Published on 20th November 2018
Corporate Finance firms have always been very specific about the skills and experience they expect from candidates.
However, more recently I have noticed an increase in expectations when it comes to the skills and experience Corporate Finance firms are looking for in potential new employees.
Although you will discuss and present your skills and experience during the interview stage, your CV is your potential new employer's first chance to determine how suitable you might be for the position.
Therefore, creating an effective CV when applying for Corporate Finance positions is essential.
Listed below are some specific points you should be sure to mention on your CV when applying for roles in this demanding and competitive industry.
It is really effective to have a short profile summarising your experience and key skills at the top of your CV. It is also important to use this profile to highlight your motivations and what type of role you are looking for.
Writing a short profile is particularly beneficial for audit candidates wanting to make the move into Corporate Finance.
It is vital to explain your reasons for wanting to make the move, what interests you and the transferable skills you possess that will make you successful in the role.
It has become quite common for candidates to say ‘I want to move into a forward-thinking role’. If you are going to say this, it is important that you then elaborate on what it is that you are looking for.
Mention the skills that you want to develop – do you want to strengthen your technical skills in financial modelling or would you prefer a client-facing role due to your skills in relationship building?
It is key to go into detail as clients will question your motivations for wanting to start a career in corporate finance (moving out of audit is not a sufficient reason).
You will be expected to be commercially aware of the industry and this needs to come across on your CV.
The last page of your CV is a valuable space to list key transactions you have been involved in.
It is important to a explain how you were involved in transactions, for example, you completed a complex model or you worked on the valuations for this transaction etc.
Your list should provide detail of how you work on transactions, showcasing the skills you have that are relevant to the role.
This is particularly beneficial for more senior candidates i.e. from Assistant Manager onwards. Firms want to see if you can lead transactions, how many transactions you have completed and whether you have the experience to hit the ground running.
Explaining the sectors you have gained exposure in can sometimes determine whether you will be taken forward to interview stage.
If you are applying for an agnostic role, it is important for you to show that you have been involved in a broad range of sectors - it might also be worth highlighting this on your deal sheet.
However, if you are applying for a sector-specific role in TMT, it would be best to tailor your CV to showcase the specialist TMT experience you have and perhaps not highlight other sector experience as much.
It sounds basic, however, candidates do not always have up to date qualifications on their CV.
It’s important to list your qualifications at the top of your CV, especially if you are ACCA or CFA qualified.
Always ensure you list all of your relevant qualifications on your CV, as well as mentioning if you completed your accounting qualification with first time passes.
Level of detail
We sometimes receive CVs that are limited to one page - there is this perception that your CV should be a summary of your experience and should not go over one or two pages.
Since Corporate Finance is a very detailed industry, there is no need to stick to a two-page limit. The more detail you include in your CV, the easier it is for corporate finance firms to get an understanding of your experience.
It is important to go into detail on the transaction sizes you have worked on, the kind of clients you have worked with and whether you have worked on buy-side or sell-side transactions etc.
If you think it is information that will support your application, then include it on your CV!
Don't be lazy
It’s essential to take care when drafting your CV and not to be lazy. Your CV is a very important tool in your job search.
Your CV is your first form of contact with your potential future employer and allows them an insight into whether you would be a suitable addition to the team.
As a Corporate Finance candidate, you should be prepared to update and amend your CV for specific roles across the industry.