Writing a CV: Instructions and Template
Principles of a CV
- Your CV should not be longer than 2 pages. For Investment Banks they should be a single page.
- There is no need for Headers, Footers, Titles that say Curriculum Vitae, or flashy/pretty designs
- Do not include a profile picture, date of birth, nationality, marital status, or visa status. The UK is extremely strict on anti-discrimination laws in application processes. You should only be judged on your MERITS.
- Always list experience chronologically, which means the most recent or current experience goes first back to the oldest example.
Some key ideas about the structure of your CV
Do you have a name that people struggle to pronounce? Then include an English nickname. Though you may ask why we accept that some people may dismiss an applicant just because they cannot say their name.
2. Contact Details
You should list your address (Town and Postcode only), email (Your name, or something that is not inappropriate like email@example.com), and your mobile number (UK number only, you do not need to put +44 in front of the number as this is the international dialing code for the UK)
- Under education, you only need to list University/Colleges.
- No need to put your high school/secondary school qualifications (The only exception is if you are in the 1st YEAR of your degree)
- The format should be: Date at the University, Subject, University and Grade. List this line in BOLD.
- Underneath in no more than 2-3 lines, write your key modules
- UNLESS, your dissertation is relevant to the job you are applying to. Leave it off
- EXTRAS: Add any scholarships or professional qualifications
4. Work Experience
- Work experience for LESS than 2 weeks. Is not work experience. Leave it off
- The format should be: Date at the Job, your job titles, Company you worked at. List this line in BOLD.
- 2-3 lines explaining what you did, be specific, what are your notable achievements, can your breakdown what you did day to day. Use Bullet points.
- At the bottom list, the Key Skills you learnt, no more than 2 lines. For example: Teamwork, Collaboration, Research and Reporting skills etc.
- Any clubs/ societies/volunteering you did that doesn’t count as paid work
- The format should be: Date at the activity, your role, Company/club/society you worked at. List this line in BOLD.
- 2-3 lines explaining what you did, be specific, what are your notable achievements
- At the bottom list the Key Skills you learnt, no more than 2 lines. For example: Teamwork, Collaboration, Research and Reporting skills etc.
6. Skills and Interests
- This is broken down into 3 sections: Languages/IT/Interests
- No more than 2 lines for each
- Languages: English (Fluent), Chinese (Native) etc. Any language you cannot have a conversation in, leave off. I can say hello in French, but I wouldn’t put it on my CV
- IT Skills, list how proficient you are – Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced
- Interests is just your personal hobbies and what you like doing
Putting it all together your CV will end up looking something like this:
M: 07XXX XXXXXX A: London, W2X 1XX E: XXXXX@hotmail.com
09/2020 – 09/2021 – Some University, MSc Financial Risk Management: Merit (Expected)
Module include: Quantitative and Computational Finance, Asset Pricing in Continuous Time, Stochastic Methods in Finance, Compliance & Risk & Regulation, Equities & Foreign Exchange & Commodities
09/2016 – 06/2019 – Some University, BSc Mathematics with Actuarial Science: (2:1)
Module include: Principles of Macroeconomics & Microeconomics, Actuarial Mathematics, Stochastic Process, Statistical Method, Financial Mathematics, Mathematical Programming
06/2020 –07/20 – A Bank: Market Risk Intern
- Designed a Product Margin Table for analysing the margin sensitivities of TSB interest products (e.g. Mortgages, Personal Current Accounts and Savings).
- Studying the interest rate risk for a typical retail bank.
- Key Skills: Teamwork, Numerical, Commercial Awareness, IT (Excel)
07/2019 –08/2019 – A Bank: Risk Department Intern
- Performed some basic risk identification when business clients applied for a new loan or close the due date.
- Studied various financial risks (e.g. credit, operational and strategy risk)
- Key Skills: Research, Analytical and Planning
07/2015 – 09/2015 – A School, Teaching Assistant
- Helped teachers to supervise teaching processes and provided individual guidance to students with learning problem.
- Conducted tutorial after class to ensure knowledge taught in class was well understood.
- Key Skills: Teamwork, communication, cooperative, leadership
03/2018 – Organizer – High School Sport Event, A Place
- Managed groups of people to avoid overcrowding.
- Planned the event’s timetable.
- Key Skills: Organisation, Leadership, Teamwork, Planning
Skills and Interests
Languages: Chinese (Native) and English (fluent).
IT: MATLAB (Basic_, C++ coding (Intermediate) and Microsoft Office (Intermediate)
Interests: Fitness, Traveling, Badminton.
Application Tracking System (ATS) Hacks
Over 90% of CV’s are screened by automated screening systems. This is more like 99% for Times Top 100 and Fortune 500 Companies. This means your CV is checked against a list of keywords before being passed onto a human recruiter.
The keywords will come from the job description of the position you are applying to.
To make sure your CV gets past the robots take the following steps.
- Use https://www.jobscan.co/ to scan your CV against the job description and see if you get a match of 80% or better
- Make sure you have a similar job titles in your CV
- List as many keywords as you can which relate to the desired tasks or skills the job requires you to do
- Have clear section headings
- Aim for at least 400+ words in your CV
- Try to have measurable results in your experience, like time saved, money made, increase in sales or results achieved
- Make sure your document does not have formatting
- Save your document as a PDF
- Use Bold for titles and headings to stand out
- Check and match the hard and soft skills in Jobscan to get a close a match as possible
This will take time, but you only need to format your CV for each type of role, and save it as a template to use every time you apply for a particular job.
P.S. It’s always worth testing your results. How about A/B testing two different applications with two separate emails and CV’s. Or tracking the number of applications you make, and the response rate for a) a reply (good/bad) b) being invited to the next round.
Though many candidates say their CV’s “aren’t good enough” without sufficient data it’s impossible to know if after your edits your CV is “better”