How do I write a CV for a graduate position in Financial Services?

Just finished University and looking for a job within the financial services sector?

We’ve compiled some points on what employers are looking for, how to structure your CV and what information to use to, to help you get that all important ‘foot in the door’ within the industry.

This guide is split into two parts, firstly what information to include and secondly the structure and body of the CV.

What information do I include in my CV?

It’s useful to create a list of bullet points to identify relevant information, specific to the position you’re applying for.

1) In your profile state what sector, you are looking to move into

I.E, Mortgages, Pensions, Financial Advice

2) Detail your degree, grades, University attended and dates of study

3) Note down and list modules and projects relevant to the role and include any coursework or reports that relate specifically to the position

4) Describe your dissertation, the topic, the grade and the word count

4) Include any clubs, societies, awards, sports, hobbies and achievements that you have

5) Listing any skills and systems you can use competently, such as Adobe or Microsoft Office.  Include, if relative, systems used during work experience, internship or placement

6) Describe any relevant work experience, internships or work undertaken related to your degree, field of study or the sector your applying for

7) It can also be useful to briefly mention any part-time work/jobs you had whilst at University

How do I structure my CV?

It’s important to structure your CV, so that in the initial glance, your employer or recruiter can see all the key relevant points that will prompt them to read further.

  1. Begin with your profile, writing a short summary of your current situation and what sector it is your looking to work in and any skills /experience relevant to the field and the position you’ve applied for. Use this section to promote yourself and raise interesting points!
  2. Secondly, within the format, detail your degree with the information listed above as this is the first aspect of relevance to graduate positions – including understanding and use of Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe etc
  3. The third section of your CV should then be any relevant work experience, internships, jobs etc. Include the position, dates, relevant tasks and responsibilities.
  4. Finally, include a section on extra skills, hobbies, sports, clubs, societies

Following the guide above will help employers and recruiters quickly recognise your selling points to help propel your consideration for the role.

Writing a CV for a Paraplanning Vacancy

We’ve asked our Paraplanning and Technical specialist to write key inclusion points for your CV, ensuring your competency and suitability for the role is obvious to the hirer.

One of the biggest mistakes in a Paraplanner CV is the lack of information and detail provided relating to tasks, duties, products and areas covered.

Using the steps below should help you avoid missing essential information!

What systems and tools do you use?




FE Analytics

List all of the systems you have experience using, even company-specific systems.

What products and areas do you cover?





Estate Planning

When discussing the products and areas you cover, remember and expand on this: what type of pensions/investments? etc

What ratio is this work, is it mostly pensions but aspects of investments?

I.E, Pensions knowledge in SIPP, DC, DB

Investments knowledge of ISA’s, Bonds

Ensure you cover all bases and go into detail about what it is exactly you work on and to what extent.

What is your day to day duties?

Processing new business



Servicing existing clients

Database Management

Cashflow Modelling

Report writing


Meeting and Greeting Clients

Include how much of your work is dedicated to report writing.

What Qualifications or Awards do you have?

Papers towards Level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning (Eg, RO1 – R06)


Professional Qualifications

It could also be useful to mention how many Advisers you work with if you do work with more than one.

Hopefully, some of these key points help you to discern the type of information that is sought after and required to help you progress to the interview stage!

How do I 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 the 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. When 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.