When you sit at home, crafting your job application in the expectation that recruiters will read it and marvel at your appropriateness for all sorts of jobs, remember this: recruiters suffer from CV fatigue. They will read your application, but only for a few seconds. Your resume will be one among tens, or hundreds applying for the same role.
This being the case, it needs to be good. A good application isn’t just about having the right experience and the right qualifications. It’s about being interesting. For your job application to be interesting, it will need to tell a story. And that story will need to make good sense.
“The problem with entry-level banking applications now is that recruiters need to understand candidates’ motivation for working in banking,” says Natalie Nahum, a former investment banker and careers coach focused on the finance sector.
“The recruiter needs to see that the student understands exactly what the different areas of banking are, and the students’ reason for wanting to work there,” Nahum adds.
If you’re a student, the best place for expressing your story is the cover letter, says Nahum.
Senior bankers fail at story-telling too.
“I’ve seen senior people with fantastic experience, but from looking at their CVs I’ve been unable to understand what they’ve done,” says Nicholas Mark Byron at CV writing specialist City CV.
“In each of your jobs, you need to be able to tell a story in terms of what you were hired to do and what you achieved.
“People tend to simply put a job description or a list of their responsibilities,” Byron adds. “But that tells me nothing – anyone could have done that job. I want to know what you did in particular.”
For senior bankers, the CV’s overarching narrative is hugely important, says Byron: “Think of it as a collection of short stories which bring out your core value – what it is exactly that you in particular can deliver.”