Finance professionals can find career opportunities in any business sector. Whether you’re looking to be a CFO or controller, financial or planner, portfolio manager 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 must 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 the skills and experience you should emphasize on your resume.
Summarize Your Key Qualifications
When constructing your resume, it is crucial to summarize your strengths and key qualifications in the top half of the first page. This can be accomplished with the 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 15 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 list of keywords 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. 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. For example:
- Instrumental in revenue and income growth of 76 percent 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.
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