As offshoring, redundancies and technology threaten the stability of many jobs in Asian banking, recruiters say candidates are increasingly applying to roles in other finance functions. Professionals from risk, compliance, finance and technology are increasingly shifting into internal audit, for example.
Other (comparatively) popular career changes include moving from banking operations into buy-side operations, and from commodities sales into commodities companies. But if you’re thinking of making a major job move in Singapore or Hong Kong this year, you need to totally revise your resume. Here’s how:
Research before you write
If you’re a career-change candidate, the need to research the new role beyond what you see on the job description is all the more important. Talk to your recruiter or any contacts you have at the new bank before you even start working on your resume. “You have to fully understand what the role entails and skill sets it requires – only then can you write a CV that shows how you’ll be effective in the new job,” says Kyle Blockley, managing partner of recruiters KS International.
Only cite relevant skills
Candidates changing careers in Singapore and Kong Hong tend to clutter their CVs with too many skills and achievements in the hope that at least some of them will catch the recruiter’s eye. Take the opposite approach – remove superfluous skills and expand on those that are “genuinely transferable” to the new role, says a Singapore-based recruiter. “Otherwise it might look like you haven’t put enough thought into the application process.”
Be creative with your key words
If your resume is loaded into a recruiter’s CV database, make sure to update it to include the key words used to describe your desired next role, advises Justin Shuen, an associate director at recruiters Hudson. “Find creative ways to increase the number of key words relevant to new job and put these towards the top of your CV, because database search engines use algorithms to measure relevance. For example, if you want to become a project manager, add ‘ideal next position: project manager’. Or add ‘acting project manager’ if you’ve ever done that.”
Spruce up your summary section
The summary section at the top of your CV is less constrained by the formatting and date requirements that restrict the rest of the document. So rewrite your summary and focus it only on the skills and experience that are relevant to you making a career change.
Shout about your projects
Banks in Asia will only consider career-change candidates whose CVs are full of examples which demonstrate their flexibility to take on new tasks. “Significant achievements that show how you handled a major project or change are useful in demonstrating adaptability. Just writing that you’re ‘adaptable’ is not enough,” says Ben Batten, country general manager of recruitment firm Volt in Singapore.
Expand upon your qualifications
“You can use a new qualification as proof of your motivation to move successfully into a new career. But any qualification needs to be explained and given context in your CV,” says Emmanuel White, co-founder of Singapore search firm WeLinkTalent. “Make it obvious how the qualification relates to new role. If some units within the course are particularly relevant, include details about them,” adds Batten.
Don’t cite your salary
It’s not advisable to mention your current or desired salary – if you pay expectations are too high, the new bank could be put off from the outset. “Be ready to make some concessions – for example on salary, benefits and seniority – as the bank is already likely to favour other candidates with greater expertise in the field,” says White.
Don’t go on too long
Overly lengthy CVs are a common problem in Asia, where excessive job hopping can make even junior resumes run over the recommended two pages. For career-change candidates, the need to restrict your CV is especially important – hiring managers and recruiters have even less tolerance of resume waffle when you aren’t a perfect fit for the position, says Blockley from KS International.
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