If finding a new job is on your list this year, you might be happy to know that hiring in financial services is picking up as firms continue to scale at a rapid pace. While you may be tempted to dive right into your search, taking the extra time to get organized and update your financial services resume can help you stand out from the crowd.
With hiring up, so is competition for new roles. “As a result of virtual interview processes, people are more open to exploring opportunities due to the convenience of taking calls from their own homes,” says Timothy McGuire, a Senior Associate in The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “Having a resume that speaks to the specific skills and experience that the employer is looking for can help you better get picked up by candidate sourcing tools, and demonstrate that your skills are up-to-date with industry trends.”
To help your financial services resume stand out, consider highlighting your skill level and experience in these four areas:
Microsoft Excel is extremely important across the industry, so your financial services resume should list the specific areas of the program you are most proficient in. Instead of only listing you have advanced Excel skills, for example, you should say you’re proficient in areas such as Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Pivot Tables, V-Lookups, and Macros. “Most people don’t list specifics when it comes to Excel, so hiring managers have to spend more time than they’d like during the interview on the more technical aspects of the role,” says Tim. “If you’re specific with your skill level during the application process, you’ll have more time to talk about yourself and how you’ll fit in with the role and the team.”
Similar to being specific about your proficiency in Excel, you also want to be clear about what particular finance-backed products you’re familiar with. Speaking vaguely about your industry-specific knowledge can make it seem like you are able to work across different areas. However, an employer may see this as a sign you lack a critical understanding of the products necessary to succeed in the role. “In an effort to make themselves marketable to different areas in financial services such as compliance or quantitative analysis, many professionals can fall into the trap of using umbrella terms on their resume,” warns Tim. “While you may think this strategy makes you more attractive to the hiring manager, it can actually hinder your chances of landing a job interview.”
As the lines between financial and technology become increasingly blurred, many organizations are looking for professionals with strong finance tech skills. In particular, employers want to see that potential hires possess advanced coding skills. “Listing coding capabilities on a financial services resume not only makes you a more attractive candidate, but it can also indicate your potential and desire to grow in the industry,” says Tim. “For example, SQL and Python are coding languages in particularly high demand.” Making an effort to learn and eventually include those on your resume can show a hiring manager that you’re serious about career growth.
Even though your resume is meant to convey your experience and abilities, you can also use it to demonstrate highly coveted soft skills. To do this on your financial services resume, specify the team structure in your past roles. “Many firms are looking for someone who is not only able to communicate with more senior-level professionals, but can also fit in with their team dynamics,” explains Tim. “Listing who you report to, who your own reports are, and how your role supports the team can give them a better idea of what you’re like to work with.”