Financial Analyst: Resume Writing Guide & Resume Sample

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

If you are a financial analyst, your work hours are usually filled with numbers, spreadsheets, and different data. As a financial analyst, you need to be able to study various economic and business conditions, analyse financial statements, identify trends, predict different scenarios, draw conclusions and recommend actions that can improve the company’s financial status.


But nowadays, besides expert analytic and problem-solving skills, a great financial analyst also needs to have above-average communication skills and strong interpersonal abilities.


You need to be comfortable with working in a team, communicating with different colleagues and senior management, reporting the findings of your analysis, explaining things in a clear, concise way, consulting, and maybe even taking the leading role.


And your resume needs to show that you can do exactly that.


In today’s fast-paced society, where there are countless financial analysts applying for every job ad, you need to make sure they remember you. You don’t want your resume to end up on the pile with the rest that all look and sound the same.


So, how can you be sure you stand out?


You need a resume that will leave them thinking their business needs exactly you because you possess all the skills they are looking for, such as:

  • Strong quantitative and analytical skills

  • Outstanding problem-solving competency

  • Knowledge of financial forecasting and diagnosis

  • Excellent financial literacy skills

  • Strong technical skills

  • The ability to study and identify various economic and business trends

  • Above-average communication and reporting skills

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We’ve created this step-by-step guide to help you create such a resume.


In the next 10-15 minutes, you’ll learn how to:


► write a perfect professional profile summary for the financial analyst position

► quantify your responsibilities and achievements

► format your resume

► overall, create a financial analyst resume that stands out from the crowd and gets you hired

You'll also get:


► a template and sample for a personal profile summary

► a list of 20+ action verbs tailored to financial analyst's responsibilities

► five examples of metrics to quantify your achievements

► 50+ actionable tips coming from experienced recruiters and resume writers

► a free sample reference list

► a free sample financial analyst resume


Without further ado - let's get into it!



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STARTING POINT: Job Description


Everything you need to cover in your resume is written in the job description (or a job ad, a job posting).

So, before you start crafting the financial analyst resume, you need to make sure that you understand all the responsibilities and requirements specified there. To find the most important information, look for sections called 'Person specification', 'Essential and desirable skills' or 'What are we looking for?'.

The job description will likely sound like this:

We are looking for an experienced, detail-oriented Financial Analyst to join our team.


A Financial Analyst is responsible for the financial planning of a company, analysing financial information, tracking market conditions to create forecasts, and offering guidance on making financial decisions. To be successful as a Financial Analyst, you must have excellent quantitative, analytical, and problem-solving skills, as well as strong communication abilities. A good Financial Analyst understands how different conditions, such as various regulations, political situations, and economic trends, may affect investments and is able to make recommendations depending on it.


Financial Analyst Responsibilities

  • Analyse financial data

  • Evaluate financial performance and identify trends

  • Identify opportunities for the improvement of financial status

  • Research macroeconomic and microeconomic conditions

  • Prepare financial models and forecast future trends and conditions

  • Prepare reports and communicate the findings to senior management

  • Recommend actions to improve financial performance

  • Maintain up-to-date technical knowledge


Financial Analyst Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Economics, Accounting or a related field

  • Experience with statistical analysis and financial forecasting

  • Proficiency in spreadsheets, databases, and financial software applications

  • Excellent quantitative and analytical skills

  • Outstanding problem-solving ability

  • Strong technical skills

  • Attention to detail

  • Strong communication and presentation skills

  • Prior experience in financial planning & analysis, corporate finance, investment banking or related fields


Now that you know what companies will look for, we can start working on a resume that proves to hiring managers and recruiters that you’re the one for the job!

 

1. Start with your contact details

First things first - open a new Word or Pages document and write down your name and surname.

They are the first thing employers will read on your CV and you want them to be seen and remembered.


They should be easy to find, so, put them at the top of the page.

Emphasize your name. Be bold and highlight your name by using a bold font or capital letters. Increase the size of the font to differentiate it from the rest of the text. Make it pop, but not too much. Don't exaggerate by using font size 72. Using 16-24pt, depending on the font, is perfect.

Then, tell employers how to reach you. Below your name and surname, write down your location, phone number and email address.

This part should be short, straightforward and professional – without too many phone numbers or emails to choose from, and with a formal-sounding email address.


It should look like this:

NAME SURNAME City, Country / +44 (0)203 000 000 / name.surname@email.com


 

2. Write a perfect financial analyst personal statement


Unknowingly, many candidates lose the reader’s interest on the very first sentence in their resume.


The reason is that they start with a vague sentence about their career aspirations that doesn’t add any value – it feels like it’s there just to fill the space.


This ‘full-of-buzzwords-but-meaningless’ sentence usually sounds something like this:


I’m looking for a new challenging opportunity to develop myself and progress in my career. I work well independently but enjoy working as part of a team too. Willing to support your company with my skills and knowledge.


This sentence doesn’t actually say anything about your skills or experience, it doesn’t help you brand yourself as a finance expert and it doesn’t grab the reader’s attention. In other words – it’s doomed to fail.


To avoid starting your resume with an opening sentence that sends your application into the black hole of “thanks-but-no-thanks” resumes, kick yours off in the most effective way – write a powerful personal statement.

A personal statement is essentially a summary of your career.

When done correctly, a personal statement can help you position yourself as an expert and a strong candidate right from the start, which consequently increases the time that employers will dedicate to your resume and your chances of being invited to an interview.

To do it right, fill in the template below:

<adjective 1> and <adjective 2> <current job title> with more than <number> years of experience in <industry 1> and <industry 2>. Strong <key strength 1> combined with the ability to <skill 1> and <skill 2>. Extensive experience of <area of expertise 1>, <area of expertise 2> and <area of expertise 3>. <Insert action connected with your achievement> resulting in <quantify success>. Currently looking to broaden experience and utilise the existing skill set in <specific industry/company/role>.*

*The last sentence is optional.

When you include relevant keywords here, it will sound something like this:

Result-oriented and driven financial analyst with more than 4 years of experience in financial planning and corporate finance. Strong analytical skills combined with the ability to identify opportunities for the improvement of financial performance. Detected company’s low-margin projects resulting in $1.7 million savings. Extensive experience in creating financial models, evaluating revenue concentration, writing monthly financial reports, and presenting the results to the senior management.


This is an example that fits well with the job description that we started with.


However, it’s important to know that when it comes to your personal statement, one size won’t fit all. You’ll need to customize this paragraph for each application.


So, don't forget to tailor this section and fill it with the same keywords that you found in the job posting for your desired position.


Depending on the key aspect of the role, customize your personal statement accordingly to highlight the most relevant experience and skills.



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3. Structure your work history

The work history or the professional experience section is the most important part of your resume.


Every word you add to the work experience section counts. Therefore, this section needs to be nothing less than perfect.

The most common (and the best) way to structure it is to apply reverse chronology, starting from your current job and then listing older ones.

For all jobs you include in your resume, you need to have the following information:

  • name of the company

  • your job title

  • time-frame (starting date - ending date)

  • description of your responsibilities

Pay close attention to the formatting. Choose one formatting style and stick to it.

For example, if you decide to write the time-frames on the right side of the page, keep them there throughout the whole resume. Don't move them to the left side or anywhere else.

Additionally, if you decide to write it in the following form:

08/2016 - 07/2019

....don't mix it with:


May 2014 - July 2016

from 2014-05-15 to 2016-07-15

or any other variation

Even though this might seem like a minor thing in your resume, paying attention to such things is the best evidence of your eye for detail, which is one of the things employers expect from the best financial analysts.


 

4. Describe your responsibilities and achievements

The key is to tailor your job descriptions to the job you are applying for and to keep only relevant information.

Going back to the job description, here is the list of responsibilities for a financial analyst:

  • Analyse financial data (1)

  • Evaluate financial performance and identify trends (2)

  • Identify opportunities for the improvement of financial status (3)

  • Research macroeconomic and microeconomic conditions (4)

  • Prepare financial models and forecast future trends and conditions (5)

  • Prepare reports and communicate the findings to senior management (6)

  • Recommend actions to improve financial performance (7)

  • Maintain up-to-date technical knowledge (8)


In your resume, you need to prove to them that you can be successful at performing all these tasks.


If you want to showcase skills they are looking for in candidates, writing a job description that looks like this won’t be enough:

Financial Analyst ABC company, 2017 - today

Key responsibilities:

  • Financial planning

  • Data analytics

  • Monthly reports


It simply doesn’t say anything about what you have done and – more importantly – what you achieved.


Instead, describe your responsibilities in this way:


Financial Analyst ABC company, 2019 - today

Key responsibilities:

  • Performed all financial analysis including annual operating plan budgets and profitability forecasts (1)

  • Identified cost reduction opportunities resulting in a 21% profit increase (3)

  • Developed detailed forecast models, improving the accuracy of long-term earnings estimates by 9% (5)

  • Gathered data and created monthly reports including cash flow and balance sheet, as well as quarterly P&L statement for the senior management to review (2 and 6)

  • Recommended and implemented new systems and policies that improved the company’s competitive position and reduced the material costs by 17% (3 and 7)


Don't worry if you can't capture all the requirements in your employment overview.


It's likely impossible, especially if you didn't have exactly the same job in the past.

Instead, sprinkle as many keywords or matching verbs from the job ad as you can all over your resume - in the personal profile section at the beginning, in the job descriptions of different roles, and in the list of your skills.

Furthermore, in the description above, you can see a few additional rules that should be applied:

a. Use bulleted lists.

b. Start each bullet point with a verb.

c. Be consistent with the tense you are using.

e. Quantify your responsibilities or achievements whenever possible.

A. USE BULLETED LISTS

Describing responsibilities in bullet points is the gold standard of resume writing.

It is much easier to highlight the relevant information in a bulleted list. Additionally, reading bulleted lists is quicker, easier and more understandable.

Write 5 to 7 bullet points for your job. As you go down memory lane and back to your older jobs, reduce the number of bullet points – two to three will be enough.

Wondering how you can describe everything you have done within 3-7 bullet points?

The key to writing strong bullet points is tailoring the descriptions to the job and including only information relevant to the job.

Think about every word and bullet point you include. Assess the value of each sentence in your resume by asking yourself if it shows valuable experience, achievement, knowledge or a skill that you could use in the job. If the answer is "no", "not sure" or "maybe", tweak it or remove it.

B. START EACH BULLET POINT WITH A VERB

Bullet points should be concise, straightforward and focused on what you did, not on what the role was about.


To write such bullet points, avoid repetitive phrases at the beginning of each bullet point, such as ‘I am responsible for/in charge of/I did’.


Also, avoid starting with nouns.


For example, if you just write ‘project management’, it won’t mean a lot to readers, as project management includes a variety of tasks and people responsible for each – from managers to administrators.


Instead, describe your responsibilities by starting bullet points with action verbs. This will help you save space and readers will save time – it’s a win-win situation for both sides.


The best action verbs to use depend on your experience and industry.


Referring to the job description for the financial analyst role, it’s obvious that you need to use power verbs that highlight your communication and interpersonal skills, organization abilities, and attentiveness to customer needs.


So, some of the action verbs in your resume should be:

  • Advised

  • Analysed

  • Calculated

  • Conducted

  • Consulted

  • Created

  • Determined

  • Developed

  • Evaluated

  • Generated

  • Identified

  • Implemented

  • Improved

  • Planned

  • Prepared

  • Recommended

  • Reported

  • Researched

  • Reviewed

  • Saved



C. BE CONSISTENT WITH THE TENSE YOU ARE USING

If you are talking about your previous employment or past achievements, use past simple tense – analysed, researched, reported. When describing your current role, use present continuous tense – preparing, identifying, planning.


D. QUANTIFY YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS (5 examples included)

Numbers help readers understand the impact you’ve made in your position; they grab attention and make resumes sound much more impressive.


If there is one thing that can make your resume outstanding, it’s quantifying your achievements.

Below you can see the same job description, without any numbers:

  • Performed all financial analysis including annual operating plan budgets and profitability forecasts (1)

  • Identified cost reduction opportunities (3)

  • Developed detailed forecast models, improving the accuracy of long-term earnings estimates (5)

  • Gathered data and created monthly reports including cash flow and balance sheet, as well as quarterly P&L statement for the senior management to review (2 and 6)

  • Recommended and implemented new systems and policies that improved the company’s competitive position and reduced the material costs (3 and 7)


It’s okay-ish, but it doesn’t sound as strong as it could.

For jobs in finance, include some of the following metrics:

  • Increase in revenue/profit

  • Improvement in accuracy

  • Enhancement of efficiency

  • Reduction of costs

  • Increase in savings



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5. Include your education

List relevant education.


Here are a few basic rules:

  • Start with your highest degree first.

  • Add other degrees in reverse-chronological order.

  • If you finished college, don’t add your high school information.

  • Add other training, qualifications or certificates only if they are relevant to the job.


What information should you include?

  • the type of degree you earned

  • your major

  • the name of your school or college

  • the year you graduated

Other information, such as GPA, should be included only if requested, or if you are a recent graduate with an impressive GPA. Otherwise, no one will pay attention to it.

Additionally, if you are currently undergoing a professional qualification, don’t forget to specify the expected date of graduation. It is important info that shouldn’t be omitted. Simply state when the expected graduation/certification date is.


 


6. List relevant skills

The skills section of your resume includes your abilities that are related to the jobs you are applying for.

This is not a mandatory part of a resume. However, if you want to highlight additional skills that you didn’t have a chance to apply or show in your previous jobs, this can be the right place.

Here are some relevant skills or other information to include in this section for a job as a financial analyst:


  • People you interact with: colleagues, senior management, etc.

  • Tools and languages used: Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), Oracle, Essbase, SAS, QlikView

  • Work produced: charts and graphs, financial models, presentations, reports, etc.

  • Projects you contributed to: building financial models, benchmarking performance, etc.



 

7. Prepare a reference list

Skip the "References available upon request" sentence at the bottom of your resume.

Employers assume you have references and will ask for them, if necessary. And the most common practice is to request a reference list at the end of the hiring process, not upfront.

However, even though you don’t need to include them in your resume, we wouldn’t recommend waiting for the last minute.


Prepare a reference list in advance, securing at least 3-5 references.

Bear in mind that references should be people who have supervised you or had a chance to collaborate with you in an academic or hands-on setting like an internship, job or volunteer position, as they can advocate about your potential for success.

In a new document (separate from your resume), sum up the following information about your references:

  • name and surname

  • their job title and company/institution

  • contact details – phone number and email address

Bonus tips:

1. Give your references a heads up

Before you add someone’s name on the list, ask your references for their approval to avoid any awkward situations.


Additionally, advise them if there is anything they need to know in case your potential employer reaches out to them to avoid any confusion (e.g. if you have changed surname in the meantime since you have worked with them or if your current employer is unaware of the fact that you are actively looking for a job, so this needs to stay confidential).

2. Match formatting style

For a polished look, use the same design and formatting style on your references list that you used for your resume. Having matching documents will help you come across as a well-prepared, detail-orientated and professional candidate.

 

8. Polish up the formatting

Up until this point, you have been working on the content of your resume.

Now let’s put a cherry on top by polishing up the layout!

Here, little things make a big difference. Choices about font, spacing, margins and alignment affect the overall impression your application makes on the hiring manager. Without the proper formatting, the content loses its edge.


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Here are some actionable tips:

A. Font


Select a professional, readable font for the body of your resume. Avoid too complex, unprofessional or hard-to-read fonts. Choose between Calibri/Calibri Light, Arial, Corbel, Cambria, Georgia, Source Sans Pro/Light.

Another factor in making your words highly readable is setting an appropriate font size. Generally, you should stay between 10 and 12 points.

B. Headings

Employers should be able to navigate through your resume with ease and they need to know where to look for specific information at first glance.

Differentiating the headings of each section in a professional way can help. You can:

● Write section letters in capital letters

● Use a “bold” font on your section headers

● Increase the size of your section header fonts to 12, 14 or 16 points

Underlining headers is also an option. However, underlined text tends to be hard to read, so we don't recommend it. In other words, it is an option, but not a good one.

C. White space

Last, but not least, an element that contributes to the readability of your resume is the amount of white space - an area of your resume that remains unused when separating sections and paragraphs of text.


Lack of sufficient white space can make your resume look cluttered and disorganised, whereas too much can leave your CV feeling bare and lacking in content.

So, to make a resume that's easy on the eye, it’s important to achieve the right balance between white space and content.

Pay attention to:

  • Spacing: If your resume looks crammed, increase the spacing between lines from 1.0 pt to 1.15 pt.

  • Margins: Margins (white space around the content) will depend on the amount of text you have. They should be between 0.5’’ to 1’’. Play around with it until you get a layout that is easy on the eye.

  • Alignment: The most common recommendation is to align your text to the left.

  • An alternative solution is to justify it (align both to the left and right distributing your text evenly in line between margins). This depends on your preferences. The only option that needs to be ruled out is centering the whole content – it’s OK for headings, but not for the body of a resume.

And that’s about it!


When done carefully, this step in creating your resume can make it stand out from the pile of other resumes - even if they all come from the world’s best sales experts.

 


SO, WHAT DID WE CREATE?