Resume Sins: Seven mistakes that finance techies make

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In the first of our Resume Sins series, we focus on finance technology and reveal some of the most common resume blunders made by IT professionals. We'll put other job functions under the microscope in the weeks to come.

1) Avoid being an IT generalist

Georgina Parker, associate director, Nicoll Curtin Technology, sees many resumes which have an extensive list of development languages and asset classes without demonstrating proper specialization. "The fear of losing out makes candidates write everything they possibly can down in their resume but this has the opposite effect since many roles in finance tech require specialization," he says.

2) Don't rate yourself

Candidates are especially fond of benchmarking themselves in particular skill sets, even giving themselves arbitrary ratings out of 10. Parker says: "Candidates may say they are excellent in C++ but who exactly are they benchmarking themselves against? It comes across as a little bit naïve."

3) Less 'we' speak, please

Candidates tend to speak about projects that their team has developed. "They talk about the overall project, when and how it was developed, but struggle to pin down their individual contribution", says Parker. For instance, the role of a business analyst could be a lot broader in some projects and narrower in others, so it's important to highlight your specific contribution.

4) An outsourcing firm is not a bank

Some candidates work for outsourcing firms on site at banks, but only state the bank's name on their resume. This is misleading and confusing for would-be employers, says Tristan Amin, senior manager, Greythorn Singapore.

5) Ten pages is too long

Brevity is key when it comes to resume writing, something that some finance tech professionals fail to grasp. Amin has seen his share of resumes that are more than 10 pages long. "Generally technical people are not good at writing documents and have a tendency to put everything down, rather than the most pertinent information. This is particularly common with developers. Essentially hiring managers don't want to read anything more than three pages," he says.

6) Permanent positions aren't contract positions (i.e. don't tell lies)

Amin has seen finance techies, mostly young ones, change jobs every six months to a year. To avoid having a choppy resume, some either list permanent positions as contract jobs or omit work experience at a particular firm altogether. This can backfire. Amin knows of a candidate who worked for nine months at one bank but omitted this experience from her resume. Six years later, she was offered a job at the same firm but following background checks, the firm withdrew that offer because she had been dishonest.

7) What, exactly, do you do? I'm confused

Ambikha Sinha, manager, IT, Morgan McKinley, says some candidates don't share enough important details on their role. For instance, are they are a team lead or manager? "My advice to IT candidates is to design clear, concise, skills-focused resumes. For junior to mid-level roles, candidates need to clearly show their contributions, while for senior levels, resumes need to have a strong business and strategic focus."

This article first appeared on our Asian sites