If you’re applying for banking jobs which you’re qualified for and you’re getting nowhere, you can blame your CV. Your CV is supposed to be your shop front and your door-opener, but if it’s deterring “customers” and keeping you on the outside then something’s wrong. It’s possible that your CV is filled with things that are working against you. If so, you should delete them – fast.
If your CV contains any of the following, it needs a purge:
1. Anything negative
You don’t need to give the reasons you were made redundant or why you left your last job. If you are still bitter about it, this can come across in the tone of your CV. Bitterness and negativity is not a good look when you’re applying for a new role in financial services.
2. Anything irrelevant
The fact that you were a lifeguard during the summer term 20 years ago is not something a banking recruiter will care about now, so leave it out. However, if you’re chair of a local investment committee (very relevant in buy side), have raised thousands for charity, or are seasoned champion-level swimmer (shows competitive streak and drive), then leave this in – these kinds of things demonstrates personality, commitment and drive.
3. Politics and religion
We live in politically fraught times. Just like a good dinner party, sharing your political or religious views on your CV is a big no-no. Don’t leave the door open for discrimination.
There’s no need for these. If a prospective employer wants to approach one of your former bosses for a reference, let them ask for it. Even writing ‘references on request’ at the bottom of your CV is a waste of valuable space.
5. Unnecessary words
‘Successfully’ and other words ending in ‘ly’ should be avoided in any financial services CV. If you increased income, slashed costs, or improved processes, of course you did it ‘successfully.’ There is no need to state the obvious. If you’re struggling for space, a good rule of thumb is to read back through your CV, find all the words ending in ‘ly’ and remove at least 50% of them.
6. Jargon and acronyms that are specific to your current company
No-one will understand company specific jargon, and no-one will care. The human brain skips over things that it can’t read or doesn’t understand, so using words are that unintelligible will just help your CV on its way to the rejection pile.
7. Salary information
Unless it is specifically asked for, there’s no need to mention how much you’re paid on your CV. If you’re paid too much or too little, you could be immediately ear-marked as too expensive or not worthy. Leave salary discussions for the interview.
Victoria McLean is the founder and CEO of City CV, a London-based CV writing service. She was previously a recruiter at Goldman Sachs and the equities division of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.