Are you looking for a new job in product control and are you wondering how to craft your CV? While product control remains a must-have function, banks are offshoring some positions away from major financial hubs, so competition for roles in is intense.
Getting your product control resume right could make all the difference in this crowded job market. Here’s some expert advice.
Banks have precise, even inflexible hiring requirements in product control, so begin your CV with a summary that makes it clear you have the core skills and qualifications, says Paul Evans, head of South East Asia at Pure Search. “For example: ‘five years of product control experience covering equity and equity derivative products’ – plus some detail around qualifications.”
Don’t assume that the bank you are applying to knows how your current bank runs its product control team at your level. “In some job functions day-to-day tasks are quite similar between banks, but not necessarily in product control,” says Kyle Blockley, managing partner of recruitment firm KS International. “Some PC jobs just involve production work, whereas others require real interaction with traders. Some positions are end-to-end, others are high volume. In some you need to do market commentary, while in others you don’t.”
Once you’ve done the above, start drafting your achievements for each role. “Remember there are about 5,000 other product controllers in your city – your achievements help you stand out,” says Blockley. “Examples include improving a process, adding a control step, training other staff, function migration from another country, spreadsheet enhancements, new system implementation and issue resolution.”
Above all when it comes to achievements in product control, banks want to know whether you have project experience and can therefore adapt to new challenges. “Showing you’ve been involved in projects, particularly change or migration ones, is a differentiator as also it conveys that you have an in-depth understanding of product control, beyond straight-forward processes,” explains Yingling Low, a banking consultant at recruitment company Hudson in Singapore.
Litter you CV with examples of successfully working with teams throughout the bank. “Product control demands a commercial understanding of the whole business. The challenge of the job is to ensure a seamless control and trading platform, and that requires working with all areas of the firm: front office, middle office, accounting and regulatory,” says a Singapore-based recruiter.
It’s obvious enough, but a PC resume that leaves question marks as to your product understanding is not likely to get you a job interview. For each role on your CV you must state exactly which financial products you covered and outline your level of understanding of how these products are traded and accounted for, says Evans from Pure Search.
Given the importance of product knowledge some candidates tend to over-egg theirs. “Be honest on your CV as you will be technically questioned at an interview, which will leave doubt in the interviewer’s mind about your technical intelligence,” says the Singapore recruiter. “A lot of banks will be receptive to training you up in other product areas as long as you can demonstrate a strong theoretical knowledge.”
Perhaps you’re strong in VBA, macros, or programming? Say so on your product control CV even if such skills aren’t in the job description, says Low from Hudson. “As the employent market is so competitive in PC, these skills might make the difference between getting a role and losing out to another candidate who is otherwise equally qualified.”
As banks offshore more of their low-level product control jobs, those that remain in major financial centres require higher-calibre candidates with a range of softer skills. Includes these on your CV. “In product control today you tend to liaise with a lot of different people, so stakeholder management has now become a more valued soft skill. Others in demand include strong analytical thinking and excellent communication skills,” says Low.
When writing about how well you work with others, give one group of colleagues more space on your resume: traders. “A key component of a successful product controller is the ability to work effectively in the pressure-cooker environment of a trading floor, working with the often-demanding front office,” says Evans. “CVs must demonstrate experience of conflict resolution and working in difficult environments.”
If you are trying to move from the Big Four into a product control job at a bank, be as detailed as possible about any banking-sector client assignments you have undertaken, says Evans. “And provide a breakdown on areas where you personally added value to the banks you worked with.”
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