The finance sector is one which remains somewhat traditional in terms of the skills required for roles and the qualifications that employers look for on a CV. However, the evolution of the function moving from a purely back office support team to a more integrated and value-adding department means that we have seen subsequent changes in the core skills required to excel in a finance role.
Today, finance professionals must effectively utilise their knowledge and experience in an ever-evolving digital and increasingly outsourced function. The ability to communicate with and work alongside key stakeholders across the business, know what makes the organisation tick, and understand key concerns, are just a few of the expectations of a professional in finance. Particularly for those in roles that are closely aligned with the commercial outcomes of the business.
So what does a great finance CV look like today and how can you identify talent that can truly propel your team forward?
The new finance CV
The value that professionals can bring to a role is now a key focus for businesses looking to hire. In finance, professionals who have a high level of understanding of the operational side of the business as well as the ability to a link a role with the strategic objectives of the business, really stand out.
Previously, a professional who had listed work experience in a big finance department within a large corporate and had demonstrated their ability to perform core responsibilities, may have been deemed a good CV.
Many employers still naturally seek a like for like CV. For example, if they operate within the manufacturing sector, and a candidate has a background in this area, employers will be eager to meet with this professional. However, in a market where there is a skills shortage, we would encourage businesses to think outside the box and look at the more transferable skills that candidates possess. Reconsider the mandatory requirements in terms of what professionals must demonstrate before they will be moved through to the interview stage.
Identifying a top candidate
Speaking to professionals looking for new career opportunities every day, part of the advice that we share is to include a summary about the businesses they have worked with on their CV. Specifically, this should include the size and/or turnover of the business rather than just the industry. When recruiting for finance roles, be sure to take this into consideration. Rather than just looking at the type and size of the industry search for synergy in relation to their level of responsibility in the role. This will translate into their ability to manage similar challenges and opportunities within your business.
The training that a professional has listed is also a positive area to explore on a CV as this demonstrates that they have an interest in improving their skill set. It is common for employers to look for a classically trained background, for example, an ACA qualification from a top audit firm. However, if you are only looking for this when shortlisting talent, you may be discounting great candidates. Look beyond the qualifications especially in the current market.
In addition to this, assess the overall layout of the CV. Focus on grammar and how well it is written. Does it link to their ability to work with the frontline operational staff and influence key stakeholders?
Red flags to look out for
Of course, all businesses are different so the skills and experience required for a role will be unique for the needs of each organisation. However, there are some key areas on a CV that can reveal that a candidate might not be the right fit.
When hiring for permeant roles in particular, it might be cause for concern if a candidate’s work history highlights that they have jumped roles very frequently. This will be a growing trend in the modern economy, so it will be important to be able to distinguish a professional who has changed jobs to progress and grow their career whilst gaining more diverse experience, from someone who is perhaps simply unreliable.
As a general rule, for those who are jumping roles every year – or less – it is wise to question their commitment, longevity, and the value they can add to your business. A CV highlighting a change in roles every couple of years, with continual career progression, however, is not a problem.
Another thing to look out for is a lack of detail. It is a good sign when facts and figures are included in a CV to support past work experience and highlight achievements in a role. Where a CV just loosely describes responsibilities, this might mean that they are unable to communicate effectively with the operation side of the business or that they may not possess the level of experience you need.
The continued evolution of skills in finance
Moving forward, as the finance function becomes more digital or shifts to an outsourced model, the key transferrable skills will be essential. The value that finance professionals can add as well as their ability to bring numbers to life will be more sought after than someone with just experience in manipulating data and managing processes.
To explore how we can help source the right talent for your team, get in touch with your local Michael Page office today. Our expert consultants are specialists in their sector and the local market they recruit within. We can provide in-depth market insight and unique advice on recruiting the talent you need.
Alternatively, browse our article ‘10 skills propelling finance functions forward in 2019’ to find out which skills have been identified as key for finance departments this year.
Operating Director, Michael Page
T: +44 2380 206440