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Creating CV Standout

1 June 2015

Paraplanning has evolved into an analytical, in-depth technical profession that requires great diligence and intelligence from those who operate within this arena. Furthermore, creating effective advice for clients can require great financial creativity which is often spearheaded by paraplanners and I think there is little room left to question the value that your work adds to wealth management. It is also evident from initiatives such as this magazine that paraplanners are very passionate about financial planning, and, dare I say it, even a little ‘geeky’ when it comes to your knowledge within financial planning.

Although my many conversations with Paraplanners have highlighted a great zest in relation to wealth management, this is not always emulated within the CVs that I receive. A tendency seems to have arisen in which listing general responsibilities such as technical research and report writing is deemed as enough to create a good resume. It doesn’t necessarily take long to understand where this trend arose from either. If we examine many of the job descriptions in circulation from IFA practices, they tend to be quite concise and focus upon these pillars of paraplanning. So, in this instance, the well-known advice ‘tailor your CV to the job spec’ can actually be somewhat defunct and means that you are likely to produce a resume that both your recruiter and potential employer have viewed many times before. What action can be taken to avoid such an outcome?

From my perspective as a recruiter, seeing specifics upon a CV will immediately grab my attention. One of the most effective paraplanning CVs I’ve read displayed specific RO module results of the candidate. This was a very bright individual with a good flare for exams and thus each result was very impressive. If you are not as confident with exams and don’t feel that your attainment reflects your true capabilities, look to include one result that you are particularly proud of. This demonstrates a specific strength and could be of great benefit if the firm you are applying to a firm that specialises in that area. Furthermore, if you attained a high grade (A/B) in related subjects at either GCSE or A-level, I would urge you to include these results. This might seem a little excessive, however top firms still refer to these as indicators of motivation and ability.

What else can you bring to the table alongside your qualifications? As Kim Bendall notes, whilst achieving Chartered status is certainly a great accomplishment, it is not necessarily all that needs to be done in an industry that is as constantly evolving as wealth management. How do you ensure that your knowledge is fully up to date? If you are an avid follower of financial press, let the reader of your resume know this. It might seem trivial, however it demonstrates a genuine interest within financial services and I am always more willing to work with passionate paraplanners than passive ones. Furthermore, if your work has been published in such press, or you regularly create valuable content, this should also be highlighted.

In the career history section of a paraplanning CV each employment entry can easily become quite repetitive. The chief tasks and responsibilities in each position can remain very similar and thus including details of achievements can generate a more unique document that truly reflects all of your experience and technical prowess. For example, has a recommendation of yours led to a particularly satisfied client? Or perhaps research you have carried out was an integral part of winning over prospective business? How have you contributed towards the development of your private client team – are you involved in developing the department’s client servicing proposition?

Tailoring a CV to answer such questions will strengthen independent applications and also crucially draw specialist recruiters towards your profile. This can be very influential upon your career trajectory. Niche consultants will often have access to attractive roles that are not overtly advertised and thus by earning their attention, such opportunities will be unveiled. Furthermore, consultants who adopt a creative approach will in some instances be able to influence organisations to ‘create’ a role for the right candidate.

Essentially, just as the financial plan you create for a client would reflect the particulars of their situation, your paraplanning resume should demonstrate the specifics of your technical prowess. Hopefully this article has provided some useful pointers and if you would like me to review your CV then please do send it across to