How to write a Mortgage CV; Hints Tips and Common Mistakes

Firstly, your name and personal details should be some of the smallest writing on the CV. The recruiter isn’t interested in your contact details they’re interested in your skills and experience. Yes, you need to put your details on, but it shouldn’t look like your advertising a blockbuster movie. However, … Your skills and experience relevant to the role you are applying for are!

Add a punchy, relevant profile at the top of the CV highlighting what you do and how well you do it. It’s the first thing recruiters, look for. It determines how far into your cv is read.

Check for grammar and spellings. BASIC!! But all too often forgotten. It doesn’t matter what role you are applying for. Bad spelling and grammar are inexcusable while using a PC.

Avoid long lengthy paragraphs. Break text up.

Describe your duties and your achievements of your most recent role. To simply say you were a Mortgage Broker between these dates for this company says nothing.

Did you ‘complete a fact find’ or did you ‘effectively ask open and closed questions to ascertain the clients personal and financial situation to enable me to make a suitable and affordable recommendation to cover their wants and needs’.

State what levels of business did you write in the last 12-month period? Don’t know? Then find out. Your recruiter wants to know and so will your prospective employer. If your figures aren’t that great, then explain why… What’s your penetration rate, conversion rate, your average LTV, your average fee per case… all this is excellent sales information to a new employer, and it highlights to the recruiter who is actually writing business and who’s just after a new job.

What have been your career achievements? No matter how big or small, your CV is your chance to shine. Keep older job descriptions smaller.

Get yourself on LinkedIn. It’s your social media CV and should match exactly.

What not to do…

Add a picture

Use a silly email address

Use crazy colours

Use a skills graph

List your job with the oldest one at the start. It needs to be chronological (current job first) and make sure job gaps are explained

Use an unclear font. This is not acceptable…

Apply for a job that you clearly have no skill set, experience or desire for just because it’s a higher salary or closer to home!

How to Write a CV for a Pensions Administrator Role

Applying for a Pensions/Senior Pensions Administrator Role? We’ve identified some key points to include in your CV to help your application stand out from the crowd.

  1. It’s important to always remember to include the type of scheme that you work on in your CV, whether it’s, Defined Benefit, Defined Contribution, CARE, Hybrid, GPP, SIPP or SSAS. That way, when searching for your new role, a recruiter can quickly identify which role you would be best suited to.
  2. An extension of this is to include the size of scheme that you work on; is it small, medium or large? Is it your own portfolio or is it shared within the team? How many schemes do you look after? This information helps to establish your abilities and the level your working at and where your progression is heading.
  3. Whe writing your CV, it’s key to remember to include your primary responsibilities; Do you work on new joiners, leavers, deaths, retirals, transfers?  Including this shows the recruiter the range of administration tasks that you are competent with.
  4. Do you do any additional project work? If you do, add this to your CV! Any additional work is a great way to quickly show your competency in managing extra projects. Do you work on GMP Reconciliation, renewals, pension increases? Or do you help with staff training and management duties? Although these details may seem minor or lesser in comparison to other responsibilities, it shows prospective employers you are willing to take on extra tasks outside the norm and can manage an increased workload.
  5. Who are your main client points of contact? If you talk with IFA’s, employers, trustees or scheme members, include this information. It highlights your ability to communicate with a range of different third parties and create and maintain important relationships.
  6. Finally, what systems do you use? Profound, Altair, Aquila, Excel? Your understanding of how to use the systems can show prospective employers what you can currently utilise and what you may need to be trained on. Not all pension firms use the same systems, so it’s useful to know.

Finally, we’ve identified some common mistakes often found in CV’s when applying for pension administrator roles, all of which are easy to fix and improve before submitting your application!

  1. You forget to include enough detail regarding the size and types of schemes in the CV/you forget to include it at all.
  2. Your detail describing daily tasks is limited and could be expanded.
  3. The systems (such as Profound, Altair, Aquila) you’re familiar with isn’t listed on your CV.
  4. And a final common mistake is general untidiness and no start and end dates with past employers!
The Dawn of the CV

The ease of the internet has brought about the ability to type into a Google any job title and within seconds and a few quick clicks of a button you can send your CV into any job, role and database.

But competition now is probably fiercer than it was before, the internet allowing candidates from anywhere with all levels and types of ability to apply. Not only has the stretch of location allowed the competition to increase, but the mere design of your CV can influence the decision on whether it’s even read, never mind the consideration of your talents required for the job role.

Before the complete digitisation of the recruitment process, jobs would usually be advertised through word of mouth and localised to the area. So where does the CV come into play? When and why did we start writing down all our most notable achievements in an attempt to glamour our way into our dream career?

It’s thought that Leonardo Da Vinci was the first person to create a variation of what we know today as the CV; in 1482 Da Vinci hand wrote all his skills and talents in address to the Duke of Milan to join the military as an engineer. It’s interesting to see that despite the near 500-year difference the fundamental information included is still relatively similar. A copy of his resume and translation can be found here,

Jumping forward to the 1950’s and CV’s have become a formalised and expected addition in the job-hunting process, requiring such information as to your religion, weight and marital status. A somewhat personal requirement in order to shortlist able candidates; as companies limited themselves based on the belief that aesthetics equate to competency.

The following years saw a progression of information and a personalisation of the CV to include hobbies and interests, offering employers a glimpse into the candidates’ real personality. And in 1984 ‘How to write your CV’ was published, offering the yuppie of the 80’s a clear guide on how to write their way into their dream career. 

The 90’s came and with it the internet, job hunting just expanded and grew in a way that had never been considered before. The availability and advertisement of vacancies unleashed a new way of recruiting and finding talent, with companies beginning to cast their net so much further than the use of traditional media would ever allow. And the initially simple CV has had to grow with these constant advancements to keep up with the sheer volume of talented, capable individuals all fighting for their chance to be seen and heard. The modern-day CV must now incorporate an abundance of information in the most precise and distinct way to make it past the 2 seconds it takes a recruiter to analyse your worth and competency. And the amount of material available to help you write your CV is so colossal; it can be difficult to sift through and judge what information and format will be the most effective and successful.

So, how do you write the best CV? After reviewing the history, the adaptations and changes it seems there might not be any right answer and unfortunately, it’s subjective to each hirer. However, to use a recruitment agency can remove a lot of the uncertainties on the structure, format and body of the CV. Recruitment agencies will usually have a strong and long lasting relationship with their client and when you work with a recruitment consultant, they can extract the information necessary and present it to hirers in a way that sometimes isn’t possible without inside knowledge of the industry. 

AI won’t replace the service of quality recruiters any time soon!

AI in recruitment is a hot topic with the possibilities seeming infinite and endless, with the promise of shortening screening times, scanning candidates, reviewing CV’s more quickly to key match words with job specs; finding both the client and candidate the perfect career and employee.

One of the early moves towards AI is the use of chatbots. It’s been suggested that they could be used to initially screen candidates; finding out key information from the uploading of a CV, creating candidate profiles and shortlisting applicants. It’s thought that the use of them is more efficient in terms of real time updates, feedback and the availability of answering questions. The aim is to create an efficient relationship with candidates through the chatbots, as they ‘learn’ how to identify priority candidates and even the best time and means to reach them. This seems incredibly efficient & very seamless; knowing how and when to always reach candidates and the laborious task of CV writing, shortlisting and scheduling fulfilled by a machine counterpart.

Although no one will disagree that the removal of monotonous tasks will free up valuable time to speak with candidates and clients, the removal of the initial personal process of phoning candidates is too important to not be personal. A skilled recruiter uses that first conversation to extract the relevant information which isn’t always on the CV, there is no standard way to write a CV and even candidates forget the most necessary information.

It’s important to talk through and establish what the candidate is looking for and how they feel about different options. Through a simple open-ended conversation, a recruiter could gather information that a chatbot couldn’t; a conversation and understanding which can be more complex that a standardised set of questions. The quality recruiter can also professionally and delicately point the candidate in a different direction and suggest other ideas, a potentially un-programmable ability to spot a great potential candidate and fit them to the right role.  Then there’s the composing of a profile for submission to the client, which for a skilled recruiter is an art, not just a reworking of words.

It’s also worth noting the chatbot experience itself from a candidate view point. It can feel impersonal and as if the information you submit isn’t really going anywhere. I think what is important to consider is the process the candidate will undertake to engage with your recruitment transaction. Do candidates want to be greeted by a chatbot, with a set code of generic and general questions to get basic details?

The process of looking for a new job can often make you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere, many applications sent out, yet nothing back. A specialist and experienced recruitment consultant will offer a sense of guidance through the process, a further understanding on what you’re looking for and what the client requires, in order to fill the role so both parties are happy. The chatbot initial screening and questions would just be another way of sending your CV onto a generic jobsite, the opposite of what is expected and wanted when choosing to work with a recruitment consultant.

The intentions of AI are clear, in terms of a chatbot service the economic and time saving benefits it could bring. But when candidates choose to work with a recruitment consultancy, one of the main premises of this is the human aspect, getting through to someone, the feeling of progress it can offer in the process of job hunting. Replacing the initial stage of this with a chatbot will only create a frustrating stage of un-personalisation found with submitting CV’s into large recruitment databases. Chatbots to many seem a sure-fire way to lose valuable candidates!
Counter Offer and why you shouldn’t take it!

It often happens that after being offered a new job, your current employer decides that they don’t want to lose you.  It is important to remember and consider that when this happens, it is often in the company’s best interests for you to stay.

It can be easy to be charmed by the counter offer and the sense of significance its offering holds; however, the company is more than likely to be considering the cost of your replacement than they are valuing your worth. This is even more likely within financial services where each job is industry knowledge and experience based.  The cost of training and replacing a new recruit can cost more than 213% of the annual salary. The counter offer is often given as it is simply economically more viable for you to stay.

Here are more reasons why you should think twice before accepting that counter-offer.

  1. Why did you want to leave in the first place?

It is important to remember the reasons that pushed you to search for a new role, consider these other aspects; whether this is the environment, lack of progression or the work itself.

A brief search of counter offer statistics and the results are awash with articles stating that 80% of employees who accept the offer then leave within the following six months, an important figure to consider!

2. Have you just had your salary review in advance?

The counter offer has probably just removed your next salary review. Accepting a counter-offer is likely to have an impact on any salary reviews that were scheduled or would have happened within a reasonable timescale. Perhaps worth noting that your employer hasn’t considered your worth in relation to pay already!

3. What is the effect on trust?

The trust between you and your employer is possibly now under stress, it’s now well-known that you had planned and wanted to leave. This may leave a lasting and notable effect on the relationship you have with management and colleagues.

4. Will you be considered for promotions in the future?

When company reviews, promotions and restructures are being considered and you have sought to move on, where does this now leave you in the office and team dynamic?

5. Embrace new opportunities!

Accept and push yourself towards new opportunities, personal and professional development. Does your new role offer new opportunities or progression in your field? If you were planning to move already, then use this move as an opportunity to improve and expand your knowledge, don’t let financials hold you back!

To Summarise

The JohnstonGreer advice when resigning is to always try to leave on a positive note and the best terms as possible, equally don’t be blinded by the monetary element of a counter-offer, which is only ever one factor.

JohnstonGreer is a recruitment agency that specialises in the Actuarial, Insurance, Mortgage, Pension and Wealth sectors.

Preparing for your interview

There are many “Guides to interviewing” and “Tips for succeeding in your interview” available and some are very useful with good advice. At JohnstonGreer we have added some new ideas that may be a bit different from the usual tips found elsewhere. Remember, the number one point regarding an interview is that you should always be yourself so these ideas are only for those comfortable using them! So, now that you have polished your shoes and got there early please see if any of these ideas are useful – Read more