7 seconds. That is all the time you have to make a first impression with your CV. Recruiters have to sift through hundreds if not thousands of CVs and the competition for each opening is becoming fiercer. Back when I was an MBA student, we were told that only 1 in ~250 finance candidates ever makes it. Imagine my shock when I found out that the number is in 1 in >1000 now. I never thought that would be possible, but it is.
But my intention is not deter candidates. There is a reason such competition exists and it is because graduates and young professionals still want to get into finance. It is still a great career for those who are willing to compete.
In addition to the higher CV volumes, another major trend has been the use of AI tools to pre-screen and filter resumes. While these tools are helpful for the companies, it can mean that a good candidate may get left out just because the CV was not writing optimally. This is something that we didn’t have to bother when I graduated B-school but things change and you have to change with them.
This is why I believe it is worthwhile for candidate to have their CVs written by professionals. Of course, you are still the one ultimately responsible for your CV, but a good resume writing service can better portray your skills and qualifications to recruiters and their automated systems.
Before you get started
Not all resume writing services are created equal. This is especially true for the banking and financial services industry where roles can be quite technical and the competition is like nothing else. Any service you use, must meet the following criteria:
- Experience with finance CVs – This is my top priority as BankersByDay is all about finance roles. I have looked at thousands of finance CVs over my career and I know what works and what doesn’t. I expect that same level of expertise from any service that I recommend.
- Should make your CV pop – As stated earlier, you only get a few seconds to impress the recruiter with your CV before they pick the next one from the massive (virtual) pile in front of them. There are certain tricks of the trade that can make your CV pop and these professionals know what those are.
- Optimised for (ATS) Applicant Tracking Systems – Because recruiters handle thousands of CVs nowadays, they use automated software called Applicant Tracking Systems and other nifty AI/ machine learning tools to help them out. These tools look for certain key characteristics so its best to let the professionals work their magic to optimise your CV for ATS systems.
Based on these factors, here are my top recommendations. Note that I will only be giving the TOP recommendation in each category.
This is a service focused on top level executives. But for the banking industry, I feel it makes sense even for mid-level professionals at Associate Director/ AVP level. They offer a number of packages differentiated by the seniority of the role you are targeting.
The packages are slightly expensive than competitors which is why I recommend this service for mid to senior level executives only. The quality of the service should not give you anything to complain about though. They have experienced professionals in all industries so that should have you covered.
The higher tier packages come complete with cover letter and LinkedIn profile and I can’t stress how important LinkedIn is nowadays. I don’t think I have ever hired anyone without looking at their LinkedIn profile. The LinkedIn service also optimizes your profile for search engines which means recruiters searching for candidates are more likely to find you.
You get a one-on-one strategy session with your resume writer to discuss your career goals, expectation, current strategy etc. This goes a long way in helping the process of perfecting your CV for your dream job.
TopResume is one of the larger Resume Writing services with a wide variety of experience in various sectors and role types. They match each candidate to a resume professional resume writer based on their industry experience to ensure best results. The packages are well priced and the higher level packages include LinkedIn and cover letter writing as per your needs. I highly recommend using the LinkedIn service as almost all recruiters tend to look at it nowadays. This is especially true in the finance sector where networking is still King and LinkedIn is the best networking tool outside of interacting with people in your office.
The Resumes are keyword optimized meaning they do well in automated Application Tracing Systems that some larger companies use. Given the sheer volume of CV’s received, this becomes especially important. It isn’t uncommon for me to receive several thousand CVs for a single role so I often rely on outside help to do the initial screening.
TopStock is a great option and the ideal entry point for those having their first crack at a resume writing service. They offer several beginner friendly packages and services that should suit most young professionals. I looked at close to a dozen services – some good, some really bad – but this is the one I would pick based on my experience in the banking industry.
The packages are competitively priced which makes them attractive to those gunning for entry level roles. I would advise interns and analysts to go for the entry level packages while associates and above should go for the professional/ premium packages. Even the premium packages are very reasonably priced so that makes the decision an even easier one.
Their resume professionals have plenty of experience dealing with finance resumes which is important as banking resumes need a special flair. CVs are optimised to be read by Applicant Tracking Systems that are used by many large financial institutions.
The cover letter is included as part of the standard package. I do recommend you get the LinkedIn profile done as well (professional package) because it is definitely something that everyone looks at nowadays. I know I do! LinkedIn also helps tremendously with networking.
Overall, this service ticks all of the boxes and should be your first stop if you are looking to have your CV done professionally.
If you have already been working on your CV (and why wouldn’t you be) and just want to perfect it for that demanding investment banking role, then this is the service for you. WSO gets actual industry experts to look over your Resume and help you perfect it.
WSO has access to experts in almost every field which means you can tailor your CV for any niche within finance – investment banking, private equity, hedge funds, real estate, sales & trading, corporate finance etc. This amount of specialisation can really make your CV stand out. And the enormous competition for these roles means you need all the help you can get.
They will also reformat your resume to improve its presentation. Rush service is also available, if needed.
NOTE: This is not a full resume writing service, but rather an expert review service of your existing resumes for finance roles.