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How to Write a CV

If you are reading this post, the chances are that you are one of our students who will soon be looking to land a job as a newly qualified advisor. As part of our core offering, we aim to provide as much value to you as possible, and part of this includes helping you get prepared to take the next steps in your career.

In this article, we are going to highlight the importance of having a strong resume, including what you need to include and what recruiters are looking for when they review it alongside a job application.

It does not matter whether you have applied for jobs recently or not; putting your best foot forward and presenting the most professional CV possible for each and every application is key. With the jobs market being more competitive than ever, making sure your CV quickly and clearly highlights your best assets is key.

What is a CV?

CV is short for Curriculum Vitae, which is Latin for ‘course of life’. It is sometimes also referred to as a resume, which is a French term that means ‘summary’. A CV is a working document that should change slightly with each application you make. It should represent you, your skills, experience, education, and other relevant information that supports your application for a job.

What Information Do You Need to Include in a CV?

We will cover the practicalities of writing a CV in more detail, but for now, here is a quick overview of what data you need to include, as a minimum. 

  • Your Contact Information
  • Personal Summary Statement
  • Work Experience
  • Education and Training
  • Skills
  • Qualifications or Professional Memberships
  • Achievements
  • Hobbies and/or Personal Interests

Tips for Writing a CV

When you write a CV, you want it to immediately speak to the hiring manager. It should clearly highlight why you are the perfect person for the post and how your previous experience, transferrable skills, and training align with the role you are applying for.

1: Relevance

If you list everything you have ever done, for each position you have held, then you are going to end up with a CV that is too long. Not only will this make it harder for the recruiter to see the relevant skills and experience you have. You also risk the chance that important information gets lost in detail.

Make sure you only list your relevant skills and experience. It is always a good idea to tailor your CV for each job you apply to. Be sure to only select the elements of your roles and responsibilities that align with the position you want to get.

If the recruiter cannot immediately see that you have the right background, it may result in your application being passed over, despite you having the right skills and experience for the job. 

2: Size Matters

It does not matter how experienced you are; if you present a CV that is too long, you make it harder for the hiring manager to quickly and easily move you forward in the process. Consider the position of a recruiter, and think about how many applications they may have to review for that role.

Keep it concise, and try to stick to just 1-2 pages. A high-level overview that summarises the work you did in a role is enough. As long as you follow our first point and keep the information on your CV relevant to the job you want, there is no need to list everything you may have done on a daily or weekly basis.

3: Make No Mistakes

While this point seems pretty obvious, you need to check, check, and check again. A CV with errors gives an extremely poor impression of you as a professional. Sloppy errors or oversights can give cause for concern. Particularly when you consider the nature of the roles you are going to be applying for.

Paying attention to detail in any form of finance or advisory role is critical. It does not matter how great your experience and skills match up to the job; if you make mistakes on your CV, the hiring manager could be inclined to favour another application over your own.

If spelling and grammar are not your strongest points, get a friend, peer, or even a professional proofreading service to help you finalise your CV.

4: Presentation

That age-old saying ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ is wholly relevant when it comes to writing a CV. A quick search online will reveal hundreds upon thousands of templates for CVs. If you have Microsoft Word, then there are also lots of free, nicely designed CV templates to use.

Aside from the template or design looking nice, you should try to ensure you keep other design factors consistent.

  • Your most recent job should be at the top, dating backwards to your previous posts.
  • Use the same font type throughout, at 10-12pts for the text, and a larger size for headings.
  • Keep any dates formatted consistently throughout the CV.
  • Stick to a limited colour palette – and keep it professional.
  • If the application asks for social media profile links, make sure the content they can see is professional. If you use LinkedIn, this is great to include. However, if you drop a link to your personal Facebook or Instagram pages, this could end up being counter-productive. Always be mindful of what you are sharing.

6: Always Write a Cover Letter

In the same way, to tailor a CV to match the application you make, you need to write a cover letter, even if it does not explicitly ask for one. Cover letters make it easy for recruiters to see exactly why you are right, and it is easy to stand out and move forward in the process quicker when you write one.

A one-page letter will be fine, and we have written about what to include in a cover letter in another post on our blog.

In Conclusion

Despite the condition of the job market, the types of roles you are applying for, and your relevant experience, you still need to make every effort to stand out. A CV is an evolving document that should change with every application you make. It will typically be the first thing a recruiter will look at, and it is how they form their initial impression of you as a potential candidate. Making the time to do things properly will help you progress your search for your next role as a qualified advisor.

If you are actively looking for roles, then please take a moment to check out our jobs board.

 

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