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If you have a question for our Career Coach, e-mail Helen at careers@ReConnectAfrica.com

ImageDear Helen,

My background is in Engineering and I have managed some major engineering projects for an international engineering firm.

I have just completed an MBA degree in Finance and want to change careers. My intention is to target a job in the City of London to gain some experience before returning to Nigeria. My CV doesn’t look like the CV for a typical banker and before I start sending it out, I would like some advice on how to present it.

Henry S., London

Hi Henry,

The key to getting an interview is ensuring that the information you put on your CV is both relevant to your career objective and likely to be of interest to a potential employer. 

As an Engineer, you will have many of the competencies and skills that will be useful in banking but you will need to organise the information well and to make these skills explicit to improve your chance of getting a job interview. 

  • You should consider carefully the kind of CV layout that will help you get your message across.  In your case, I would suggest a skills CV which presents you as someone with a specific range of skills or competencies. In this way, you will emphasis what you can offer an employer, rather than the positions in which you acquired these skills.

  • Avoid detailed descriptions of your previous jobs, as they are not relevant to the market you are targeting.

  • Think about a profile or objective statement with which to start your CV.  Phrased carefully, for example, ‘An MBA Finance professional with 8 years management experience seeking….’, this is an extremely useful way of introducing yourself to potential employers.

  • Consider the key skills needed for the role you are targeting and think about the achievements in your work and academic experience that will support this.

  • Highlight your relevant skills for the banking and finance sector; your analytical skills, numerical skills, financial analysis skills, client management and team skills.  Depending on the job you are targeting, think about ways of highlighting your negotiating, influencing and decision making skills.

  • You will have gained some valuable skills from managing international projects and supervising people.  State your relevant achievements and how these demonstrate any required management and supervisory experience and the ability to meet deadlines

  • Highlight your commercial awareness through evidence of successful budget management skills

  • Your MBA will have given you valuable insights into financial tools, techniques and methodologies.  Include details of any relevant modules in your MBA that are relevant to the role you are targeting.

Make sure that the skills and competencies you choose to highlight on your CV are relevant to the job you are targeting and that you demonstrate how you have used them to benefit other organisations in the past.

For more detailed advice for a winning CV, don’t forget that you can send your CV through to us for an online personalised CV check.

All the best!


Voted Candace Business Woman of the Year 1997, Helen Dupigny is a Director and co-founder of Working Plus, (www.working-plus.com) a Careers Management and Diversity consultancy and creator of the award-winning ‘Six Steps Career and Personal Development Programme’. A Sierra Leonean based in London, Helen is also the author of ‘Vicissitude’, a guide to making life and career changes.

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