Writing a CV
As a recruiter specialising in roles in compliance, I know about CVs. I spend a lot of my time reviewing them and advising candidates on how to improve them.
Long gone are the days when people in compliance would conform to a typical stereotype and only choose to work in this field because “someone has to do it”. Compliance is now a career choice for many, as the roles become more exciting and ever more lucrative. Demand for compliance professionals has grown exponentially since the financial crisis and this demand will only continue to grow as new regulations come into play.
Why is it important to have a good CV?
It may seem obvious, but your CV is the first chance that you get to make a good impression on a potential employer. I, personally, have known situations in the past when I was new to recruitment where a CV has been poorly written and, on that basis alone, the candidate has been rejected - despite their experience being perfect for what the client was looking for.
It takes around 30 seconds for a hiring manager to make a decision on whether they like the look of your CV or not, so it’s important to make yourself – via your CV - stand out. No, this doesn’t mean plastering it with pretty pictures and bright colours. Make it tailored. Make it concise. Make it accurate. Use action verbs – designed, created, implemented, enhanced etc.
What information do I need to include?
The best way for me to document this is by giving you some bullet points. Please note that, in my opinion, this is the most effective order your CV should follow:
- Professional summary: an overview of your key skills and career history. No more than a paragraph
- Education and training: include all education, honours, degrees, and certifications
- Key skills: bullet point form, use skills that are relevant to compliance. These could include working to deadlines, attention to detail, proactive thinking etc
- Career history: make it clear, use bullet points not paragraphs! Company name, job title, dates including months, e.g. March 2014 – July 2016
What is the best format?
For ICA members, we have included a CV template that you can access and download via the ICA website.
In a nutshell, make sure your CV is clear and follows a consistent format that is easy on the eye. Don’t be that person who has three different fonts, sizes, and colours. Not only does it look unprofessional and disorganised, but it also looks like you have copy and pasted from a job description and have paid little attention to detail – a skill that we all know is critical in any compliance role! It is worth noting that your CV should always be in reverse chronological order (i.e. current job at the top, first job at the bottom).
Key CV tips, specific to compliance
- Don’t come across as too much of a “generalist”. It can give off the wrong impression, a “jack of all trades” type of aura. Generalist compliance roles do exist but, going back to my previous point of making your CV tailored, it is important to consider the specifics of the role you want to be considered for
- Be sure to feature your product knowledge, but don’t waffle. Highlighting product knowledge allows you to show off your specialisms
- Don’t underestimate the word “we” but don’t forget the word “I”. Remember your CV is selling you. Ensure you focus on what you have achieved but don’t forget that [most of the time] you are part of a team
- Emphasise your Interaction with the regulator and the nature of your work relationships within a business. Not only do your regulatory relationships need to be clear but also which key stakeholders you have worked with in the business. Potential employers are keen to understand this vital aspect
- Don’t include hobbies and interests. This avoids unconscious bias amongst potential hiring managers. If you do include these details in your CV to us, the recruiter, we are likely to take them off before sending your CV to the client because we want the client to focus on your experience rather than form a judgement, just because you have a particular interest in, say, potholing
- What happens if you have moved around a lot? Address it, don’t avoid it! Give legitimate reasons for each move and make sure you highlight which jobs are permanent and which are contract
You have 30 seconds for a hiring manager to make a judgement based on your CV. Make those 30 seconds count - by focussing on layout, conciseness, and content specifically relevant to the role you want to be considered for. That way you will ensure the best possible odds on a positive outcome, namely an interview, and the next rung of the job application process achieved. Good luck.