If you google “finance resume template”, you’ll find a lot of resume models filled with roles and responsibilities such as:
- Manage budgetary and investment decisions for laboratory.
- Managed insurance programs.
- Calculate and monitor strategy performance in compliance with GIPS to multiple investment performance databases (eVestment, Morningstar, iShares).
- Accountable for portfolio’s performance and client relationship.
- Responsible for marketing [Bank] product and generating new business.
That seems about right, no?
But there’s a problem. A huge problem, actually. Most finance professionals with whom you’ll be competing will have similar roles and responsibilities on their resumes. Planning, making financial models or analyses, budgeting… These tasks are pretty much what working in finance is all about. There are differences, as it’s a wide field, but roles and responsibilities will often overlap. So if your resume is very close to an average “finance resume template”, how is that helping you get interviews? After all, the best resumes are distinctive. They make you stand out, not blend in!
So here’s a little something to help you make your resume stand out. It’s based on the 3 Laws of Resume Writing. (Accomplishments, accomplishments and accomplishments!) And it’s not material that I made up. I found it by carefully studying the resumes of various banking, investment and insurance pros (focusing on the best ones, of course!).
5 Finance Accomplishments to Make your Resume Distinctive
- Two separately managed account strategies out-performed the S&P 500 in 2012 and 2013 by an average of 250 to 300 basis points annually. (When a sector’s indicators are so easy to measure, it’s imperative to use them to demonstrate the value of your work.)
- Grew business from $0 to $3 million and distinguished the firm as a leader in providing valuable management consulting and financial advisory services to major energy enterprises. (Growing a consulting business that much isn’t possible with one or two lucky sales pitches. This accomplishment speaks volumes about the candidate’s drive, relationship building skills and overall capabilities.)
- Implemented and designed the structure of the financial software for the company. (Leadership of a project, especially when it’s a first within the company or team, brings a sense of initiative and dynamism, which resonates strongly with employers.)
- Raised $3 million in working capital for a $14 million nursing home company (prepared offering book, developed financial structure and closed at favorable rates). (In a field like Finance, bottom-line impact will often create the most compelling achievements.)
- Recruited, hired, mentored, and led a core team of six managers. (Here, we see both leadership and management, since managing staff means setting priorities, getting people to work as a team, coaching, having tough discussions… The list goes on.)
The benefit is the key component of each accomplishment: improved operations, more money, demonstrated leadership and reliability, … Accomplishments like these are the most critical pieces of your resume. Now read that last sentence again, because that’s the best resume advice you’ll get this month.
If you’re a fantastic employee but your resume is silent on many of your accomplishments, you’ll end up behind a good employee whose accomplishments are all clearly laid out.
And for that matter, an average employee with weak accomplishments better know how to network, since the resume alone won’t pull its weight. (Actually, networking skills are critical to everyone’s job hunt. But let’s stick with the topic, if you don’t mind.)
Accomplishments are where it’s at. When you solve a problem, reduce costs, make something better/simpler/faster, when you show initiative, it has to be on your resume, without being drowned out by too many roles and responsibilities (i.e. the “we’ve-all-done-it” resume template material). In my view, half of the energy and time spent on your resume should be focused on your accomplishments. To write good accomplishments, you need to think of what your potential employer is thinking about (problems solved, better results, and so on) and emphasize that. If you go through 20 resumes of your peers, you’ll certainly find great accomplishments that you could adapt on your resume. I truly believe that is time well spent.
Many More Accomplishments, Just for You
However, I’ve already done that research… The 5 ideas above are just a glimpse of the full list of accomplishments I’ve assembled. If you’d like that well-rounded, unique list of real-world finance professionals accomplishments, for just a few dollars, check out our e-book, Finance Resume Hacking, on Amazon. You can read it even if you don’t have a Kindle device.