How to write a strong CV and cover letter

When applying for a new job having a strong CV is crucial to getting to the interview stage, it is essentially the first step towards setting a good first impression and being considered for the role. Showcasing your skills coherently with a tactful approach will bolster your potential and eligibility for the job.

Employers are faced with the task of having to go through countless applications in order to shortlist potential candidates. To speed up the process they will be culling unsuitable CVs by skim-reading them leaving the more qualified candidates CVs to be looked at more closely. It merely takes just a few seconds for an employer or recruiter to initially scan a CV, therefore avoid making the CV too long. Consider limiting the length of your CV to a page although more experienced candidates should have a CV of two pages.

Employers and recruiters will be looking at education, previous job titles, the skills you have obtained and whether they would be applicable to the role you are applying for. The company you previously worked for and how long you spent in your former role will also be factored into the decision making process. In addition, being bilingual or multilingual can also prove to be a strong advantage when seeking a new role. The languages you speak should also be included on your CV as this is likely to impress any firm dealing with international clients.


Organising your CV

How clear and well-structured your CV is may indicate to the reader how organised and efficient you might be as an employee. Good presentation and a simple format will make your CV attractive for the reader to look at. Avoid company logos and unnecessary jargon, instead employ the use of key words, headings, clear bullet points and carefully considered opening sentences. It is also a good idea to include lingo that shows that you understand the industry you are applying to. Avoid sentences that are too long and make your point clear and concise.


Personal Details

Your personal details should be clearly stated at the top of your CV, these should only include your first and last name followed by an email address and a phone number which includes the country dialling code. Do not include a photograph of yourself or a mailing address.



Your academic background is a key section on your CV along with your professional experience. Degree qualifications that are most recent and relevant should be mentioned first. Include the name of the academic institution you attended in bold letters followed by the title of your qualification, then proceed with stating your grade/GPA. If you have any other qualifications or accreditations that are relevant to the position you are applying for (such as RICS, CFA, ACCA etc.)  list them at the end of this section of your CV.


Professional Experience

In this section state your employment history. Dates of employment should be consistent and in reverse chronological order. Each role you include should draw relevance to the job you are applying for in terms of skills, experience and expertise. In bold letters state the name of the company you worked for and the location. Include the month and the year that you started and finished the position.
For each role, in bullet points state the responsibilities held and tasks you undertook and use language that indicates your achievements in relation to these. Employ the use of descriptive words such as ‘delivered’ or ‘achieved’ and action verbs including ‘assessed’ and ‘analysed’ etc. Also, include phrases that illustrate your technical skills such as ‘communicating’ and ‘performing’. Vague phrases and clichés such as ‘passionate’ or ‘dynamic’ should be avoided as they are outdated and hold little value. A CV is about content; each bullet point should indicate that you have developed the right skillset for the role you are applying for.
Remember, your CV needs to be concise. Avoid adding too much detail to your CV as you’ll need substance at the interview stage, this is when you will have the opportunity to go into depth about your skills and experience.

More experienced workers who have held senior positions should ensure that their CV is well written and up to date. It is important that the more seasoned candidate is following the recruiter protocol of a modern CV. When leaving a company outside competition can be very tough, they’ll need to show key skills obtained as a senior professional including leadership or strategic skills.


Additional Information

 In this section you can include any additional languages you speak and state your level of proficiency. Only include languages that you are fluent or intermediate in. Other information you can add in this section are your IT skills, though only include those that are relevant to the role you are applying for. Any information you provide may be tested at some stage of the interview process.

Finally, you may wish to include an ‘Interests’ section. For example, you may play a sport and belong to a club and perhaps you have taken part in competitions, if so, include this on your CV. Such interests demonstrate your competitiveness and give an indication of who you are outside of your job. Ultimately, this section is an opportunity to make a positive lasting impression and might indicate to the employer whether culturally you’ll be a good fit for the team.


Extra Advice for Investment Professionals

For investment professionals, examples of deal highlights should be included on your CV to show your accomplishments. Pick the best deals you have worked on that demonstrate your contribution to generating the most revenue or where your input had a significant impact. Alternatively, you may want to create a “deal sheet” which you can submit with your CV providing you have worked on enough successful deals. Not only does a deal sheet give a potential employer a clear record of your performance but it is also a good way for you to keep track of your accomplishments and getting you to reflect upon what you have done. Creating a clear and simple deal sheet is a good exercise in preparing you for your interview.


The Cover Letter

A CV should not be submitted without a well-structured, personalised cover letter giving the reader an impression of who you are as an individual. You should include a brief introduction of yourself and what you have most recently been doing. Also explain why you are interested in working for the company and why you are specifically suited for the role outlining your relevant experiences and applicable or transferable skills. The key is to stand out from the crowd.

Make sure you read the company website so that you understand their key principles, reflect the company tone by using their language in your cover letter. Explain why the company stands out to you. Finally, don’t forget to check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors before submitting your cover letter along with your CV – any blunders will show a lack of care and attention to detail, two crucial qualities required when working in investment fields. A well-written cover letter will leave a positive and lasting impression to the reader.

Share this advice

Related Advice

Easy apply for this position

Send us your job details and we publish it for you!