The finance industry is quickly becoming the sector of choice for Gen Z. A 2023 survey by the CFA Institute revealed that graduates view it as the most stable career, offering higher salaries and demand for new talent. 

As this competitive market becomes saturated with interest, it’s crucial to have a show-stopping CV. A well-crafted banking CV goes beyond listing your skills and experience. It conveys your unique value and allows employers to picture you in their company.

Whether you’re a seasoned banker looking for a promotion or a graduate trying to break into the industry, following the dos and don’ts laid out in this guide will help you create a standout banking CV that gets you hired.

The ‘dos’ of a banking CV

1. Tailor your CV to the job description

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to CVs. Every employer is looking for a nuanced set of skills. Tailoring your CV to each job posting ensures that you’re always demonstrating suitability for different roles. It also allows you to weave in specific banking keywords. This gives your CV a better chance of getting through the applicant tracking system (ATS), which uses keywords from the job description to determine how relevant your application is. 

2. Use a professional format

Employers only spend 6-7 seconds looking at a CV. To keep their attention as long as possible, you need a simple, easy-to-read format. Use clear headings, short and impactful sentences, and organise your sections logically. A well-structured CV makes a strong first impression and demonstrates attention to detail, a crucial quality in the banking industry.

3. Sell yourself in your professional summary

Your professional summary is the first thing recruiters read, so it needs to be compelling. A strong summary succinctly captures your banking experience, skills and career goals while communicating your unique value. Use concise language that packs a punch and focus on what separates you from other candidates.

4. Emphasise relevant skills

Banking requires a specific set of soft and hard skills, from organisational prowess and financial analysis to portfolio management and a knowledge of accounting and economics. Tailor your skills section to showcase the unique qualities that will make you succeed in a given role.

5. Demonstrate commercial awareness

Commercial awareness is one of the top skills employers look for in a banking CV. The finance industry is constantly evolving, so employers value candidates who stay abreast of industry trends. You can demonstrate commercial awareness by showing a commitment to continuous learning, such as by including any relevant training you’ve attended or certifications you’ve received.

6. Quantify your achievements and experience

It’s not enough to list achievements and responsibilities. Quantifying them shows employers the measurable impact you had on an organisation and this adds credibility to your banking CV. Where possible, add numbers and percentages to give your achievements real-world impact.

The ‘don’ts’ of a banking CV

1. Don’t use generic (or waffling) language

Finding the right tone of voice is critical in a banking CV. Overused phrases like ‘hard working team player’ won’t distinguish you from the pack. Employers will also lose interest if you waffle or use over-complicated language. The key is to make every sentence a concrete example of the value you bring. Be concise and use active phrases that grab attention. 

2. Don’t include irrelevant information

Everything you include should count. Avoid irrelevant information and become an expert at discerning what facts will set you apart. Don’t be afraid to include any non-professional experience that bolsters the important skills you need in a banking role. 

3. Don’t neglect customisation

It bears mentioning twice: don’t send out the same CV to all job postings. Hiring professionals are experts at spotting a generic CV. It suggests a lack of effort and that’s not the first impression you want to make. The chances of an unoptimised CV getting through the ATS are low anyway – you might as well not apply.

4. Don’t be overly humble

You may think it makes you likeable, but the reality is that being too humble on a banking CV undermines your competency. To stand out in this fierce industry, you need to be confident that you’re the best candidate for the role and then show this through your experience and accomplishments. But don’t lie – it’s easier to spot than you might think. 

5. Don’t forget about LinkedIn

Having a strong LinkedIn profile could be the difference between getting hired or staying stuck in the job hunt. Always include a link to it in your banking CV. It allows employers to get a 360 view of your skills, personality and how you interact with the industry at large. According to Firmex, over 94% of recruiters are using LinkedIn to find candidates, so start prioritising it.

There are also some interesting trust statistics about how you use LinkedIn in the banking world. The same Firmex article also says that investors are more likely to trust information and articles from their LinkedIn network, so it’s worthwhile spending time on creating and sharing posts, too.

6. Don’t submit your CV without a cover letter

A cover letter is your chance to expand on the information in your CV and explain what drove you to apply. Neglecting to submit a cover letter may be seen as a lack of interest. Use it to convey your enthusiasm for the role and how your skills align with the specific job. Banks often require a cover letter – make sure it doesn’t repeat what’s in your CV.

Go further with City CV

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