With relatively high turnover, retail-banking jobs are a good way to break into a management position. But to get the attention of a hiring manager, your resume must cover all the necessary checkpoints.
Before you press the send button, make sure you understand how you present yourself, says Navneet Arora, head of talent management and recruiting at Bank of the West in San Francisco, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas. "There is greater competition today so red flags are scrutinized more than five years ago," Arora says. For example, "if an individual has changed jobs too often or has moved for lateral or lower jobs, these would weed them out of the process."
Eager to land a retail banking role? Here's what to include on your resume:
Stress Customer Service
As ATMs have replaced many of the routine bank functions, customers who meet with a bank employee are looking for an even higher degree of customer service. Before granting an interview, hiring managers want to be sure you can deal with demanding customers. "Customer service is the true differentiator," says Arora. "Retail bankers [should] know their customers, recognize their needs and offer the right resources, [which] helps ensure the customer gets what they need."
Include Unrelated Retail Experience
Even if your previous retail experience was not in banking, list it on your resume. "A common mistake is not including former retail experience," says Christina Anderson, a recruiter at U.S. Bank, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp in Minneapolis. Similarly, mentioning less-recent experience can also help your candidacy. "Applicants should include working in a sales environment for a retail store even if it was more than 10 years ago," she adds.
Speak in Numbers
In order to carefully assess candidates, recruiters scour resumes and look for comparable metrics, which allow them to more fairly compare similar candidates. To boost your chances for an interview, include quantitative information on metrics where you've excelled. For example, "if you are looking for a sales- or production-related job, give specifics on your top two to three metrics, such as loan production and number of accounts opened," Arora suggests. Use bullet points under each employer to highlight these types of accomplishments.
Spotlight Industry Involvement
A resume shouldn't be entirely focused on prior experience. In fact, most successful candidates use the resume to convey that they're genuinely interested in the industry. Retail bankers should list non-work-related experience like affiliations with the American Banking Association or the Banking Research Institute along with any banking or personal finance related volunteer work, suggests Debra Ann Matthews, a resume writer in Clarksville, Tenn.
Tout Empathy When Problem-Solving
Especially during years of financial turmoil, a key skill to highlight is that you're sensitive and empathetic to what your customers are going through, Arora says. "With high unemployment, foreclosures and the financial crisis, customers want their banking interactions to be made easy and not stressful," he explains. Use the experience section to point out any relevant examples of how you've been able to deal sensitively with customers or build long-term relationships.
Highlight Tech Knowledge
These days, more hiring managers are searching for tech-savvy candidates, so be sure to list any relevant technical knowledge or earned certifications under the skills or education section. In addition, candidates should use the experience section to show how they've empowered customers to "use financial tools that include calculators, simulators and modelers demonstrating various product financial outcomes," suggests Gladys Kartin, a New York-based career coach. Along with your resume, updated profiles on LinkedIn or even a work-appropriate Twitter account can go a long way in demonstrating your tech knowledge is up-to-date.
Use the Job Description as a Guide
Not all retail-banking jobs are created equal, so it's important to scour each job posting for any other relevant details that you need to include, suggests Cheryl Palmer, president of Call to Career, a Washington, D.C.-based executive coaching firm. "Recruiters are ideally looking for a 100% match between the requirements of the position and the candidate's qualifications." When reading the job ad, highlight any keywords or concepts that truly match your experience and be sure they also appear on your resume.
Keep it Simple
Candidates interested in a customer-facing banking role should aim to put together an uncluttered document that's a maximum of two pages and written in a chronological format, says Arora. "Don't focus on how many keywords you have in your resume, rather, put the emphasis on your relevant accomplishments and experiences," he suggests.
There's also no need for an objective at the top of the resume, adds Anderson. Use the allotted space instead to detail any specific accomplishments throughout the document.
Write to Alina Dizik at email@example.com.