Chinese New Year has been and gone, you’ve banked your bonus (or are just about to), banks are cranking up their hiring in Asia, and recruiters are desperately seeking CVs.
But as the busiest recruitment season of the year opens in Asia, what do recruiters actually want to read on your resume?
Here are 10 words and phrases that recruiters are finding irresistible right now.
An obvious key word for banking CVs in mainland China and, increasingly, Hong Kong – Mandarin skills are set to become even more important this year. “Due to the lifting of the IPO suspension in China, Mandarin (spoken and written), plus investment banking experience, is in great demand right now, particularly at analyst and associate level,” says Hong Kong-based Fraser Douglas, a managing consultant at recruiters Links International.
Recruiters in China are scouring CVs to find this phrase. “Many non-banking companies have entered into this sector to set up their own online payment systems and online financing business in China, threatening traditional banks and financial institutions,” says Rachel Wu, head of practice, professional services, banking & insurance, at recruitment firm Talent2 in Shanghai.
Recruiters will check your CV for career achievements and this short word can draw attention to them. “Inserting words like ‘top’ does wonders and would most definitely separate your CV from the rest of the pile,” says Belle Marquez, principle consultant, alternative investments APAC, at recruiters Selby Jennings. Example: “top one of 10 analysts”.
This is a great CV verb (so is “led”) because it’s achievements-focused. “Such words in reference to teams and projects are strong in describing involvement and more importantly accountability,” says Ben Batten, country general manager at recruiters Volt in Singapore.
“Lots of people are parts of teams, but not as many can adequately demonstrate key responsibility for areas and readiness to take control or make improvements to ensure outcomes are achieved.”
A summary of your soft skills is always important, especially for client-facing roles, says Marquez. “Results oriented” works well for trading jobs, she adds, along with “assertive” and “well connected”. For research roles, try “analytical”, “articulate” and “sales orientated”. But don’t go overboard with the adjectives – two or three for each role will do.
It’s common knowledge that recruiters read resumes in a rush, so don’t make life tough for them by hiding your business unit in the text describing your job – stick it in the title. “And it’s essential that you provide your complete company name, especially if the firm runs a separate subsidiary,” says Marquez. For example, don’t write “UBS”; write “UBS Global Asset Management, Hong Kong”.
These two words are like catnip to recruiters. If your recent career history includes even a small stint in change management, make you spell it out on your CV. “As banks continue to revise their business models in response to market conditions, people who are experienced in change management across both the back and middle office are much sought after,” says Douglas from Links International.
A boon phrase for any regulatory resume. Douglas explains: “With increasing regulatory focus around client-collateral requirements, banks have had to increase headcount within collateral management to monitor exposures/limits and help resolve disputes.”
If you’re in a back-office job, try to add the word “vendor” to your CV to highlight any experience dealing with third-party clients like Euroclear and Clearstream. “While banks have outsourced processing capacity to such companies, they still require experienced product and operational specialists to manage/monitor the relationships with them,” says Douglas.
Recruiters won’t be immediately dazzled by which university you attended, but they may well look at how well you performed academically. “There are probably 100,000 graduates from a single university in the course of your finance career,” says Marquez from Selby Jennings. “The key differentiation will be how you did. Example: Darthmouth College Hanover, 2002. B.A. in Economics. GPA: 3.9/4.0 (Top 1%).”