages, or say things like “multi-million dollar project” instead of giving the exact dollar figure. Whatever you do, don’t break NDAs or confidentiality clauses, be it on your CV or in person – if you break it for one employer, future companies may wonder if you’ll keep their secrets if/when you decide to move on. Being general is okay; explicitly stating the number or project isn’t. Err on the side of caution if you’re unsure – the interviewer will understand (and likely appreciate it too!)
Not Listing Professional Associations and Memberships
Like many industries, finance has many certification-awarding bodies and official associations. Be sure to include your professional affiliations, memberships, and certifications in your CV, especially if it’s well-respected. It’s a huge advantage to have. Yet, I still see a lot of people forgetting to include them, not wanting to include them, or simply not being aware that they are, in fact, members!
Some common qualifications that are very well respected (and hence should absolutely go on your CV if possible) that I’ve seen include, in no particular order:
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Chartered Accountant (CA) (or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) depending on where you’re from)
- Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM)
- Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
- Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)
This is by no means an exhaustive list – there are many certifications and courses out there which add value to your CV.
Even if you haven’t actually gotten the certificate yet, you can include it on your CV. Just be sure to state that it’s ‘In Progress’ or similar. This is particularly the case for certifications which have multiple levels – CFA is a good example (there are 3 levels you must go through before becoming an official charterholder entitled to use the CFA designation). You can, for example, put ‘CFA Level I (June 2018)’ or ‘CFA Level II Candidate (Expected completion: July 2019)’ etc. This shows that you’re interested in the industry, and committed to self-improvement, both of which are beneficial traits to highlight on your CV.
Finance Management Job Opportunities
- Scour websites like JobsDB or Jobstreet for marketing jobs and opportunities. You may also want to check out our complete list of job sites in Singapore to help you get started.
- Alternatively, you can reach out to these headhunters in Singapore to learn about any vacancies they may be trying to fill out.
Job Hunting Tips from our Resident Headhunter
- Create a winning cover letter and send it along your resume. The cover letter will serve as an introduction about yourself and is a great venue to answer the question “Why should we hire you?”
- Be active on social media, particularly on LinkedIn. Make sure to create a strong online profile that represents you and you professional experiences. Here’s our comprehensive guides on finding jobs through social media and writing a great LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a great networking tool to use. Be sure to tap on it.
- Certifications are increasingly well-recognised and respected today. I listed some major ones above, but they’re by no means all the certs out there. If you have some time, try to look into getting accredited or certified. It’ll put you ahead of the competition and make you more memorable (and also sharpen your actual skills and abilities!)
- Keep working hard. Get ahead of the competition!
- Before you start sending out applications, get a free CV Feedback Session with our team.
- Not sure about your career? How about a professional career coaching call from an expert career coach?
If you found this article on writing a CV for finance and our finance manager resume sample useful, you might also like:
- Other resume and CV samples (I’m constantly updating these to showcase more of the ‘behind the scenes’ thought processes. Check back often!)
- How to Write a Resume (my Ultimate Guide to Resume / CV Writing!)
- How to Write a Cover Letter
- List of Headhunters in Singapore
- How To Write A Great Linkedin Profile
- 10 Steps on How to Get a Job in Singapore
All the best with your job search!