How do you get your CV seen in a market where hardly any banks are hiring and every job is attracting innumerable applications?
The answer, according to banks' in-house recruiters is simple: look for the keywords pertaining to skills and experience in the job description and repeat those words in your CV.
Although heads of recruitment at leading banks insist the CVs submitted through their websites really are read by human beings, one mid-ranking recruiter who's worked both in-house and for RPOs (recruitment process outsourcers) says this isn't necessarily the case.
"Most banks have matching engines," he insists. "These are clever algorithms which will rank your CV against the job spec. The more you repeat the words in the job spec, the higher your match."
Matching engines are apparently necessary because banks' internal recruitment teams are thinly staffed. "Each person in the internal recruitment team deals with tens of jobs and each job has anything from 40 to 150 applicants," the recruiter explains.
Needless to say, tailoring a CV for a particular job may make it less likely that you'll be picked out in a database search for any other jobs you might be suitable for in future. This is particularly the case now that banks' own 'candidate pools' have become so large. According to this presentation by Alexander Mann Solutions, Credit Suisse's 'talent pool' comprised 350,000 people a year afer its launch in March 2010.
Fortunately, there's a way around this too. "You need to submit both general and specific CVs," suggests the recruiter we spoke to. "Most banks will put a limit on the number of CVs you can submit, but you can sometimes get around this by using different emails addresses," he advises.