Resume Tips for Finance Professionals
by Kim Isaacs
Career opportunities for finance professionals are abundant and can be found in any business sector. Whether you are looking for a CFO or controller position, financial analyst or planner, portfolio management or investment counselor, the requisites for the resume are the same.
When developing your finance resume, focus on skills, areas of expertise, certifications, and specific accomplishments. The resume must convey what you can do for the companies you are targeting. This can be accomplished by illustrating how you contributed to previous employers’ or clients’ fiscal health.
Identify Your Goal
Before you develop your resume, you need to have a clear job target. Do some preliminary research -- review job postings, see what types of positions are available and which companies are hiring, and get a good feel for the desired qualifications. This research will help you determine which skills and experience you should emphasize on your resume.
Summarize Your Key Qualifications
When constructing the resume, it is crucial that your strengths and key qualifications are summarized within the top half of the first page of the resume. This can be accomplished with Professional Profile and Areas of Expertise sections. Here is an example of an opening paragraph for an individual seeking a CFO position:
Chief financial officer with fifteen years of corporate accounting and management experience. Hands-on manager with expertise in accounting systems development, fiscal management, and financial reporting. Proven record of developing and implementing financial and operational controls that improve P&L scenario and competitively position firm.
In reading this brief paragraph, a prospective employer or recruiter will immediately grasp the scope of this candidate’s professional experience. Follow your profile section with an Areas of Expertise, a listing of keywords that are pertinent to your career choice. In the case of the above candidate, the section might include the following terms:
- Financial and Strategic Planning
- P&L Management
- Auditing and Compliance
- Operating and Working Capital
- Budget Development and Management
- Merger and Acquisition Negotiations
- Cash Flow Management and Modeling
- Business Valuations
The Areas of Expertise should highlight your specific skills and knowledge base. You should also include your industry certifications and licenses, such as CPA, CFA, and Series 7, 63, and/or 64.
Emphasize Your Accomplishments
The rest of the resume delves into your professional background. Under each employer, present a brief paragraph describing your basic job responsibilities, followed by a bulleted list of accomplishments. Show quantifiable results of your work. Example:
- Instrumental in revenue and income growth of 76% over a 15-month period, through both organic growth and acquisitions.
- Increased cash flow by $15 million by consolidating credit analysis function, reducing outstanding receivables from 48 to 15 days, and minimizing risk from marginal customers.