At one time or another, every job-seeker seems to ask the same question: What makes a perfect resume? Over the years, I’ve learned that the answer is two-pronged: A perfect resume is customized to a specific position within an organization, and it should contain keywords found in the job description as well as key industry terms. While there are certainly more factors to consider when crafting a resume, deviating from this recipe will likely result in your application being screened out early in the process—even if you are the best candidate.
With that in mind, let’s look at one of the most competitive and, more often than not, lucrative industries out there: finance. The first step to getting your resume noticed is to understand the exact position and organization you’re applying to. Are you looking to be a bookkeeper? A valuations manager? Analyst? Or maybe even a CFO? There will never be a one-size-fits-all resume for any field, but when it comes to keywords, here are 10 that should be included in any finance resume.
1. Profit. If I were only allowed one keyword on a finance resume, it would be profit. While there are many different facets within the finance world, at the end of the day if you’re able to showcase how you have positively affected the profit within your current organization, or how you will help to grow profit for the prospective organization, your resume will not go unnoticed.
2. P&L Management. It was difficult to not place P&L at the top of my list. While it may not always be a direct function of a position, the skills involved can be applied and scaled across on organization.
3. Budgeting. I know—too remedial, you’ll say, but I would assume that more often than not, the “robots” that are scanning resumes will look for this as a basic tenet of your qualifications.
4. Accounting. This was certainly one of your core courses and likely still plays a part in your day-to-day work.
5. Auditing. Whether it be the work of others or your own, all those within the industry should be able to demonstrate either actual accomplishments or an understanding of the audit process.
6. Planning. Rather than simply stating you were a tax planner or financial planner, identify how your successful planning created value for the customer/client or organization.
7. Strategy/Strategizing. I have heard, “like a game of chess” for nearly every type of occupation out there. Whether it be a construction project manager, a retail manager or a CPA, the fact is that to be good at almost anything you need to be able to critically analyze the situation at hand and make a decision that will likely result in the most favorable outcome.
8. Compliance. In today’s lawsuit-happy world, compliance is more important than ever. Shareholders, customers, clients and even various governments are ready to pounce when compliance is broken. Aside from being ethical, companies desire an awareness of laws, rules and regulations.
9. Financial Policy. A sound understanding of these basic principles is always desired.
10. Teamwork. Sure, there are many solitary positions within the industry, but most companies are operating leaner than ever. Additionally, the trend also involves an increasing awareness around the importance of culture and engagement. While you may be able to complete your work without any assistance, demonstrating how you fit as a piece of their organizational puzzle will go a long way.
To quickly recap, these are what I consider to be the 10 most-desired keywords for roles in the finance industry. With that in mind, remember that you should always tailor your resume. If you know without a shadow of a doubt that XYZ Corporation has a disdain for financial planners with a compliance background, by all means omit the keyword compliance.
On a side note, if you’re knowledgeable to this degree, you’ve really done your homework and used your network well! As always, if your perfect resume isn’t getting results, don’t forget that resume writing services are offered by companies like ResumeEdge to help you refine your application and land that interview.
With more than 10 years of experience in the recruitment field, Michelle Kruse knows what works and what doesn't when it comes to resumes. As the Editor and Content Manager at ResumeEdge, she helps job seekers position themselves for success. She regularly shares advice on resume writing and interviewing not only because it's her job, but because it's her passion.
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