For our series on industry-specific resumes, this week we’ll take a look at how to get a job with a sexy new Financial Analyst resume by looking at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, so that your resume is right on the money. (That pun right there, that was The Ugly. On to the career advice.)
Your Resume Needs Dollar Signs
A Financial Analyst resume should have actual dollar amounts somewhere in it. Full stop. If you never mention how much money you are working with, why would anyone hire you? This is about context. If you are a financial analyst for a small operation, that’s very different from consulting on the financial decisions for a huge multinational corporation. If you think about it, it’s not really impossible to find these numbers and work them in: How many clients did you have? How large were the portfolios you managed? How many investments and deals did you analyze? How large were the budgets you worked with?
What Does a Financial Analyst Resume Show?
A financial analyst can be asked to do many different things within the context of their job, and from company to company, so you need to establish the parameters of your role in your previous jobs. You should absolutely demonstrate the results gained by your analysis–were there any lucrative deals made? Mergers or acquisitions? How about cost savings? It’s absolutely mandatory to demonstrate your wins and accomplishments.
What does a Financial Analyst actually do? According to Investopedia, financial analysis is “The process of evaluating businesses, projects, budgets and other finance-related entities to determine their suitability for investment. Typically, financial analysis is used to analyze whether an entity is stable, solvent, liquid, or profitable enough to be invested in. When looking at a specific company, the financial analyst will often focus on the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. In addition, one key area of financial analysis involves extrapolating the company’s past performance into an estimate of the company’s future performance.”
A Terrible Financial Analyst Resume Says:
“Actively participated in the analysis of operational and departmental results.”
…How on earth do you “non-actively” participate in something? And why would point out that you managed the literal bare minimum of your duties by just showing up and participating? Only third-grade soccer players get trophies for participating–job candidates don’t. Also, what is “operational and departmental results” supposed to actually mean? Results of what?
“Analyzed financial and operational performance to identify trends, opportunities, and risks.”
Better, but still much too vague. What opportunities did you identify? Did they make the company any money? What risks did you help the company avoid? How did you analyze “financial and operational” performance? Performance of what? And where the heck are all the dollar amounts that would give us the context we need to understand the size of the job and the scope of the accomplishment?
“Involved in the preparation, review, and dissemination of operational performance reports summarizing key performance indicators regarding practice operational and financial performance.”
My cup of coffee this morning was “involved” in the preparation of this blog post, but that doesn’t mean anyone should hire it. The rest of the sentence is good in that it communicates exactly what was done and why, but the verb is terrible. Your financial analyst resume needs strong, active verbs to communicate that you can do your job and do it well.
“Responsible for ad hoc internal reports and analyses.”
Saying that you were “responsible” for something doesn’t necessarily mean that you actually did it, nor that you did a particularly good job. And what are these reports supposed to be for? Number of coffee stirrers used in an average week? There are simple, but huge details missing here.
An Excellent Financial Analyst Resume Says:
“Created weekly, six-page MS Excel financial and scheduling reports by gathering data from a JAMIS accounting system.”
Much better. The results are specific and quantified, and it demonstrates competency in two different financial tools.
“Managed work order tasking for cost plus and firm fixed price subcontractor contracts totaling $25M.”
There are those dollar signs we need. Stating the actual amounts of money being analyzed and managed tells the potential employer everything they need to know about how much job responsibility you had, and how good you were at your job.
“Managed 50 technical task orders from initial pricing to closeout, including budget planning, cost reporting, scheduling, execution, and performance evaluation task orders.”
Sometimes it’s an excellent idea to simply list the different steps of a particular task that you managed. It shows that you are conscientious about details, and have a firm understanding of your job and ability to carry it out.
These bullet points establish competency, scope and success of the work tasks described. They name specific tools and financial processes to corroborate expertise. They demonstrate high levels of responsibility and competence by mentioning specific dollar amounts for budgets and responsibilities. You should always show, and never tell, what you know how to do.