Monday, March 31, 2008

Elements Of An Outstanding Resume

If you ask me what the most important element of a good resume is, I would say ‘content’ – of which, work history is the priority.

When I receive outstanding resumes, I will proactively do canvass for the candidate, ie. Send out ‘speculative’ resumes, in a headhunter’s term. Here I have generated a bio from one of my most admired resumes. This candidate has been off core investment banking roles for some time, but I am happy to sell him as a CFO candidate.

Please note that all names are dummies.

2006 - present
Non-profit Business, US$7 billion AUM, Hong Kong
Deputy Group Treasurer

2002 - 2006
Blue Chip Publicly Listed Real Estate Company, Hong Kong
Head of Treasury & Investments

1994 - 2002
Blue Chip Publicly Listed Company, Hong Kong
Deputy Treasurer

1988 - 1994
Canadian Dominion Bank, Canada
International Banking Division

1993 - 1994 Manager
1991 - 1993 Senior Assistant Manager
1988 - 1991 Assistant Manager

1987 - 1988
RBS, Hong Kong
Associate, Debt Capital Markets

1982 - 1987
HSBC, Hong Kong
1986 - 1987 Assistant Manager
1983 - 1986 Executive
1982 - 1983 Management Trainee

Why is this resume outstanding?
Frankly, this candidate does not possess a long list of degrees and professional qualifications, and does not speak seven languages. He actually has only one bachelor’s degree and is bilingual with English and Chinese. You will notice that he stay with each of his employers for a considerable period of time – meaning he is stable. Most of his movements, either internal or external, are upward movements – meaning he is doing well in all the jobs he does.

A Good Work History is the Backbone of a Good Resume
As I said in my previous post, any bachelor’s degree will enable you to start an investment banking career. However in the long run, you need to build a good work history in order to contribute to a good resume. Just like a top chef would still need good ingredients to cook with.

Remember, the way you move, indicates how successful you are in your career path. Start building a good job history the first day you start your first investment banking job. Be selective and look for a good investment bank to start with. Think before you accept any lateral move. Bear in mind one is fine, two is not preferred, three is not acceptable.

More resume writing tips from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Resume Creator

Resume Writing


Adam said...

If you are awaiting your CFA level 1 results is it worth putting "CFA Candidate" on a resume?

Anna Maria D'Souza said...

Yes, certainly. Put it this way:
CFA Level One Candidate - month/2008

Richardas said...

Anna Maria,

I really appreciate your blogging activity, as it is really a good resource for newbies! :-)

How would you suggest writing a cover letter if you apply for a job through an online application tool (e.g. Morgan Stanley)? I suppose you will be first filtered by some criteria through the HR department. This means however, that they would probably expect you to write a huge letter to impress them. There are often radically different ways a candidate is being assesed by HR and by the potential collegues. When writing directly to the future boss, this is a totally different thing. At least this is the experience I have made down here in Germany.
How would you suggest writing?

Regards and thanks

Anna Maria D'Souza said...

HR people usually have a different set of expectations from the line managers. However I don't think they have the time to read a lengthy cover letter. I am not sure if a cover letter is required when applying online. May be other readers can share their experiences. In any case, a well-written compelling cover letter doesn't need to be long. You can get more tips on the 'cover letter' section in my blog.