Here’s a recent CV sample we did for a finance graduate. I’ll show you the final product first, then we’ll break it down section by section and I’ll walk you through our thought process, insights, and strategy. While the sample is for finance, you can try applying the tips and tricks to your own CV; the logic and reasoning can easily adapted to almost every profile. If you need a hand, feel free to reach out to us. We read every email and also offer free CV consultations, if you need an expert’s eye on the subject 😉
THE CV SAMPLE – FRESH GRADUATE (FINANCE)
FINANCE GRADUATE | EQUITY RESEARCH
[Finance is a very broad field. Narrowing down the specialization / area helps us target the CV to a particular role.]
Tel.: +852 3163 2960 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Nationality: Chinese
[Larger companies tend to use automated CV scanners to look for certain keywords. We try to include Chinese as many firms tend to look for locals first to save on manpower levies, and thus have this as a keyword. If you are a permanent resident, you could say something like ‘Hong Kong PR’- the human reading the CV will understand.]
- Recent B.Sc [Economics] graduate specializing in market analysis, with prior internship experience in major Fortune 500 firms, specializing in equity analysis and industry research. Currently pursuing Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level III Certification. [This opening line perfectly summarises who you are and what your immediate career goals are. It showcases your past internship experience as well as highlights relevant industry certifications- the CFA is well respected in the finance industry, and sets this candidate apart from others.]
- Strong familiarity with Bloomberg; capable leveraging on and utilizing Bloomberg terminals and data sources as part of overarching research and analysis process. [Bloomberg is widely used in many contexts in Finance. Showing proficiency in this area will instill confidence in a prospective employer.]
- Demonstrated ability to contribute to teams with minimal training; commended by superiors for contributions to firm during internship. Extensive leadership experience through various co-curricular activities in university, having spearheaded strategic development for University’s Student Managed Investment Fund Club. [As a fresh grad, you can make up for a lack of professional working experience through highlighting relevant CCA activities, or other extracurricular interests which are relevant to your field.]
EDUCATION & PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
[We added education before professional experience in this case, because as a fresh grad this client didn’t have much prior experience. This is assesses on a case-by-case basis, depending upon on the writer’s overall strategy.]
- Bachelor of Science (Hons), Hong Kong University, 2012
- Dean’s List award in 2010 and 2011 for outstanding academic performance
- Top scorer for Accounting 1001 and Financial Marketing 2004 modules
[Include any significant awards and achievements you have garnered while in University. You can optionally include your GPA/CAP if it is particularly outstanding.]
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level I and Level II | Level III Candidate
- CFA Institute • Hong Kong • In progress (Est. Completion June 2019)
[Add relevant industry certifications and courses you have taken, even if they are in progress, to showcase your interest in the industry and your desire to commit for the long term. You can optionally include the estimated completion date.]
|Data Analysis and Market Research||Purchase Pricing Models||Fundamental/Technical Analysis|
|Trading and Investment Operations||Forex||Equity Research|
|Market/Industry Trend Analysis||Sales Operations||Negotiations|
|Analysis Packages: SPSS, STATA, MATLAB||Programming Languages: Python, R|
[Your key skills section should highlight skills you have developed through your internships and University experience, and should be related to your chosen field or industry. If you are familiar with major software suites, programming languages, or proprietary tools relevant to your industry, include them here as well.]
PwC is one of Australia’s leading professional services firms, bringing the power of our global network of firms to help Australian businesses and not-for-profit organizations and governments assess their performance and improve the way they work.
- Support manager on full spectrum of marketing duties for PwC, including planning of programs, events management, conceptualization of marketing initiatives and general administrative assistance. [The opening line should capture the essentials of the role by summarizing all the key points and duties you undertook.]
- Spearheaded analysis of branding opportunities through sponsorship avenues; analyzed marketplace and competitors, identified opportunities and recommended actionable items for senior management.
- Conducted competitive landscape scans into prevailing industry and market trends to identify and explore potential avenues for business expansion. Collated all insights and presented findings to senior management. [Marketing isn’t fully related to Finance so we used to highlight transferrable skill sets and job responsibilities that overlap with the role this client is targeting. As an equality analyst, he/she will need to perform industry research, which is similar to examining current industry trends.]
- Attained ‘Outstanding Intern Award’, awarded to top 10% of PwC’s annual intern cohort for excellent performance during internship. [Including an achievement can add through to your profile. Be sure to contextualize the achievement to highlight how significant it is.]
SENIOR ANALYST Aug 2009 – Feb 2010
HKU Student Management Investment Fund
The Hong Kong University Student Managed Investment Fund (HKU-Si managed directly by undergraduates, specializing in six major sectors.
- Mentored and advised junior analysts on fundamental and technical analysis, and on conducting equity analysis on assigned sectors. Reviewed proposed investment theses and managed SIIIF’s Technology portfolio. [This CCA is very relevant to what the client wishes to pursue as a career. We thus include it, and highlight the transferable skillsets that they acquired during their tenure. If you held a leadership position, it’s good to include it in your CV even if the CCA is not directly relevant to your industry of choice. Leadership is transferable!]
- Nationality: Chinese
- Languages: Fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin (Oral and Written) • Conversational in Japanese JLPT N4) [If you speak multiple languages, be sure to list them here. If you’ve taken formal certification courses in the language, e.g. the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (LPT) include them as well.]
- Availability: Immediate
References available upon request
[There’s no need to list your references; if HR is interested in you they will ask you for them.]
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And we’re done!
Of course, not everyone will be going into the Finance industry. With that in mind, here are a few things that I’d have looked out for back when I was an active recruiter and headhunter. You can generalise these tips to CVs in almost any industry:
Key Pointers Recruiters Look for in a Fresh Graduate Resume:
- Demonstrable Skills and Experiences: If you have no prior work experience, make sure that you include internship experiences, community service, or any relevant activities where you can demonstrate essential abilities such as leadership and communication skills.
- Relevant Coursework: If you are looking at joining an industry, but have no prior internship/working experience there, consider highlighting any relevant coursework you have done in University to demonstrate your interest and theoretical foundation in the area.
- Your Portfolio: Depending on the industry you have in mind, this may or may not apply to you. Some industries place much more focus on your capabilities rather than your paper qualifications. Programming and creative design are two which immediately come to mind. In CVs for those industries, you could add some previous works and showcase your portfolio.
- Ability to Work with Various Stakeholders: As you cannot showcase yet your experience in working for large business environments, you can at least speak about how you were able to successfully work with different types of people such as professors, coaches, community leaders, other students, as well as local government officers.
- Transferable or Technical Skills: You may not have previous professional experience, but you can always highlight transferable skills you may have utilised while you were in university such as auditing, marketing, writing, data entry, graphic designing, coding, and the like. Look for courses relevant to your industry. In Marketing/Advertising? Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom are good to have. Interested in Finance? Be sure to take Bloomberg’s certifications and look into the CFA Institute’s courses.
This is a really underlooked point that I want to discuss briefly. First impressions matter a lot. I’ve seen employers discard CVs that were poorly formatted without even bothering to glance through the content. A few key points to note:
- Neat and professional templates are key. Don’t use fancy pictures or layouts that are hard to read.
- Proofread your CV! Spelling and grammatical errors are huge no-nos. As an employer, I’d be very reluctant to hire someone who makes simple spelling errors. It says a lot about that candidate’s professionalism and attention to detail. You can use apps like Grammarly, or ask a friend to proofread your CV for you.
- Use a suitable, professional font. Keep the flowery and artistic fonts for an ad; there are fonts which help you stand out without making you look unprofessional.
- Watch the fluff! With less content to work with, there is a natural tendency to ‘inflate’ our responsibilities and achievements a little. While this is acceptable in moderation, it looks really bad if overdone. Know when to stop!
- Keep it short! Most fresh grad CVs can easily fit within a page or two. If you’re going over that, chances are you’re including too many irrelevant points. Employers are busy people – they are unlikely to read all 5 or 6 pages of a long CV!
Additional Fresh Graduate Resume Writing Tips
- If you have the time, reading my Ultimate Guide to Resume Writing is a great way to get started. There’s a lot of detail there about how to craft each section. Drop me a feedback request if you have any questions – I read each one personally.
- The executive summary gives a quick overview of your work history. Thus, use this to communicate your strong work ethic, desire to learn and leadership abilities, if any. If you’ve got domain expertise in the field you’re applying for, do heavily emphasise that.
- Always break your work experiences into 2 parts – your daily workscope and your achievements. For the daily workscope, include a high level summary. Workscopes which are implied can be omitted. Remember, you want to keep your resume short and sharp for the recruiter.
- As a fresh grad, you might be a little lacking in work experience. As such, do include any volunteer or leadership experiences you’ve had, as well as training and seminars you’ve attended. This will help to differentiate your resume from that of your peers. You can also include your CCA or OCSP experiences.
Fresh Graduate Job Opportunities
- Join LinkedIn groups or follow companies you wish to work for to keep abreast with new job openings.
- Alternatively, you can reach out to these headhunters in Hong Kong to learn about any vacancies they may be trying to fill out.
Job Hunting Tips from our Resident Headhunter
- Create a winning cover letter and send it along your resume. The cover letter will serve as an introduction about yourself and is a great venue to answer the question “Why should we hire you?”
- Be active on social media, particularly on LinkedIn. Make sure to create a strong online profile that represents you and you professional experiences. Here’s our comprehensive guide on writing a great LinkedIn profile.
- Before you start sending out applications, get a free CV Feedback Session with our team.
More Useful Links
If you found this article useful, you might also like:
- How to Write a Winning Resume: Your Ultimate CV Guide
- How to Write a Cover Letter: Your Ultimate Cover Letter Guide
- How to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job: Your Ultimate LinkedIn Guide
- List of Headhunters in Hong Kong
- Cover Letter Samples, Templates & Tips
- Downloadable Free Resume Templates
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