You probably already know how important it is to maintain an updated financial analyst resume. If you’ve already put yours into retirement, the time has come to get it out and get it down to its fighting weight.
Although there is no consensus on the perfect resume length, the following questions will coach you through the challenge of creating a financial analyst resume that's just the right length to catch a potential employer’s eye. (Cue “Eye of the Tiger,” and continue reading.)
1. Is your resume longer than one page?
While two-page resumes have become more acceptable in recent years, many executives still prefer a one-page format. Multiple-page financial analyst resumes should be limited to those with extensive — and highly relevant — work experience. Have less experience? Don’t make the mistake of trying to fill two complete pages. Hiring managers can spot unnecessary content and won’t be impressed by wasted words.
2. Did you choose the best format?
If your resume is longer than one page and you need to shorten it, start by taking a look at your format. There are various formatting options, but many executives prefer reverse chronology to a functional format. One of the best resume writing tips is to make sure prospective employers can see a clear track record of your accomplishments.
3. Have you highlighted achievements vs. responsibilities?
When itemizing your employment history, it can be easy to fall into the trap of listing your job duties instead of what you accomplished in each position. Rather than searching the thesaurus for new ways to say “responsible for” or “managed,” make a concrete list of goals you met, improvements you made and complex tasks you executed. Doing so will give hiring managers a strong impression of how well you handle job demands.
4. Is all of the information relevant?
It cannot be said too many times: Your resume is NOT your Facebook profile. The fact that you play paintball or paint watercolors has no place in a financial analyst resume. Scan your resume quickly (in less than a minute), the same way an employer would. Then trim any extraneous information or redundant language. Keep your message concise and on topic, and focus on your career lessons to land the interview.
5. Did you get carried away with design?
Unnecessary visual elements limit your usable space. Desktop publishing software makes it all too easy to play with layout and design, and the use of non-traditional resumes is on the rise. But don’t lose sight of your goal — to effectively showcase who you are and what you have to offer. You don’t need to demonstrate to potential employers your skill at graphic design if you’re searching for a position as a financial analyst. Save space by emphasizing your expertise and competence rather than your dexterity with fancy fonts or graphics.
Ask these questions as you update your financial analyst resume, and the result will be a svelte document that’s ready to take on the other contenders’ resumes and win the job.
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Editor's note: This post was updated recently to reflect current information.