Start the year with a stand-out CV

New Year – time of resolutions, self-reflection and mass career moves. In a market flooded with fresh financial talent, your CV needs to be a door-opening document. Here’s how to keep it polished, professional and straight to the point.

Make a template, then tailor-make
Start big. Capture all your skills, experience and achievements in a beautifully broad template CV, then edit and personalise your content for each position. It’s extra work, but a step too important to skip. Hiring managers want sound evidence of the hard and soft skills their particular role demands, whether it’s team leadership, strategic financial planning or a background in Compliance and Risk. So scrutinise the job spec, pinpoint exactly what they’re after and tailor your CV to tick those boxes.  

Go old school with spelling and grammar
We’re pretty slack with syntax these days, but grammar, punctuation and spelling are deal breakers during your job search. After all, they speak volumes about your communication skills and attention to detail. So brush up on basics on a site like Grammarly and proofread meticulously (many, many times). Then check it again before you hit send.

Speak in powerful plain English
Everyone’s dynamic. Everyone’s solutions driven. Cutting meaningless business speak from your CV gives you an instant advantage. Drop the jargon and showcase your performance, industry knowledge and financial literacy with plain, potent language backed up with clear facts and figures – from ramping up ROI analysis to transforming month-end processes.

Be bold, be brief
Use a clean layout, tight word count and easy-on-the-eye fonts and formatting, aiming for two well-crafted pages. Start with a straight-talking personal statement showing off your professional and individual strengths in a couple of solid, shortlist-me sentences. Then follow up with achievement-rich sections covering career history, qualifications, specialist skills, contact details and interests. Short, punchy bullets work best.

Demonstrate fit  
You’ve mirrored the job spec. You’ve loaded your CV compelling, customised content. Now convince them you’re an ideal cultural fit by researching the finer details. Check out their website, blogs, social feeds and LinkedIn presence for clues on company ethos, brand personality and employee success stories. Then point to proof of those values at work in your resume. Your application will be significantly stronger for it – plus it’s great prep for interview day.

Need further inspiration? We’ve teamed up with CV Maker to help you create a first-class CV and upload it straight to the GAAPweb talent pool. Click here to get started.


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Back to basics: CV writing for senior financial professionals

Austin Brislen_Sellick Partnership_625 x 360

Austin is a Senior Consultant with over six years’ experience providing recruitment solutions in the finance sector. He works alongside national practice firms, insurers and consultancies to deliver key strategic hires across the UK.

Putting your CV together or updating your current one can often be a daunting task, particularly for senior finance professionals who have been out of the job market for a longer period of time. It’s for this reason you should think carefully about putting together the relevant information for a winning CV.

1. Get the basics right

When starting off your CV, it’s easy to jump ahead and rush to the other sections, however, it’s imperative to put a good plan to together to structure the document appropriately. Contact details are obviously a good place to start, with a mobile number, an evening number and email address. Try to also include the link to your LinkedIn page to ensure you’re easily accessible. Other sections you should incorporate include; education, employment history, professional qualifications, specialist skills and software skills to name just a few.

2.  Be authentic

It’s important to sell yourself and your skill set on your CV, but be sure not to exaggerate or twist the truth about your experience. Highlight your achievements and what makes you stand out in a competitive job market, but ensure you can always articulately back up your claims on paper with your expertise if you get to the interview stage.

3.  Personal statement

Include a short section at the top of your CV with a personal statement, detailing you key motivators, why you’re looking to leave your current position and why you’re interested in the role you’re applying for alongside your relevant skills. Ensure this is concise and engaging to capture the attention of the hiring manager.

4.  Numbers speak a thousand words

Whilst it may take a bit of calculating, it’s always worthwhile to incorporate numbers and statistics to sell your achievements. Telling a prospective employer that you increased sales by 73% has a much greater impact than just saying you increased sales. Solid statistics such as this can really impress potential hiring managers.

5. Tailor it every time

Ensure you tailor your CV for every application to reflect the required skills, experience and culture of the organisation. Try to avoid slipping into the habit of just sending out a standard CV for every role. By tailoring your CV to a specific role, you instantly show you’ve gone out of your way to research the company and the role, making you stand out from the crowd even further.

6. Proof read it
Your CV exists to demonstrate your expertise and professionalism to potential employers and simple mistakes or a lack of attention to detail is not the best first impression  – and could even cost you from progressing further in the hiring process. Ensure you proof read it yourself, checking for minor spelling or grammatical errors. Then get someone else to do it too; casting a fresh eye on the document could pinpoint further errors that can be corrected before you send it off.

Following these simple steps can really add value to the content of you CV and allow you to gain a winning edge with hiring managers. By continuously updating and refining your CV, you’re ensuring that you make a stellar first impression to recruiters and hiring managers, positioning yourself as the strongest candidate for the role.

View the latest jobs from Sellick Partnership

How to write a high-impact CV and get more interviews

Date: Thursday 16th June

Time: 7:15pm to 8:00pm

Making a few small changes to your CV can improve your chances of securing an interview by up to 50%.

The CV & Interview Advisors are inviting GAAPweb candidates to attend their free webinar on how to write a high-impact CV.

  • During this webinar you will learn:
  • How to assess the effectiveness of your current CV
  • The things that you should never do on your CV
  • How to transform your CV into a powerful business case
  • How to use case studies to turbo charge your CV
  • How to align your CV to the real ‘hot skills’ in your market

Register for the event.

There will be a Q&A session immediately following the webinar.

Leading brands are hiring, is your CV getting noticed?

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Top companies are hiring on GAAPweb this month so it’s an ideal time to send recruiters and employers your CV if you’re looking for a new role. But is your CV the best it can be?

The experts at CVGetInterviews are here to help. You can receive a complimentary CV review (£50 value) to determine if your CV stands out. With more than 20 years experience working with professionals in your industry, their writing service comes with a guarantee: interviews in 30 days or we re-write for free.

It’s easy, simply:

  • Submit your CV for a free evaluation
  • Discover if your CV is on target and showcases your talents
  • Get expert feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your CV. Learn how a professional writer could re-vamp your CV and how you can find a new job faster.

Your dream job is just around the corner, make sure your CV isn’t holding you back.

Get your free CV evaluation

Top CV advice from Cedar

Graham is Senior Partner at Cedar. Starting his recruitment career in 1997, Graham worked in a small number of leading recruitment organisations before joining Cedar in 2004. The majority of his recruitment career has been spent sourcing mid to senior level finance professionals, working closely with a diverse mix of clients ranging from FTSE 100 to privately owned start-up companies across the UK and overseas.      

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Graham Thornton   

Senior Partner – Head of Permanent Practice        

What are the most common CV mistakes you’ve seen?

A CV that reads as a job spec and lacks achievements.  Your job title tells me what you are employed to do but what have you actually delivered in role?  What is going to distinguish you from your peers? Another bugbear; too many pages or too few pages. Let us once and for all dispel the two page CV myth.  A CV does not need to be restricted to two pages.  It can be three pages if your experience and achievements warrant three pages.  At a push four pages can also be acceptable.

What do you look for on a CV?   

Consistent progression, success and longevity within company

Should a candidate include hobbies and interests on their CV?   

Absolutely.  These add colour to the professional portrait that the CV presents.  It is an insight into you as a person in addition to you as the business professional.  However, avoid excitable punctuation, shouting to the world that you are terribly excited about “learning to cook!!” is of no benefit whatsoever.

What advice do you give candidates on interview preparation?   

You can never do enough prep.  Do not put yourself in a position where you are rejected at any stage of the interview process based purely on lack of preparation around company knowledge, awareness of the role or even lack of preparation of ‘selling’ yourself through competencies.  If you are going to fail then do so based on lack of appropriate experience rather than being poorly prepared.

Can you share some of the biggest fails you’ve heard at interviews?   

In a word, no.  Anecdotally we have heard some incredible interview faux pas.  However, the most frustrating are those where people have failed to prepare properly for the interview or failed to fully engage any common sense when asking a question or making an observation.  This applies to clients as well as candidates!

In your opinion, what makes a candidate stand out?   

A CV that ticks all the points that I previously mentioned.  But, if you only do one thing, ensure that your CV is achievement based.  Sell yourself.  The candidate market is as competitive now as the 2007 peak.  Right now there are a mass of candidates looking to make a move.  Your CV is a recruitment consultant’s and client’s first insight into you as a candidate.  Ensure that your target audience are not left in any doubt as to the value that you can bring to an organisation.

View the latest jobs from Cedar Recruitment

Top 5 tips for writing a winning covering letter

Top 5 tips for writing a winning covering letter from Personal Career Management   

Your covering letter should immediately grab the attention of a prospective employer. Making a positive first impression and highlighting why you are their ideal candidate for the job is key to securing that all important interview.

Here are our top 5 tips on how and when to use covering letters to your advantage:

1. Balance form and function   

Make sure that it is easily readable, it’s clear about who you are, what you are applying for and your capabilities to do the job.

2. Provide evidence   

Employers won’t hire you on your CV alone. You must show you have the skills and experience to do the job in your covering letter. Highlight the evidence about your capabilities such as relevant qualifications and achievements, and awards you may have won.

3. Include testimonials   

Include positive quotes and testimonials from former managers, colleagues, customers and suppliers to reinforce your credibility and personal qualities.

4. Tone   

Depending on the kind of organisation and perhaps the seniority of the role you are applying for, you could use a business-like tone or even a more casual approach – but remember to ensure you stay professional at all times.

5. Most importantly – Show you can do the job   

Don’t forget that they will be shortlisting you only if you clearly demonstrate that you meet their selection criteria for the job. You must emphasise and prove your capabilities clearly.

For more information on Personal Career Management, click here.

Top tips to kick start your career

Top tips to kick start your career   

Recently graduated or qualified and are now actively job seeking? These key career tips from Corinne Mills, MD of Personal Career Management will help you succeed in your job search.

  • Perfect your CV

Your CV should be well polished, simply formatted and show off the skills you have which are directly relevant to the type of job you are applying for.  Make sure your CV is presented using standard fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial as many companies use recruitment software to search through CVs and the software will not be able to read CVs with unusual fonts or heavy formatting such as graphics, columns and tables. Remember to check your CV for any errors, ask a family member or friend to double-check it for you.

  • Be aware of your online presence

Interviewers will more than likely search for you on the internet to see if they can find out a bit more about you other than what is on your CV or application. Make sure your Facebook profile is private and there is no information about you online that could show you in a negative way. Every working professional should also have a LinkedIn profile that highlights your skills and capabilities in the same way as your CV.

  • Where to find the jobs

You should sign up to all the online job boards which are relevant to the type of industry you are applying to. i.e. GAAPweb for jobs in the accounting & finance sector. You should also ask your friends, family, and tutors if they know of any companies who are likely to be hiring graduates with your skill-set. Employers are increasingly using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to place job adverts so make sure that you follow companies you are interested in, so you don’t miss any opportunities that arise.

  • Be prepared for interview

There is nothing worse than turning up for your interview unprepared. Ensure you take a copy of your CV and application form you submitted as well as a copy of the job description. Prepare your answers to standard interview questions including why you have the skills to do the job, your strengths and weaknesses, and prepare to talk about some achievements which show off your capabilities.  Thoroughly research the company beforehand including their products and services, recent press releases; how they compare with their competitors, industry trends etc.  Talk about this research at the interview to show your genuine interest and commitment to work for the company.

  • Graduate Career Coaching

Personal Career Management provide specialist career coaching and career advice to graduates looking to make good decisions on the right role for them and how to stand out from the crowd in a competitive job market.

Click here to book your free no-obligation meeting.

Need help with your CV?

GAAPweb have partnered with CV Maker to provide you with easy to use CV templates. Create your own professional CV and upload it to the GAAPweb talent pool so employers and recruiters can find you.

Click here for more information.

Why Keywords trump Buzzwords by CVGetInterviews

By CVGetInterviews    

Choosing the right language to get your CV noticed is crucial in attracting the attention of potential employers. Recruiters and electronic screening systems filter CVs by looking for keywords; these are words which summarise your key skills and qualifications, whereas buzzwords are generic and overused and should be avoided.

Quantify Results   

Buzzwords such as ‘team-player’ do little to demonstrate your specific skills. All jobs require these types of skills, so it’s your particular contributions which will get you noticed.

In a competitive job market, you need a proven record of success to impress recruiters. Certain sectors such as sales have obvious performance metrics, with profit growth and spend reduction statistics speaking for themselves. It is just as persuasive to use examples of projects which you have worked on from start to finish to illustrate your achievements.

Words to Avoid   

When targeting management and leadership positions, your CV must convey that your work history demonstrates a senior level of responsibility. Many candidates use phrases about team achievements, which suggests that you did not have direct ownership of key tasks.

Connect the Dots   

While quantifiable results are important, recruiters value candidates who demonstrate that they can problem-solve. If you can complete your required role whilst adapting and resolving unexpected issues within your working environment or business, you will be desirable to an employer as you have transferable skills.

Generalities and endless description leave candidates as white noise in the thriving job market. If you express your strengths and worth to a potential employer in a concise and clear manner, it will help you land your next job.

To get head hunted, upload your CV on GAAPweb

Perfecting your Personal Statement

By Corinne Mills

Corinne Mills is the Managing Director of Personal Career Management , the leading career  coaching company who are now career management partners with GAAPweb.

Recruiters tend to scan and dismiss CVs quite quickly so you need to convince them within the first half page of your CV that you have the relevant skills and experience. Otherwise they’re unlikely to read on and your CV could very well end up in the reject pile. One of the best ways to make that initial positive impact is to write a compelling personal statement/profile.  This is a short, sharp and succinct 3-5 sentence paragraph positioned just below your contact details on the first page of your CV which acts like a mini-advertisement to grab their attention and highlight your relevant capabilities.

So, what should you put in your personal statement?    

It’s important to label yourself with a title that is specific to the job you are applying for.  For instance, instead of calling yourself a “Finance Professional” or “Dynamic individual…”, try using your actual job title or the job title; ‘Finance Director’, or ‘Financial Controller’ for instance, to reflect exactly what you are looking for. Of course you can only call yourself this if you have practical experience in the relevant area but it enables them to see right away that you have the background that is needed.

Mention how many years of experience you have working in this field and your relevant qualifications, as this will tell them at a glance whether you have sufficient professional credibility as a serious candidate for their role. If the role or organisation asks for particular expertise or knowledge eg understanding of mergers and acquisitions, specific software, background in the media industry, then make sure that this experience is mentioned in your personal profile eg “Extensive experience of managing the financial integration of newly acquired companies”. If you’re applying for a management role ensure that you state the size of teams that you have managed and the scope of your responsibilities eg “recruiting, motivating and performance managing staff”. Executive level CVs also need to talk about your input into strategy development and leadership.

Demonstrate the value you can bring to the organisation you’re applying to by including something in your personal profile which illustrates that your career to date has been successful. This might be your contribution to maximising revenue streams, identifying commercial opportunities, reducing losses or improving the efficiency of your team.

As a Finance professional you do need to demonstrate that you have the technical capabilities to do the job so your profile should include the key technical skills required eg management accounts, payroll. That said, soft skills are just as crucial. Employers do want to get a sense of what you are like as a person but always back up any claims about your personal qualities by supplying evidence by way of examples to prove it. These must all be in a professional context rather than a personal context. For eg: “tenacious and thorough as demonstrated by successfully chasing up customer debts worth over £50,000”.

In summary, your personal statement should address all the areas that the recruiter will be considering in relation to their selection criteria for the job. Be prepared to craft a few different versions of your personal profile before you find the one that most adequately reflects you and the type of job you are pursuing. It’s worth the effort because if you get this right, then you increase the likelihood of your application being read thoroughly and subsequently shortlisted rather than discarded at first glance.

Career Coaching

Are you looking for your first job or need help improving your career prospects? Personal Career Management provides specialist coaching and advice to candidates looking to stand out in a competitive job market. Book your free introductory meeting.