Pole dancing to bench pressing: strange things Asian bankers stick on their CVs

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Asian banker CVs

The job market in Asian banking isn’t as healthy as it was last year. So if you’re about to write or revise your resume, you’ll want it to stand out from the competition. Some candidates in Hong Kong and Singapore are, however, trying a bit too hard to draw attention to their CVs.

We’ve asked recruiters in Asia to tell us the most irrelevant, inappropriate things they’ve seen in finance CVs of late. Avoid the following (or anything similar).

The pole dancer

“I’ve seen resumes listing pole dancing in the hobbies section,” says Hannah Tran, an associate director at LMA Recruitment in Singapore. “If your ‘creative’ hobby is nowhere near relevant to the job, reconsider its place on your CV. Would the hiring manager find the information valuable, or just think ‘so what?’. Or worse, would they even think your hobby seems really odd.”

The beauty pageant participant

One senior recruiter in Singapore says she has seen “beauty pageant participation” mentioned on a CV. “This kind of thing generally isn’t viewed in a positive light. It suggests the candidate isn’t suitable for professional roles within financial services.”

The energy saver

Hiring managers generally love it if your interests have an environmental leaning, especially if you’ve been active in your bank’s CSR projects – just make sure your green credentials are actually interesting. “A strange ‘qualification’ I saw on a CV was ‘turned my lights off for one hour during earth hour’,” says James Stokes, an executive at search firm Anton Murray Consulting.

The weight lifter

It’s fine to list sporting achievements on your CV, especially those that show you’re a ‘team player’. But take care not to sound like you’re just showing off. “One guy put ‘can bench press 140kg, two reps’ under his achievements,” say Stokes. “He was applying for a fund accounting job.”

The bikini wearer

We’ve already reported on candidates in Asia putting badly taken photos of themselves on their resumes – but at least most of them were fully clothed. “One CV I saw even included a picture of the candidate in a bikini,” says Tran. “Unfortunately, I did have to bin that profile.”

The fluent ‘taxi’ speaker

“A candidate wanted to indicate his ability to survive anywhere in the world, so he wrote: ‘I can speak English and Danish fluently, and if required I can also explain directions to a taxi driver in China, and I don’t even speak Chinese’,” says Farida Charania, Asia Pacific CEO of search firm Nastrac Group.

The mummy’s boy

“Candidates from India for jobs in Hong Kong sometimes include their mother and father’s names on their CV,” says Vince Natteri, director of recruitment at search firm Pinpoint Asia in Hong Kong.  “Being Indian myself, I know this is because it’s common practice in some Indian universities – but it’s completely unnecessary in banking.”

The prisoner

“One guy sent me a CV which included a photo of him that looked just like a mugshot from prison,” says Natteri. “If I hadn’t removed the photo the bank would have trashed his resume. In China it's common to include photos on CV, but it’s not in Hong Kong.”

Image credit: davidf, Getty

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