This article is all about how to write a good Resume or CV – some of the tips and tricks, some of the do’s and don’ts and some of my pet hates.
We hope by implementing some of these guidelines into your own CVs it will give you the best chance of success when you are looking for your next role and you want to earn your interview. Because that’s exactly what it is……
A well-written CV or Resume is the key to making a good first impression and earning that interview
It’s about grabbing the hiring managers attention from what is generally a one, two, maybe three-page document.
Remember each time you send out your CV you should be tailoring it to your audience. Think about what that person is looking for and what their pain points might be.
It’s about “Reaching Through the Glass”
You want to reach through the glass and grab their attention and get them saying “oh I want to read this, or this person is someone we should be talking to”.
Top tips for creating a great CV/Resume:
1. Avoid having ‘Resume’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae’ as the title of your document
This is outdated and unnecessary and simply a waste of valuable space! . Most CVs are sent digitally, so the file name of the document should be enough to signal to the recruiter what it is.
Plus, if you have formatted your CV correctly, a prospective employer will know that it is a CV with one glance, so you don’t need to have it as the title.
Treat your name as the title of the document. After all, your CV is all about you!
Underneath your name provide all your contact information that a prospective employer or recruiter will need to get in contact with you. Include a mailing address or at the very least your current city and country of residence, an email address and either a home or mobile number or both.
If you like, you can include a link to your LinkedIn profile too – but make sure it’s up to date first!
2. Use a professional email address
That’s an easy one. Don’t have Ilike15beers@hotmail.com!
Make sure it’s nice, plain and professional and not one that is associated with your current employer. Ideally, it should contain your first and last name if possible.
3. There is no need to include your photo, date of birth or marital status
Your age, looks or marital status all have no effect on your ability to do the job you are applying for, so it has NO place on your CV.
Employers should measure your ability on years of experience, not what you look like or how old you are. Instead use that space for details that they ARE looking for.
People can generally work out your age anyway from when you went to school or university.
We often ask candidates to take off their date of birth and personal contact information anyway for GDPR purposes.
4. Have a professional summary paragraph NOT a personal statement
My pet hate – Personal Statements!
I’ve had this discussion so many times and in my experience of over 20 plus years of treasury recruitment, 50% of people at least HATE personal statements. 50% don’t mind them/put up with them or even skip past them most of the time.
Instead of having a personal statement try to use the space at the top of your CV to act as your “hook” to draw the attention of the hiring manager and highlight your most important achievements, key skills and desirable personality traits.
This should be a short, three sentence elevator pitch to entice the recipient to keep reading.
Cherry-pick the information that is directly relevant to the role you are applying for and try to look at it from the hiring managers perspective; what are the major areas in this role and in this business where you can deliver improvement? What are their pain points and how can you be their painkiller?
For instance, if they have a particular current problem with cash management or they are about to enter into new markets, then instead of having a personal statement about how you are a flexible and motivated individual etc – why don’t you focus on how you have successfully handled these situations in the past?
Get rid of the personal statement and the generalized words that are in there. Instead, focus on their pain points and how you can BE THEIR PARACETAMOL!
5. List your key skills
It is always beneficial to list your key skills on your CV to give an employer an overview of the scope of your abilities.
These can be included in your professional summary and ideally these should be tailored to the role you are applying for, i.e TMS implementation experience, management experience, understanding of risk management processes and risk assessments.
Aim to keep this to the range of between 5 – 10 max and use bullet points so that it’s easy for the recruiter to scan over when matching skills to the job description. The skills should be a good mix of both hard and soft skills ideally.
6. List your employment history in reverse chronological order
Aim to list your information in reverse chronological order by placing your most recent roles and qualifications at the beginning of the respective sections.
A chronological resume is the most used out there, it’s the employer’s favourite as it’s easy to read and it’s hard to hide anything in it.
Within this section you should always include for each role the job title, the dates of employment, name of the company you worked for and perhaps a line that summarises the role.
Then you can use bullet points to list your key responsibilities, skills and achievements.
7. Avoid any employment history gaps on your CV
CV gaps are understandable, but they can be a red flag to potential employers. So if there is a gap explain the reason for it, i.e to go travelling, sabbatical, maternity leave, to complete a course etc
Also think about the amount of information you include for each role. For instance, why have more information about a role you did 15 years ago, then one you have had most recently?
8. List 3 to 4 achievements under each role.
Try to list 3 to 4 achievements under each role. You don’t need any more than that!
Explain what you did and how you did it.
- Where did you add impact or value?
- How much money did you save the company in which you worked for?
- What difference did you make to the company?
Remember that achievements are things you did that added value, made a tangible or noticeable difference and contributed to the business of the organisation.
Use numbers to underline your effectiveness. For example, mentioning your successes in increasing your company’s profitability by 30% will show a prospective employer what a great candidate you would make and how much of a positive impact you can make.
9. Try to only list the last 10-15 years’ experience
A CV should go back no more than between 10-15 years or your last 5-6 employment positions in reverse chronological order if within this time.
Make it concise and relevant. As you move further down chronologically, reduce the information.
10. The use of bullet points
If you’re going to do bullet points, don’t make them paragraphs. Likewise, if you are going to do paragraphs, don’t make them bullet points.
Think of an old Wild West six bullet points MAXIMUM!
I tend to think that anything more than four or five bullet points is probably all you want.
Generally, employers prefer a CV that isn’t wall to wall text. Use bullet points and short phrases to describe your skills and work history. Remember a recruiter will often only take a few seconds to process a CV, so the longer a document, the more chance there is of important information getting skimmed over.
11. Avoid generic phrases
Avoid using generic phrases such as “responsible for” or “ensured that” and instead aim to begin each bullet point with a strong action word or verb such as engaged, directed, spearheaded, championed and led.
Try to back up your points with figures to support each claim and showcase your expertise.
12. Include education and qualifications
List any relevant qualifications in reverse chronological order (most recent first) to enable the employer to see what you have been up to recently.
Keep them short and sweet. If you are a Senior Treasury professional, then we don’t need to know your qualifications from high school or secondary school.
If you have an accountancy qualification or a professional treasury qualifications such as a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) then this is the place to feature them.
Include the name of the educational institution (University, College etc), the dates you were there and the qualifications and grades you were awarded.
13. Include software/systems knowledge
If the role you are applying for calls for specific software or TMS knowledge, then make sure this is included on your CV. Demonstrate your level of proficiency with these in either your professional summary or in a ‘Software Skills’ section at the end of your CV depending on the importance of these skills for the role in which you are applying for.
14. Remove references
How useful is the line ‘References available upon request’ at the end of your CV? Not very!
You will be asked for it if you’re offered a job anyway.
Don’t just fill up the page with information that isn’t actually going to help you get the role, use that space for more important points to show hiring managers and recruiters what a great candidate you are!
15. A shorter resume is preferred, but don’t cram it in
Although a shorter resume tends to be preferred, don’t cram it in just to fit onto 1 or 2 pages.
You want to make sure that it still makes sense to the reader and is as easy as possible for them to skim through. Focus on the skills and accomplishments that speak directly to the role you are applying for and limit your work history to the last 10-15 years.
16. Always proofread your CV and don’t make mistakes
It’s important to proofread your CV several times. Try reading it out load or ask someone else to check it too for any spelling mistakes or grammar issues.
If you haven’t taken the time to check your CV thoroughly then why should a prospective employer take the time to interview you?!
An unprofessional CV, regardless of how experienced or qualified the individual is will not make a good first impression.
Use F7 in Word if you want to check any spelling mistakes.
There are a number of times when I’ve seen people put that they are very good Mangers. That’s right, MANGER is a word, MANAGER is a different word!
If you have a CV/Resume in PDF always convert it back to Word to do a thorough spell-check before converting it back into PDF again.
As a Treasury professional, accuracy needs to be 100%. Imagine if you pressed the wrong button that consequently made a massive material difference to your balance sheet.
A good first impression is KEY!
A good resume is about presentation. It’s about the person looking at it and them knowing how you’re going to present yourself and how you’re going to work with them.
If the presentation is good then that’s the first “Oh actually that person will be good when they do this, when they’re writing reports, when they’re presenting to our investors etc”.
A well-structured and laid out CV will give a prospective employer confidence in you and it’s the successful first start to earn you that right to be interviewed.
Key areas to consider:
Font size and style:
- Think about the font size and style that you use. How legible is it and is the font consistent throughout?
Some good fonts to use include; Arial, Calibri or Gill Sans MT. The body of your CV should be between 10 and 12pt in size and then your headings can be slightly larger around 14pt.
- Aligning your CV centrally or to the right is often difficult for the human eye to read quickly as we naturally scan text from left to right. So align your CV to the left.
White space and margins:
- The correct use of margins and white space will help the reader to find the most important sections of your CV quickly. Keep your margins to around 2.5cm as if you reduce them too much your CV might appear crowded and hard to read.
Don’t just cram as much as you can into one or two pages. Make sure you leave enough space (at least one line-height) between sections. After all, the more white space used, the easier it generally is to skim the CV.
Using bold text, italics and underlining:
- Try to make this consistent throughout your CV. The best CVs are the ones that have clearly titled sections. For example, the ‘Education’ or ‘Experience’ section is bold and in a larger font than the body of the CV.
Do you speak another language? Great add it onto your CV, especially if language skills are relevant to the job you are hoping to undertake
19. Tell the truth!
It’s all too easy to exaggerate on your CV but DON’T!
As a Treasury professional you will be expected to be accurate and truthful, so make sure your CV is too.
Be honest and straightforward about your abilities and qualifications. If you fall short on some of the requirements of the role you are applying for then emphasize the skills and personality traits that show you are ready and willing to learn new skills and contribute in other ways.
For further advice, feel free to check out some of our other articles on our website or for some helpful videos visit: www.TreasuryTV.com