Preparing Financial Advisor Resumes

Tips on Style and Content

An effective resume can boost a financial advisor's career.
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Preparing Financial Advisor Resumes: As a financial advisor seeking to change firms, the size of your book of business, measured by a combination of revenues, production and client assets, is bound to be your strongest selling point. Meanwhile, a major challenge for a potential employer is verifying any statistics that you might present. Insofar as your official employer-sponsored web page offers such data in an attempt to lure more clients, part of your problem is solved.

Nonetheless, a well-prepared resume can be used to highlight other important aspects of your background, experience and business practices that can enhance your desirability as a potential hire.In particular, a forward-looking employer will want indications of your ability to grow your practice and book of business far beyond their present parameters.

Also, be mindful of the corporate culture of a prospective new firm, which may require you to tailor your resume to the company. Prove that you will have a strong fit with that company's culture. Never forget, in addition, that the key to marketing yourself is demonstrating your value to a potential employer.

Show That You Cultivate Long Term Client Relationships: A financial advisor who can locate, cultivate and retain profitable clients for the long term is especially valuable to a firm that seeks to develop and maintain a stable client base, especially given that the costs of new client acquisition tend to be very high.

Accordingly, an effective financial advisor resume will contain specifics and statistics on your client retention experience, including the strategies that you employ in this regard. Discuss your approach to delivering service and fostering high levels of client satisfaction, including your standards for the frequency and nature of client contact (via phone or e-mail, and in face-to-face meetings), as well as for problem resolution.

Indicate how all this fits into a comprehensive strategy for growing revenue over the long haul.

Discuss Your Approach to Common Client Issues: For example, in your resume you might consider describing in detail how you deal with:

Of particular interest to the hiring firm are your effectiveness in sales and the sales strategies that you employ to grow your practice. Discuss, in detail, how you have approached the sales of key products and services. Again, be especially sensitive to those that the hiring firm might be emphasizing as part of its strategy, such as, for example, financial planning.

Discussing Interests Outside of Work: In particular, involvement with civic, volunteer or charitable work can lead to building a presence in the community and establishing or cementing client relationships. Accordingly, your activities in this sphere should be discussed in your resume, especially if your prospective employer has a culture that stresses community involvement and responsible citizenship.

In a number of securities firms, golf is a big part of the culture, both for internal socializing and for entertaining clients. Accordingly, golfers generally should make mention of their prowess.

In some forms and contexts, especially in dealing with socially prominent and high net worth clients, an interest in the arts and culture may be important, as may memberships in exclusive clubs. There was an example not that long ago of a financial advisor who built and cemented important relationships by becoming welcome in exclusive circles and accompanying clients to high-toned social and cultural events.

Quantifying Experience: Just saying generally that you have experience with, for example, a particular type of client or account gives the reader no indication of the depth of that experience.

Try to be more specific, quantifying the numbers involved, and over how many years this experience stretches.

Professional Certifications: Do not forget to list prominently the various certifications that you may have. The FINRA Series 7 license is, of course, the key one. You should indicate when you first obtained it. You should do likewise with any other FINRA licenses, and also with the CFA, CFP or CPA designations, should you hold any of these. Additionally, if you have a law degree or legal training, that is also particularly worth highlighting.

Apart from formal certifications and academic degrees, also consider mentioning training and coursework that you have engaged in, and how this has helped you to develop professionally.

For Further Reading: See "The Perfect Financial Adviser Resume" by Alina Dizik in the FINS online newsletter published by The Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2012.