Would your asset management CV pass the so-what test?

Morgan McKinley 11.07.2019

A few years ago, before became a headhunter, I sat on the other side of the fence working in asset management.

At a particularly miserable time when the markets were against us I decided to dip my toe in the water of new job opportunities for the first time in many years. If you yourself are encountering this phenomenon for the first time in a while then you may be only too familiar with the process I rather unsuccessfully followed:

  1. Digging around your computer for your old CV
  2. Realising that the CV is actually hugely out-dated and putting off the search for another month as you don’t have time to rewrite it.
  3. A month on realising that a) your job hasn’t become miraculously more interesting and fulfilling overnight and b) payroll haven’t begun crediting your bank account with double your salary
  4. Hastily digging out the old job spec that was handed to you on your first day and copying and pasting it into your CV


Sound familiar? And, if so, do you genuinely believe that this is the best preparation for landing your dream job?

It’s funny really, every day recruiters encounter senior professionals who have followed this process, professionals who command huge respect in their industry, good salaries and have vast experience but don’t seem to have time or the real understanding of how to re-write that old CV.  Despite the reputation that you believe may precede you, it really is essential to get down in black and white what your key unique selling points are and spend time re-writing your CV to answer what we call the “so what” test.

The “so what” test refers to changing lines in your CV, which basically just state what you do, to something that a potential employer will get excited by.

For example, on their own, the statements below add no real value or give no real indication of what you can bring to your new company. At most, they form part of the job spec of 90% of your peers across the industry. You need to go further and explain the result of the statement and clearly outline the BENEFIT to your new employer of what you’ve done. These value-adds could be anything from saving money, bringing in new assets or clients, streamlining processes or analysis, resulting in more efficient procedures, or managing risks.

Here are a few examples of the “so what” test in action:

I worked as a product specialist with clients in Europe. - So what?

…growing assets under management in two years from £5bn to £20bn, whilst retaining key institutional clients during the downturn -  sounds much better. Numbers are easy to spot and stay in the memory.

I developed research systems to analyse UK equity stocks. - Leading to?

producing a unique portable proprietary system, which led to an improvement in the fund’s annualised performance, top decile rankings and a 5 star fund rating.

I launched a variety of UK and offshore funds. - Resulting in? 

a more streamlined, saleable fund range, which is now fully compliant with upcoming regulatory changes and, in 2012, has already seen a 50% increase in new business from direct competitor funds.

Morgan McKinley's picture


IT Audit - AVP - Banking - Manchester
City of London25.03.2020
Senior IT Auditor - Insurance - London
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