You’ve been analyzing finances for a while now, but maybe you want a change of scenery, or perhaps you want to analyze finances for a different type of business.
That’s perfectly normal. And in an industry where job prospects are increasing more rapidly than most other industries, there is certainly scope for a change.
But to get your perfect job, you’re going to need a compelling resume that gets you that all-important interview. We are here to show you how.
Resume objective for a financial analyst
Like most educational institutions, the Career Center at Tufts University in Massachusetts emphasizes that your resume should highlight your strongest assets and achievements to differentiate you from other job applicants.
They liken it to a marketing brochure about the person described in the resume and emphasize that the main purpose of a resume is to get an interview for the job you are applying for.
They also draw attention to the importance of using action verbs when you describe your skills and achievements.
Action verbs relevant to financial skills include words like analyzed, allocated, audited, budgeted, calculated, developed, forecasted, managed, researched, pitched, and projected.
Your resume alone isn’t going to get you hired, but it’ll help you get a foot in the door. But, as the folks at Tufts say, you’re going to need to survive the human scan and quite likely an electronic scan too.
Employers scan through resumes so quickly you’ve only got about 30 seconds to grab their attention.
Many use software that picks up keywords, automatically accepting or rejecting the resume.
A good way to meet both challenges is to include a short, pertinent objective or summary at the top of your resume.
Financial analyst with seven years of experience and a mission to use my revenue analysis and budgeting skills to decrease expenditures and increase company revenue.
Resume skills for a financial analyst
According to Robert Half, a specialized international recruitment company, there are 10 top skills that a financial analyst absolutely must have. And if you don’t have these (or at least some of them), the chances are your resume won’t reach the top of the pile!
While not a skill, they put a formal accounting qualification at the top of the list. The reason isn’t rocket science! Any career in finance is governed by rigid standards and restrictions as commercial best-practices.
A glowing resume will help, but unless you have the qualifications you aren’t going to cut it.
But if you do, and you have these skills, you’re heading towards the career of your dreams.
Interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate helps to form relationships, get and keep clients, and generally make it in the industry. If you can speak the language to the people who matter, you’re already halfway up the ladder of success.
The ability to analyze, carry on accurate financial reporting, and solve problems is vital. You also need to have a good, solid knowledge of IT software, some management experience, and commercial acumen.
If you have a decent capacity for innovation in finance and accounting, you’re made – or at least you have the ability to get there.
Collecting, tracking, analyzing data | Forecasting | Financial planning, modeling, and reporting | Budget management | Variance analysis | Communication | Interpersonal skills | Problem-solving
Financial analyst work experience
In broad terms, financial analysts help businesses and individuals make investment and other financial decisions. To do this, they study business and economic trends and need to be able to evaluate current and historical financial data.
They examine a company’s financial statements to determine the value of the business and gain better insight by communicating with company officials in meetings and on site.
But job opportunities differ. So will work experience.
For instance, some financial analysts focus on evaluating investment opportunities, either on the buy-side, advising where money could be invested, or on the sell-side, to increase profits by selling stocks, bonds, and other investments.
In your previous position or positions, you probably focused on a specific industry, product, or geographic area so will have experience analyzing the effect of trends on that industry, area, or product.
The work experience you list in your resume will highlight your areas of expertise.
If you specialized, you might be a risk or ratings analyst, or perhaps a fund or portfolio manager. Even if you are applying for a job in a different sphere of interest or specialty, you will need to show how your previous experience dovetails with the new job you are applying for.
Sample Work Experience
MicroStrategy Incorporated, VA
Financial Analyst, 2018 – 2020
Positioned in the company as a trusted advisor to the business. Focused on reviewing organizational performance and communicating key insights to executive staff.
- Reviewed financial and operational metrics to identify trends and highlight issues, and ultimately produce plans that resulted in the profitable growth of 15%.
- Participated actively in stakeholder meetings to be able to provide objective advice through a financial lens that could improve business outcomes.
- Developed comprehensive performance analyses of business operations, and put data models and analytics in place to provide an effective platform for strategic decision-making.
- Identified more than 30 projects that required financial and/or strategic analysis.
- Helped to drive cross-departmental process improvements and transparency.
Precoat Metals, MO
Financial Analyst, 2017 – 2018
Used my strategic mindset and exceptional work ethic to develop highly analytical financial reports. Work included benchmarking, modeling and investment decisions, continuous improvement initiatives, and best practices.
- Acted as the key business partner to operations, commercial, human resources, management information services, and finance.
- Assisted with contract negotiations for customer, vendor, labor, warehouse, and natural gas contracts.
- Appointed the primary point of contact for the regional general manager on all topics related to finance.
- Handled complex, high-level financial analyses including various what-if scenarios, return-on-investment, and both capital and investment justifications.
Miller Coors, VA
Financial Analyst, 2015 – 2016
Worked in the Shenandoah Brewery as part of the brewery finance team. Provided financial support by providing accounting, budgeting, and control policies, as well as procedures and policies.
- Prepared and reported Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), as well as SOX Act compliance and data integrity.
- Prepared, maintained, and periodically reviewed financial performance with the company’s customer departments.
- Executed month-end closing responsibilities to ensure that income statements and balance sheets were 100% correct.
- Supported and facilitated monthly forecast processes and the annual financial planning process.
Financial analyst education
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, most financial analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree. However, when we sampled real job postings, we found that a fair number of employers are happy with an associate’s degree as long as it is combined with several years of experience in the field.
Occasionally, employers do prefer candidates with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, as is the case with the job posting we have featured in the financial analyst sample resume below.
If you have done a certificate program in accounting, you might get an accounting-related job, although not a position as a financial analyst.
But then, by pursuing relevant additional courses, and getting valuable work experience, you might be able to work your way up to the position of junior financial analyst, and eventually get a more senior job.
Appropriate fields of study for any degree include finance, economics, math, accounting, and/or statistics.
University of San Diego
Bachelor of Accountancy, 2012 – 2015
- Secondary emphasis in Finance
If you opt for certification (see below), you will find that many universities and colleges offer courses that will help prepare you for the exams. They also offer Continuing Professional Education (CPE) courses that are required to maintain certification.
One of the most popular certifications is offered by the CFA Institute, which governs the requirements for CPE for CFA certification.
The CFA also offers a free Professional Learning (PL) program to their members that result in official credits.
Content of PL courses helps financial analysts and other financial and accounting professionals stay current in the areas of professional conduct and ethics, as well as standards, laws, and regulations.
Additionally, they offer an Investment Foundations Program online for its members that results in a certificate.
The Corporate Finance Institute (CFI), which also offers certification, is a leading global provider of online financial modeling and valuation courses.
Their financial analyst training courses cover important topics for careers in financial planning and analysis, investment banking, corporate development, private equity, equity research, and other areas of corporate finance.
They have free courses that are intended for beginners, as well as intermediate and advanced courses that they charge for.
Lorman Education Services also offers on-demand training that includes CPE credits.
Only list courses if they are relevant to the job you are applying for, or certification that you have listed.
- Ethics for the Investment Management Profession
- Best Practices and Regulatory Issues
- Establishment of Company Financial Reporting Standards
- Accounting Fundamentals (beginners)
- Reading Financial Statements (beginners)
- Introduction to Corporate Finance (beginners)
- Cash Flow Cycles and Analysis (Intermediate)
- Advanced Financial Modeling & Valuation
The not-for-profit, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the principal licensing organization for the securities industry.
If a financial analyst is going to be selling financial products a license is normally required. But because employers generally sponsor licenses for financial analysts, they don’t expect employees to have a license before starting a new job.
We sampled dozens of posts for senior financial analysts and relatively few of them called for certification. However, there is no doubt the certification adds credibility, and because of continuing education, it helps to ensure you keep up to date with economic and business trends and changes in legislation.
The CFA Institute offers certification for financial analysts, provided they have a bachelor’s degree and at least four years of qualified work experience. There are three exams involved in certification.
Additionally, financial analysts can be certified in a field of specialty. For example, the CFA’s Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) leads to certification.
The CFI offers Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA) certification.
In addition to requiring a financial analyst to be certified and/or licensed, employers sometimes specify that applicants must be bondable.
According to Surety Solutions, the easiest way to get bonded is with a surety bond that covers anyone you enter into contractual agreements with. If you don’t keep your end of the contract they can file a claim against your bond and get compensation.
Complete financial analyst resume sample
When we sampled numerous job postings for financial analysts, we kept our eyes out for a job opportunity that we could use for a resume sample, to show you how to tailor a resume to a specific job application.
The one below is the one that we selected.
This job is for a large manufacturing company in the aero-industry, advertised by University Swaging, a unique billion-dollar machining, swaging, and assembly center.
The duties and responsibilities of the position are clearly listed.
Candidates will need to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance, although an MBA is preferred.
Plus they want someone who has experience in an industrial or manufacturing environment. And they are looking for someone who has worked in an accounting, finance, or analytical position.
They also want someone who is licensed.
The skills they want you to have are clear. Can you match your skills to those that they want? That is the main challenge when you prepare your resume.
Self-motivated, proactive financial analyst with more than five years of experience helping companies save money. Licensed, with a Master of Business Administration. Expert in financial and ERP systems. Thorough knowledge and understanding of the SOX Act.
Financial reporting | Analysis of data | Budget management | Forecasting | ERP systems | Management of fixed assets | Financial research | SOX compliance | Verbal and written communication | Computer skills | Problem-solving
K2 Sport, WA
Financial Analyst, 2018 – 2020
Managed the corporate financial planning and budgeting process. Delivered impactful financial reports and performed all core accounting duties. Presented insightful financial and cost-saving analyses.
- Responsible for budgeting and forecasting for the K2 business and manufacturing unit. Exceeded goals by 10%.
- Performed strategic routine and ad-hoc, value-add financial analysis.
- Supported monthly accounting close by preparing, reviewing, and approving journal entries.
- Supported the development of overall financial and business strategies for the company.
- Partnered very effectively with other teams and leaders within K2.
Multicare Health System, WA
Financial Analyst, 2016 – 2017
Gathered and analyzed data to support the organization’s finance, monthly accounting closing, and annual budget process. Provided senior analysts, managers, and directors with accurate and objective analyses.
- Undertook ongoing financial analysis and support.
- Provided support for billing, cash, and collection activities.
- Undertook significant data analysis that required independent decision making.
- Worked with Word, Outlook, and Excel.
eCommerce Development Summer Internship, 2013
Undertook a work assignment in the Peterbilt truck division. Integrated into division and department meetings, activities, and events. Presented my accomplishments to senior management at the end of the internship.
- Identified trends in retail sales through eCommerce.
- Helped to identify trends in customer usage for marketing technology programs.
- Reported on opportunities for growth in both areas, all of which were acted on.
- Received a merit award for my end-of-internship presentation.
University of the Potomac
Master of Business Administration, 2015
University of the Potomac
Bachelor of Science in Accounting, 2011 – 2014
- Global Investment Performance Standards (2019)
When you prepare your resume for a new job as a financial analyst, pay careful attention to the job description and requirements of the employer. You need to show how the skills and abilities you have, and work experience and achievements you boast, will add value to the position.
- You don’t have to include an objective statement, but it’s a good way to get the attention of those who are quickly assessing applicant resumes to see which people should be interviewed for the job. You need the interview to get your foot in the door.
- Action verbs and keywords that you spot on the employer’s website or in the job posting typically get picked up by software that many companies rely on to do the first check through resumes. But, when recruitment officers or hiring managers scan through resumes manually, they pick these words up too. So include them in your resume where you can – particularly in the objective and skills sections.
- Some jobs require certification, others don’t. But it is generally accepted that certification increases the credibility of applicants because they are required to continue learning and stay abreast of trends and changes in legislation.
Tips from Experts
“Searching for a job starts with having a good resume. Your resume is your calling card. Many financial firms and corporate entities use the Internet to screen potential applicants, so it is imperative that the resume for a financial analyst accurately reflect goals and experience. The best way to communicate goals on a resume is through the use of an objective statement.” – Adele Burney, Financial Analyst, Fidelity National Information Services since 2007
“Like all companies, financial institutions expect a resume that is clear, concise, easily “skimmable,” and free of typos. There are some additional items financial institutions expect such as SAT scores, details on any financial transactions you have been involved with, and a line for you to list your interests. Choose interesting interests, but make sure you are truly interested because you will be asked.” – Tufts Career Center
“Financial analyst jobs are highly valued for the training, prestige, and future opportunities they provide. They are widely sought by the most competitive students from all over the world. They also pay very well (for 22 year-olds). But they do come with an expectation of 80-100 hour workweeks and a total immersion in the firm that allows very little time for developing a “real life.” It has been this way since anyone can remember.” – Charles Murphy and Roy Smith, former investment bankers who now teach finance at NYU Stern School of Business in the US
You are applying for a new job to improve your career prospects and/or earn more money. You have financial and accounting skills that will help you get the job. But you need to market yourself actively to make sure your resume stands on the pile.
We have provided you with tips and ideas to make your resume a winner. Use these to get yourself where you want to be.