How to adapt your CV for financial services jobs in the UK, France, and Germany

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As an international financial services jobs site, with international financial services jobseekers, we feel we ought to be giving you a bit of a steer when it comes to tailoring your CV for jobs outside your home country.

There are distinct similarities in what's expected in different jurisdictions (brevity is almost always good), but there are also distinct variations (Germans like photographs, UK recruiters don't).

For your information, therefore, here's how you need to adapt your CV if you're applying for jobs in the City of London, Paris, or Frankfurt...

UK CVs

How long

"No more than 1-2 pages," says Linda Jackson, MD of the City practice at Fairplace (an outplacement firm). "Focus on the last 10 years," she adds. "Keep the rest as one-liners."

"You can either go for a one or two page CV," says Janet Moran at CV writing company the CV House. "One page CVs are good for a speculative approach. Two pages CVs are good if you're applying for a specific job or following up in more detail."

Layout?

If you're sending in a one page CV, Moran advises that you lay it out in the form of bullet points with your top five or six achievements from the past 10 years, followed by a short career history (job titles and employer dates and brief information describing your responsibilities).

"You need to be very succinct. Use no more than three lines for each bullet point," she adds.

If you've got a two page CV, lay it out in reverse chronological order, advises Moran. "Always start with professional experience, rather than academic qualifications," she says.

If you've been working for a long time, Moran advises to give a more detailed account of recent jobs, but to summarise those in the distant past. "You can add a list saying 'Pre-1995, roles with organisations x.y,z', she advises.

Linda Jackson says the way you layout your CV will depend upon how recently you left education - if you're a recent graduate, put your education at the top.

Should you include your photo?

No. Photos are not standard on UK CVs, although you may be asked for one for identification purposes.

Should you include your age?

No. Although Linda Jackson says you might want to include your age if you're under 35.

Other weird anomalies

If you're applying in the UK, remember to use UK rather than American English.

Some UK CVs include a 'testimonial' or introductory statement at the start. If you choose to include one, Moran says you should focus on achievements rather than opinions. "You need to say, 'Senior equity derivatives salesperson with strong UK corporate client base and experience at leading institutions,' not just, 'Great team player with excellent client rapport," she says.

German CVs

How long

2-3 pages.

Layout?

Traditionally Germans tended to organize their CVs chronologically, but internationally standards are taking hold, and it's becoming more common to begin with your current job and work backwards.

Should you include your photo?

Germans are keen on CVs with photographs, although this is no long mandatory.

Should you include your age?

Yes.

Should you provide your CV in English?

You only have to send an English CV if it is explicitly indicated in the ad or if the ad is in English.

Other weird anomalies

Jörg Fricke, a partner at recruitment firm Fricke Finance & Legal says candidates in Germany tend not to describe their current role in much detail on their CV because they've already mentioned it on their covering letter. However, he cautions against this, as readers of CVs will not always read covering letters.

Fricke also advises writing your email-address and mobile phone number on each page of your CV.

French CVs

How long

Jane Bamford, regional director of Hays Banking in France says the idea length is two pages.

Should you include your photo?

Yes, French recruiters like a photograph on CVs.

Should you include your age?

No.

Should you provide your CV in English?

If the role you're applying for is in France, but requires English, Jane Bamford, head of banking at Hays Finance in France, says you should provide a copy of your CV in French and English.

Other weird anomalies

Bamford says French CVs should start with a heading defining what the person is. For example, she suggests something along the lines of, "Credit Risk Specialist," followed by two or three lines specifying who you are - eg. "Credit Risk Specialist; BA Economics plus Master in Finance; 5 years experience in leading Investment Bank; fluent in English and French. Looking for new challenge in International Environment."

Finally, you don't need to mention references on French CVs.

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