Financial services recruiters are deluged with CVs. Morgan Stanley received 100,000 resumes last year. Berenberg received 420 applications per job for last year's graduate recruitment scheme. At small and desirable hedge funds like Brevan Howard, the ratio of resumes to roles is undoubtedly even higher.
What can you do to get your CV seen against these odds? Four financial services recruiters offered their advice.
1. If you want a trading job in a hedge fund, be incredibly detailed
Hedge funds want detail. They don't just want to know where you've worked and what your job title is, they want to know every single tiny metric about your performance.
"We get our trading portfolio managers to send us a kind of pitch book," says a hedge fund headhunter (speaking anonymously) who works with clients in London and the U.S. "Hedge fund hiring managers want to know everything - strategy, funds under management asset class, monthly returns, annual returns, daily returns, sharpe ratio...
"Someone can generate good annual returns but have very volatile monthly returns that can blow the book out, so you need to know everything," he adds. "They could have great annual returns, but be running a tiny book - so that's no good either."
2. If you want a sales job in a bank or hedge fund, but quite detailed - but not too detailed - about your clients
Sales jobs are contingent upon clients. Recruiters will like your CV if it shows you can bring clients who will generate revenues. Jake White, a senior recruiter at Selby Jennings, says sales CVs should always talk about the kinds of clients a salesperson works with and the kinds of revenues they bring in.
"Most people won't list all their clients on the CV," says White. A full client list can be helpful, says White. It can also be counterproductive, however. "If we send your CV to our client and they see that they already have your relationships covered, they'll sometimes say no immediately," he points out.
Not adding a full client list to your resume from the outset may simply postpone the point of rejection. On the other hand, it could get your CV through the door.
3. If you want a finance job in a bank, mention your unusual hobby
ACAs who want finance jobs in banks are nearly as plentiful as students who want to be George Soros. If this is you, differentiate yourself with an interesting hobby.
"Interests and extracurricular activities are good things if you're part of a large pool of candidates applying for the same job," says Tom Stoddart, a banking recruiter at Eximius Group. "I showed a client an ACA shortlist and he immediately switched to the hobbies and selected the person who'd put sky diving as a pastime."
Have an interesting hobby, says Stoddart, "but don't drone on about it."
4. If you want a finance job, be ruthlessly efficient
"What I want to see are dates, job title, the bank you work for, your level within the corporation and your responsibilities and achievements," says Stoddart. "Anything more than that is surplus to requirement," he adds.