With the rise of the CFO, the finance department becomes more and more important for a company. Especially FP&A professionals, forecasting and budgeting appear as key assets for the strategic planning of future business. That’s why hiring managers and recruiters take an extra look on the CV of financial analysts.
How can you best present your soft and hard skills in a CV to really stand out from the crowd? Find out how a recruiter reads your curriculum.
1. Professional experience
Your potential employer will first glance at your previous career steps to get an idea of your expertise in the corresponding sector or industry. A few years of experience in controlling, planning and forecasting will benefit your CV. List your relevant previous jobs including the time range to give a clear perspective on your experience.
Add an executive summary to give a quick overview of your experience and skills. Anthony Caffon, Executive Manager for Finance & Accounting at Michael Page, says,
Candidates with a strong BI exposure or experienced with a specific methodology like Zero-based budgeting, with innovative tools are also very welcome as they can bring a fresh approach to their future employer.
2. Outstanding analytical skills
“As an FP&A analyst, you are responsible for the successful financial future of the business and to share useful insights for decision making." How can you demonstrate your analytical skills on paper, though? Anthony Caffon's advice: “Think of the tasks you were responsible for in the last job. Did you create and explain reports to your previous manager? Did your analysis have an impact on the business? Did you use specific tools to do so? Include this information in a few bullet points under the corresponding job.”
Just like a carpenter knows how to swing a hammer, a good financial planner and analyst knows the ins and outs of the necessary tools and systems to get relevant financial data and build reports. Microsoft Excel is key, combined with strong ERP knowledge (such as SAP and Oracle), Hyperion, Cognos, Access, SQL or VBA amongst others, then you’re on a very good path already. Especially if you are working with a big database, a solid understanding of VBA can be useful to optimize efficiency at work. If you know any additional systems and tools it will of course make you stand out. But make sure to include the ones first that are relevant for the position.
4. Presentation and interpersonal skills
Your CV is the first presentation you’re giving to your potential new employer. Make sure you also introduce yourself personally in two to three sentences. Evelyn Palma, Executive Manager for Finance & Accounting at Michael Page, explains the bigger picture,
As a potential employee in a mid-large organisation with people from all around the world, you need to be open-minded, know languages, and understand cultures. Moreover, as an FP&A professional, you really need to show a business-driven attitude, have the ability to build relationships outside of Finance, be challenging in a constructive manner, and be able to tell stories with your numbers.
5. English – Combined with German or French
In the era of globalization and digitalisation, it goes without saying. Still – a fluency in written and verbal English skills is a must-have. More than that, you need to dominate the technical jargon of your profession. How do you prove that on your CV? If you have a LinkedIn profile, it probably is in English. Make sure it is up-to-date and include the link. Have you hold any webinars or presentations that are recorded on YouTube or Vimeo? Include the link if you think it’s relevant for the job description. Depending on the company environment, additional languages are also important. In your role you need to be able to communicate with colleagues in other departments.
Most companies are in a transformation process working on different projects to drive efficiency, improve processes, or reshape the business. It is important that you show that you embrace change and take interest in projects that benefit the business by mentioning some key projects you have worked in. Evelyn Palma points out, “It is not the size of the project that matters but the impact it had on the business, on your division, or on your own work. What was your impact on the project? What did you learn from it?“