Do You Know the Art of the Proper Resume?

“The most predictable thing about the stock market is the number of experts who take credit for predicting it.Dave Weinbaum

Despite what fluffy HR types tell you, make sure your resume, or CV, is only one page long.

Nobody cares which grammar school you went to or that you got second place in the greased pig chase at the county fair. I have interviewed more than a thousand different people over the years and if I get a CV more than a page long I count that as one strike against the candidate. The resume should be clear and succinct. I will ask you for more details if I am interested during the interview itself.

Resume Secret

Here’s a resume secret that the experts won’t tell you: when most people you will interview with sit down with you in the room, they will be looking at your resume for the first time. They won’t have spent all morning studying it beforehand so you must make it quick and easy to read. Yes, I know your mother thinks you are a really interesting person and have a lot to offer so you need more pages, you need more time… you are starting to piss me off.

If I see a resume that is 2-3 pages long for a candidate that is fresh out of school, I ask myself, what is this person thinking? Henry Kissinger can have a three page resume. You? One, will do.

Good Bones

At the top of the resume should be your full name in BOLD type with your mailing address and private contact number and email address.

It is useful to also put your age and marital status up top as well. I know, in the US it may not be “PC” to do this but everyone you meet during the interview will want to know this information so it doesn’t help your case to try and hide it.

I Didn’t Order Waffles

On the resume please don’t put something waffly like, “Desirous of finding position in financial industry where I can use my passion and zeal to make the biggest contribution to the team.Barf. If I want waffles I’ll go to iHop. We know you are looking for a position in finance. That is why we are talking.

Right after your basic stats should be your career history/work experience – starting with the current situation and working backwards until university.

You should put your university, year graduated and degree obtained near the bottom. Finally, if you leave yourself 2-3 lines, put in “Interests,” or “Hobbies.” This is so we get a gauge of who you are as a person and what you like to do outside of work. Who knows? Maybe you are a keen falconer just like the CEO and he hears about you and says, “Hire that person!

The Secret about the HR Dept

Finally, don’t start with the Human Resources Department. HR have no idea how to run the business and the type of people the front office needs. You want a “front office” job. The front office is also known as “the client facing side.” We speak to the clients. HR does not. We never ever listen to HR recommendations on hiring for the front office. Ever. Any candidate that impresses an HR person will not likely impress a front line manager.

Shrunken Heads

Headhunters, or “Executive Search Firms” as they like to be called, are an option. But they are expensive – for you and the firm. Headhunters charge between 20-30% of the candidate’s first year wage bill for an introduction that leads to a job. Don’t think the bank just pays for it – it will come out of the compensation package the bank finally offers you. It is better if you can avoid the headhunter altogether but sometimes that may not be possible.

The Reality

The optimal way to find a job in finance is to start with somebody you know that works at the firm you want to work for. Get an introduction. We always prioritize a candidate if he is “known” by someone already working here. It is just human nature. Show this person your resume and ask their opinion.

Try and cut it down to the bone. You will get – or lose – the job opportunity during the interview alone. Remember, the resume is just a piece of paper we can stare at while we think of questions to ask you. For more on the art of interviewing read this post.

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