Three Steps to Writing Your Story-Based Corporate Finance Resume
The story of your career in corporate finance is bound to be unique, with its own combination of industries, geographic areas and reach into nearly every aspect of a company, from employee compensation to strategic vision. Few other careers offer as much diversity as corporate finance.
How do you make sure that all of your regulatory and financial expertise, licensing, certifications and achievements fit into one resume for a CFO or other senior financial position? I recommend three essential steps when writing corporate finance resumes.
STEP ONE: DON’T FORGET THE OBVIOUS
Cite your credentials in the top third of the resume. While you would naturally cover the following information throughout your corporate finance resume, the top third is where recruiters, board members and hiring committees look first. Therefore, the top third should mention your CPA; your regulatory experience (GAAP accounting, Sarbanes-Oxley and so on); your strategic leadership; your ability to handle the ramifications, from financial to morale, of divestitures, acquisitions, hostile takeovers, headcount reductions and other sensitive issues; and your monetary responsibilities and accomplishments, including the precise revenue of companies where you have worked in the past and the precise income you have helped to grow.
STEP TWO: FRAME THE STORY OF THE FUTURE—NOT THE PAST
Frame your resume story around the corporate finance position you want (CFO, Senior VP of Finance), not the position you’re leaving, in the industry and location that most appeals to you. In a field where your skills may be equally applicable to a chain of retail stores in Idaho and the Hong Kong office of a financial services firm, your corporate finance story emphasizes what you bring to the table and why you would be a valuable asset in the position you want. It creates a narrative around your skills, accomplishments and experience that demonstrates your ability to resolve crises, anticipate problems and drive organizations into a positive future. Through your story, your target companies will recognize your fit with their culture and goals, whether that involves improving cash flow in new divisions or working with the COO to lower operations overhead. Your story sets you apart.
STEP THREE: BE VISUAL
The eye of a reader is drawn immediately to graphs, charts, bolding, italic and color, with an impact that cannot be matched (but should always be bolstered) by words. In fact, the human brain processes images up to sixty times faster than it processes words. More than many other fields, corporate finance lends itself to resumes with strong visuals.
As a CFO or senior finance executive, you have the potential to bring value to a range of industries and locations. But, your own goal is to seize your moment: the position you want, in the industry and location that most appeal to you, at the best possible compensation. Through strategic organization, strong narrative and compelling visuals, your corporate finance resume achieves that goal. I’m here to help.