More fintech firms are opening up in Singapore and Hong Kong – and many of them are hiring, albeit in small numbers. Asia surpassed the US to account for over half of the funding raised by venture-backed fintech firms globally in the second quarter of this year.
How should you rework your CV if you’re applying to an Asian start-up? We asked fintech founders in Singapore and Hong Kong for their top resume tips.
“Start-ups are low on resources and will need you to do a lot of things at once. If your company needs marketing emails sent out, it won’t matter that you’re only supposed to do business development,” says Anna Vanessa Haotanto, a former UOB banker who now runs The New Savvy, a Singapore fintech firm targeting female investors. “So provide them evidence that you’ve multi-tasked before – start-ups value well-roundedness.”
Fintech firms are small, so you must be able to collaborate with people throughout the business. “But in a large bank you often work in a silo and having a blinkered view about the large picture,” says Ovidiu Olea, a former HSBC associate director, now founder of Hong Kong FX start-up Valoot Technologies. “So show on your CV how you’ve at least tried to break through those silos – it shows a willingness to explore interesting projects and expand your network.”
Even if you’re not applying for a developer role, your CV must showcase your technology skills. “First and foremost, start-ups need all staff to have great tech expertise,” says Eddie Rong, CEO of Hong Kong money-conversion firm Heycoins. “So mention these, supported by job-related experiences.”
Working in a fintech firm which failed actually adds credibility to your resume. “l like to hire people who have start-up experience, no matter if they were successful or not,” says Rong.
Fintech founders don’t like to recruit candidates looking for an easy exit from the banking the sector. You must want to move to a start-up on its own merits. Explain yourself in your cover letter – don’t wait for the interview. “The cover letter is an opportunity to make a sincere introduction of your motivations and aspirations,” says Freddy Lim co-founder of Singapore robo-advisor StashAway and former global head of derivatives strategy at Nomura
Start-ups are constantly under financial pressure and are keen on candidates with track records of successfully delivering projects. “Writing that you ‘managed a team of 20 people’ doesn’t mean anything, but ‘delivered a large complex project on (or under) budget’ – with real numbers – tells a better story on your CV,” says Alex Medana, CEO of FinFabrik, a Hong Kong-based capital markets and wealth management fintech firm, and a former Deutsche Bank vice president.
“I’ve seen so many CVs that list GPA and test scores. That's really not necessary – how well you did in your degree is superfluous and sometimes just takes up space on the CV,” says Olea from Valoot.
Keep your fintech CV to two pages preferable one. “Fintech is a popular, growing sector and I receive a high number of CVs. Time is the most precious commodity in a start-up, so I always appreciate it when people keep it succinct,” says Olea.
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