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How to write the perfect risk resume

Risk resume CV

The job market in risk management is heating up as more people – from auditors to traders – try to break into an increasingly important part of the banking sector.

Along with getting your risk cover letter up to scratch, your risk CV is your chance to secure an early edge over the competition.

Here are some expert tips for creating the perfect risk management resume.

Show your exposure in your risk CV

“Risk roles now encompass a broader array of activities than ever before,” says Rob Starkl, manager of UK risk recruitment at Robert Walters. “This could include BAU risk activity, regulatory interaction, process change or contributing to key bank-wide projects. So ensure your exposure to the job’s main responsibilities is fully represented in your CV, with relevant tangible examples.”

Don’t focus too much on your academics

“It’s a common problem that risk candidates focus too much of their CVs on their academics rather than further detailing their practical work experience,” says Tim Barnett, director of Michael Page Banking and Financial Services in the UK. “While research topics, dissertations and published articles are key things for employers to know, don’t be shy to develop your work experience.”

Relate your regulatory achievements

Careers in risk are increasingly driven by current and upcoming financial regulations, so demonstrate your regulatory achievements throughout your resume. “As there are more regulatory pressures across the risk market, you should articulate any new developments and projects you’ve been involved in, such as IFRS9 or FRTB,” says Pratik Peshavaria, UK manager of risk at recruiters Hays Financial Markets. “This will make your CV more attractive to banks seeking to develop their current risk frameworks to ensure they’re meeting market standards.”

And your relations with regulators

Do you have any direct contact with regulatory authorities? If so, spell them out and explain how you successfully fostered them to the benefit of your bank. “Experience with regulators is a big plus and is looked upon favourably, especially in the current environment,” says Barbara Cochrane, a director at Profile Search & Selection.

Reveal your internal connections in your risk resume

The risk function is now integral to the running of the entire bank, so risk jobs demand the ability to deal with colleagues across almost all departments. The reader of your risk management resume will want to see that you’re a good communicator and that you understand the needs of other divisions. Cochrane recommends listing the internal stakeholders you were in contact with at each job in order to show that you can build strong internal relationships.

Especially if they’re senior

Banks are keen to see senior management interaction on your CV – especially if the risk job on offer requires working with the front office. Include the precise rank (director, MD or department head, for example) of the senior stakeholders you’ve dealt with. “Also note your reporting line to show your own seniority – did you report to operations or to the chief risk officer? It shows where you stand in the bank,” says Cochrane.

Be specific about your software skills

“Clearly state your proficiency with the various risk-based software systems and models used within the banking industry,” says Peshavaria from Hays in London. “This is because banks are now increasingly seeking candidates with specific system skills, to help them drive their risk models and meet new regulatory requirements.”

Don’t bury your qualifications 

“Studying the FRM, CFA or a certification in operational risk, for example, will give you a competitive edge as the risk job market is competitive,” says Peshavaria. “But add your qualifications and certificates with your university degrees, not buried in your CV. If you put them somewhere else they may get lost,” says Cochrane.

Don’t forget your responsibilities in your risk CV

As in all jobs, your risk CV should be focused on what you’ve achieved in each role. However, given the varied and changing nature of risk management jobs, you still need to briefly describe your main responsibilities. Peshavaria explains: “The risk market has many layers that affect how banks operate, so being specific about your roles makes it easier for hiring managers to understand your day-to-day responsibilities – for example whether you were first, second or third line of defence.”

The rules above cover all risk management jobs, but the following tips only apply to specific areas of expertise.

Credit risk: get detailed about your coverage

“Be specific about which countries and industries you have had exposure to, or set out the weighting of your portfolio if you cover more than one area,” advises Chris Jackson, a director at Pure Search & Selection.

Credit risk: include any Big Four experience

“Keep it brief, but do go into any Big Four audit experience you might have,” says Cochrane. “Credit risk candidates may not think that audit is relevant, but audit is essentially risk and it shows that you have done risk training and have a risk mindset.”

Market risk: define your focus

“An important distinction to make on your market risk CV is the weighting between reporting-centric tasks and those which are about oversight, involving regular dialogue with traders around market-risk exposures and trading strategies,” says Jackson. “Both areas are in demand, but its best to define if your role has a greater focus on reporting or oversight.”

Market risk: show your product knowledge

“Product familiarity and your level of interaction with the business are two important pieces of information to include on your market risk resume,” says Jackson. “Bank are increasingly drilling down into the depths of a candidate’s product knowledge, in addition to which market-risk metrics they’ve been dealing with,” adds Starkl from Robert Walters.

Operational risk: be a policy changer

Banks are increasingly looking for operational risk candidates who have implemented wide-reaching policy changes to a business. “But if you say on your CV that you ‘implemented’ or ‘drove’ a particular risk framework or policy, remember that you’ll need to substantiate it later at the job interview,” says Jackson.

Operational risk: be precise about your stakeholders

“Operational risk is now a more focused discipline than it ever has been,” says Starkl. “So on your CV make sure you include which specific areas of the bank you work with, assess or challenge – for example, operations, the front office, finance, or HR.”

Operational risk: be an all-rounder

“Candidates who have transitioned from another role within their bank tend to focus more on the day-to-day technical aspects of their job, whereas people from a Big Four background, for example, may speak more strategically about their work,” says Barnett from Michael Page. “A well-executed operational risk CV should combine both of these aspects.”



Image credit: Vernon Wiley, Getty

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