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Contributed by David Farmer
There are a number of online guides about how to write a good CV, and everyone has an opinion on what works, what is the latest style, as well as how many pages it should be, making this a very subjective topic.
Start by thinking about what you are aiming to do with your CV. Ultimately, you want to secure an interview. Now nobody secures a role from the content of their CV alone, but a poorly written CV can cost you the opportunity to even get to interview stage.
So, what is going to get you that interview?
Decision makers should be able to find the information they need quickly and easily.
2) Concise communication
It is extremely important to demonstrate your ability to get your point across in a clear way.
Sounds over simplistic, but this will be looked at. Remember your CV is a document that you should have taken time to produce, so small errors will be costly.
How does that structure look?
This may well differ and is dependent on the level of role you are applying for. You will need to put yourself in the shoes of the decision maker – what are they looking for in order to progress you to first stage interview?
If you are a recent graduate, they will be looking at your education, but if they need people with experience, then this is the most important element for them.
Starting your CV with a short statement about you will not differ whatever level of role you may be applying for. This profile shouldn’t be too informal, and should focus on highlighting the strengths and skills you possess, relevant to the role on offer.
How to sum up your experience:
Technical skills (SAS, SQL for example) tend to be important for roles in Credit risk, so all relevant skills and technical knowledge like these should be highlighted. However, even more important is to clearly show how the application of your technical skills, knowledge and experience had a positive impact for your current and/or previous employers. For example, if you came up with a new strategy for improving accept rates whilst reducing bad debt costs, by what percentages did this change and what was the exact impact? Include precise, not in-depth, detail to highlight your achievements.
“Reduced bad debt costs by 13% whilst increasing accept rate by 7%” is a lot more positive than “Reduced bad debt costs and increased accept rates”.
Also it is worth explaining how you achieved something. If you had an idea that was put in to practice, then go in to a little more detail. Not too much, this is just to get you an interview after all and you need to have something to tell them when you get to meet them beyond this information, but it should be just enough to make them interested to learn more.
“I devised a refer rate strategy, coding daily lists in SAS. Once automated, refer rates fell by 15%. We saw an instant 8.3% reduction by implementing daily lists to underwriting.”
If you have experience of managing of people or a portfolio, reflect the exact detail of the team or portfolio. This will get across your ‘gravitas’ more than a general statement about management. Again, detail is the key. For example:
"Delivered circa £25mm reduction of in-year credit loss through more effective collections strategies".
"Primarily responsible for UK Portfolio, which peaked at over £10BN in receivables."
"Delivered a reduction of losses through collections strategies".
"Managing a UK portfolio and a team of analysts".
How long should your CV be?
Again, everyone has an opinion on this. As a guide, 2-3 pages is a standard length. This gives ample space to concisely communicate your work experience, achievements and education, whatever level of role you may be applying for.
Should you include your interests?
Personality is important in roles within Credit Risk Analytics. You are presenting to people, and dealing with stakeholders in other business teams and will need to have well developed communication and interpersonal skills. You don’t need to include too much information on your out of work interests but you need to show that you have interests other than just application strategies for credit cards. Please bear in mind though that you should not include any jovial comments, your CV should be read as a professional document.
Make sure you are very familiar with your CV before any interview, including any quoted figures. This document has successfully secured you the opportunity to sell yourself to a prospective employer, so know the content thoroughly. By doing so you will be well prepared and able to confidently answer questions on all aspects of your work, achievements and education.
With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.
Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out our recent posts below.
If Fraudsters are anything, they are opportunists. Once the first new stories about COVID-19 started running, it wasn’t long until they were joined by tales of fraudsters selling face masks and hand sanitiser, asking panicked customers to transfer money and then disappearing without a trace. And it’s not the first time we’ve seen this. Fraudsters are notoriously wise to periods of heightened sensitivity and uncertainty, often preying on the vulnerable. The 2008 financial crisis saw an increase in email-based phishing scams and a decade’s worth of technological advancements means that Fraud remains a many-headed beast. Add into the mix a change in working styles and environments, and many businesses are more exposed to potential security breaches than they have been in years. Now, more than ever, companies need to make sure their Data is well protected and secure. THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE If you’re part of, or leading, a Fraud Prevention team, there are a number of ways you can support your business and keep on top of the situation. Here are just a few: Increase and update your investigation capacity. This team are the front line of your business’ Fraud defence team, interacting with customers daily and spotting new scams. During an uncertain period, retention and team stability is key. These are the people that understand the day-to-day Fraud challenges you face and will be essential in fighting any future challenges. Sharing Fraud Prevention knowledge is key. Throughout this crisis, trends will be evolving quickly and working collaboratively across teams, and even other businesses, is the best way to combat this. We consistently hear from Fraud Managers that the key to beating Fraud is to share information and knowledge. Despite this, there is always a hesitation amongst companies to admit that they have been a victim to an attack. Perhaps now is the time to change this. Invest in Machine Learning and real time updates for your Fraud defences. Fraud technology has moved on from script writing in SQL and rule changes. Businesses need a real time reactive response and now is an important time to be embracing new technologies. There are a number AI-driven off the shelf packages available or, for a more bespoke solution, a Fraud Data Scientist can create something internally. Educate your team. It may seem simple, but the Fraud team can play a crucial role in minimising any potential risk from human-error. Educating employees on the risks they may face when working remotely, or what scams they need to look out for, is one of the most effective ways of fighting Fraud. PREPARING YOUR BUSINESS Success in the fight against Fraud isn’t purely down to the group of individuals that make up the Fraud team. As a business, now is the time to be making decisions that can help you stay ahead of the Fraudsters. Here are some considerations: Consider investing in tech as an your immediate response. Not just to bolster your Fraud defences (although there are plenty of vendors offering AI-based solutions), but also technology for your employees to keep work as normal as possible such a sharing platforms, DevOps technology and video calling networks. One of the best ways to block some of the vulnerability loopholes fraudsters are trying to exploit is to keep working habits as close to normal as possible as you move to a remote solution. Be transparent with your customers. Consumers are being incredibly savvy and noting how businesses respond to the pandemic in a way that could have a big impact when normality returns. But they’re also being more empathetic and are willing to understand difficulties. For example, shopping delivery service Ocado were open and transparent when their system could not initially deal with demand. Having communicated the difficulties, worked through their issues and gone the extra mile to let customers know how they can be supported in this time, the received minimal backlash. There is an understanding that we’re all in this together. Finally, if you have the budget, continue to staff up - particularly in competitive fields such as Data Science. A lot of top Data professionals are currently at home and much more accessible than they have been in a long time. With a number of ways to remotely interview and onboard both permanent and contract staff, if you are able to get begin conversations with them now, you’ll have an edge in what will be a very competitive market come later in the year. If you’re looking to take your next step in the world of Fraud, we may have a role for you, including a number of remote opportunities. Or, if you’re looking to expand and build out your Fraud team, get in touch with one of expert consultants who will be able to advise on the best remote and long-term processes.
01. April 2020
The financial crisis of 2007-2008 changed banking. The world moved from taking mortgage loans in our dogs’ names to introducing strict regulations for banks prohibiting them from giving out loans to “anyone” without assessing Risk properly. In 2010 the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) introduced BASEL III, a regulatory framework that builds on BASEL I, and BASEL II. This framework changed how banks and financial institutions asses risk. It introduced an Advanced Internal Rate Based Approach (Commonly known as the AIRB approach). Now, the committee has introduced new changes and, by 2022, all banks and institutions will have to implement the revised IRB Framework, as well as new revised regulations for the standardised approach, CVA Framework and new frameworks for Operational Risk and Market Risk. So, what does this mean for those working Risk? Change Is Coming Change is inevitable, no matter what you do. If you work in Risk Management and Compliance, change is something you can expect to happen, often. As mentioned above, by 2022 there will be lots of changes. The Basel Committee calls this initiative the “finalised reforms”, or BASEL IV which builds on the current regulatory framework BASEL III. Quickly summarised, the changes limit the reduction in capital that effect banks IRB models. This change is predicted to impact banks in Sweden and Denmark the most, with estimations that capital ratio will fall by 2.5-3%, far higher than the 0.9% expected for the average European bank. So what does all this mean for Swedish and Danish banks? What’s Happening Now? One of the main things that Swedish and Danish banks need to revise for these new regulations, are their internal models. The new regulations introduced a new definition of Probability of Default, measured through a model commonly known as a PD model. Effectively this means that every bank must “re-develop” their internal PD Models in the IRB approach. Consequently, we are already seeing a clear response from the banks in their strategies moving forward. It has already become quite apparent that many banks are looking to make IRB model development their focus for 2019-2020 and 2021. This has resulted in a boom in the hiring space for developers with experience in IRB Modelling and Credit Risk Modelling in general, which in turn has led to high demand in the face of the low supply of these types of candidates. Understandably aware of this, modellers are now looking to negotiate higher salaries. What You Can Do For candidates that hold the right experience, there are good opportunities at hand. If so inclined, they can utilise this chance to finally see if the grass actually is greener on the other side, or not. However, there are a couple of things worth considering before making a move. Firstly, are you actually keen on switching jobs? Your skills are probably equally in demand at your current employer and, if you are having doubts about moving from the get-go, you may well be able to negotiate a rise without pursuing a new opportunity. However, if you are serious about finding something new, this is a great time to do so. The majority of banks have found that these new regulations are creating an unsustainable workload, and are now looking for talent externally to expand their teams. This means that the experienced modeller can pretty much have their pick of the litter. Furthermore, if you are a junior modeller, there are now plenty of opportunities for you to enter a niche area known for being exciting and innovative. So, wherever you are in your career, these regulatory changes are likely to have a large impact and open up new avenues for you to explore. We all know that regulations in banking and finance are now essential, we all agree, even if they can be a little frustrating. However, what people often fail to think of are the opportunities new regulatory requirements create. In the case of BASEL IV, we’re already seeing an increase in demand for strong talent, and a demand for people who are passionate about Risk Management and model development. For businesses, new regulations also provide the chance to not only improve their teams, but to create new models that can be utilised to optimise and automate. A lot of financial institutions are already aware of this and are using these models to gain competitive advantage over their competitors, as well as to stay one hundred percent compliant. If you’re looking to build out you Risk Management team or take on a new Risk opportunity for yourself, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.
08. August 2019
In the world of Risk Management, top talent is always in high demand. Despite this, those who specialise in area know that progression can be difficult and, according to our 2019 Salary Survey, is the slowest in the industry. So, how can you differentiate yourself from the competition, and what steps can you take to make yourself the ideal candidate for that promotion or new job you’ve been hunting? Whether you are looking to move somewhere new, or trying to climb the ladder in your current company, here are some ways that you can make sure you stand out. Stay one step ahead in tech Traditionally, the Risk Analytics tech stack has comprised of SAS, SQL and VBA. SAS and SQL remain very much present, but we are also seeing a clear increase in the use of Open Source programming languages, such as R and Python. Unsurprisingly, a lot of Risk Modellers and Analysts are now spending their time in developing their skills in these languages. One might argue that if you know one language, there’s not too much work required to upskill in another when you take on a new role, but this isn’t necessarily true. By being proactive and evolving your skillset in your current position, your CV will have a much bigger impact when it lands on a Hiring Manager’s desk. Over the past few years, we’ve also seen the arrival of Machine Learning and AI in the world of Risk. Whilst many businesses are still slow to embrace these technologies, do not be surprised to see them make a big impact over the next couple of years. Risk Analytics are catching up to the rest of the industry in regards to technology, and having the knowledge and skillsets required in these areas before they take off will only enhance you profile. Business-driven Data In the world of Risk Analytics, it is easy to think that if you have the right programming and analytical skills in the right tools, you’ve all got all you need. You might be off to a really good start, but there’s more to it than that. It about having the balance. Yes, being data-driven and understanding complex model development is crucial to becoming a good performer in this industry but, what truly separates the good from the great, is business acumen. The ability to understand both what your analytics and models do, and how they impact the overall business is now at the top of most Hiring Manager’s lists. A person with good quantitative skills will always see something that can be improved, but they also need to know when to stop and be happy with the result. The key to getting this right lies in their understanding of the business and the ability to answer questions like “If I sit and work on this for 8 more hours, will the real-world difference be worth that amount of time and resource?”. By viewing things through the prism of cost vs reward, and understanding that balance, you can demonstrate that your value to a business goes beyond your analytical skills. React, adapt and attract In this world there are a few things we can take for a certainty; the sky is blue, it will rain on your day off, and there will always be new regulations for financial institutions. Because of the certainty of change, a key thing employers look for in candidates is the ability to react quickly and make changes as soon as they are needed. Fast growing companies such as Klarna, tink and iZettle may seem like fairy-tale success stories, but the real edge they have is their adaptability and agile culture. Whereas some traditional corporations and banks have lengthy and complicated processes required before they adapt to new regulations, these new companies embrace their agility and get things done. The ability to be agile and adaptable is, therefore, something that a lot of businesses are starting to realise is key. Therefore, if you’re looking to get ahead, you should try to evolve these qualities in your working ways. If you are looking for something new, look to prove you are driven and do not fear change. If you can demonstrate that you are able to work with a business-oriented mindset and embrace change, you’ll stand out as a key player in your team. Specialist vs Generalist With the world of Risk Management offering a number of opportunities to become very specialised in very niche areas, it’s worth considering whether this approach is right for you. There are some definite pros, for example, if you are the best developer of PD models for non-retail, you will be highly sought after for roles in this area. Plus, high demand, and a shortage of skillsets means that you will be in a good position to seek a high salary and lots of benefits. However, this does mean that you are likely to only have the opportunity to work in this area for the foreseeable future and, for some, this can become repetitive and not provide enough of a challenge. Additionally, if you were ever were to apply to work in a new area because of this, you would likely find yourself overpriced and needing to take a step down in seniority. The alternative, therefore, is to become more of a generalist, with a broader, but less advanced skillset. Think being able to play every instrument, but only knowing one song. There are definitely some clear benefits with this approach, not least the ability to work on a diverse set of projects, gain an excellent understanding of how Risk Management affects a business on every level, and be able to slot into a number of roles easily. You will also gain a better idea of which areas of Risk that you like, and which parts you dislike. Whilst many analysts begin as generalists before looking to specialise when they get promoted, they often find that their knowledge will not be as deep as their specialist counterparts. Therefore, it is likely they will have to take a step-down or make a sideways move before they can achieve that promotion. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the specialist vs generalist argument. However, for those looking for faster progression early-on, a generalist approach may be better suited despite the fact that you may need to change approach before reaching the most senior levels. Whilst demand will always be high for the best candidates, competition for promotions and senior roles in Risk Analytics remains fierce. Therefore, by proactively thinking about the ways that you work, how effective you are, your business focus, and what your ambitions are, you should be able to get the most out of your career. If you’re looking to get ahead in Risk Analytics, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our latest opportunities, or get in touch to see if we can help you take that next step.
26. June 2019
Ben Owen and Danni Brooke are the Co-Directors for the EMEA Practice at Fortalice Solutions, a leading global cyber security and intelligence operations company. They travel globally to assist clients with their cyber security requirements, bespoke training needs, intelligence and investigations both online and physical and counter fraud training/consultation. They deliver and manage a portfolio of pro-active intelligence solutions to keep people, nations and businesses safe from threats and head up the EMEA operations. Ben and Danni also feature on the hit Channel 4 show, Hunted and Celebrity Hunted which has been airing for over four years with another series set to be filmed this summer. I caught up with them recently to discuss the latest Fraud, tools and challenges for the Cybersecurity industry. Cybersecurity is an ever-changing landscape. What trends do you anticipate for the next 12 months and beyond? It is always difficult to pin down what the next real trend is going to be in the Cybersecurity space as adversaries are becoming ever more sophisticated. What was once a very difficult process for skilled individuals is becoming more readily available to novices with advances in software, particularly those shared on the Dark Web. What is an inevitable threat trend in the next 12-months and beyond is the exponential rise in the Internet of Things (IoT). With a world where everything is hooked up to the web, it is apparent that tech companies selling these devices are under immense pressure to get products to market. The need for speed could mean that some security principles and best practices may be overlooked. As the UK encountered during the Mirai Botnet attack of 2016, a network of electronic devices acting in concert can cripple the internet or, worst case, become a weapon that could cause actual physical damage as well as cyber damage, power stations, hospital networks to name but a few. How have Data & Analytics impacted the detection, and prevention, of cyber-crime? A company will have to protect themselves against an enormous amount of cyber threats every second. A cyber-criminal will only need one successful attempt. Data & Analytics are proving successful in the fight against cyber-crime and their proactive and holistic approach is at keeping people and businesses safe. Of course, it is Data that is being stolen, but very often Data can come to the rescue. It helps in a number of ways, e.g. identifying anomalies in employee and contractor computer usage and patterns, detecting irregularities in networks, identifies irregularities in device behaviour (a huge advantage with the rise of the IoT). What one must remember, however, is the people behind the Data. You can’t simply collect Data and assume you will be able to detect and respond with the right actions. You need the people with the right analytical skills to sift through the Data, find the right signals and then react to the threat with an appropriate and timely response. What tools and technologies do you think will become increasingly important in the fraud and cyber-crime landscape? Here at Fortalice we are investing a lot of time into coverage of the Dark Web. We live in a rapidly changing digital landscape. Criminals, fraudsters, and others are now operating with more sophistication and anonymity. Where do they go to exchange fraudulent details and ideas about current victims? What medium do they use to discuss organisational targets or new ways of defrauding companies? The answer is the Dark Web. Traditionally, companies fight fraud from the inside out. We want to change this landscape by accessing the entirety of the Dark Web, its pages, shady storefronts, and treasure troves of Data, and drawing on monitoring toolsets to give our clients a 360-degree resource for identifying adversarial communications and movements. It’s all about Internet coverage. Wherever it is difficult to find – that’s where your threat will be. A final point to this question is one of sharing tools and techniques. A collaborative approach is always a good way of making sure the wider audience benefits. We always work with our clients and offer other services and support outside of our remit to make sure they’re fully protected from a cyber and physical space. What are the biggest security threats for businesses? Security is fundamentally broken because the design of many security solutions does not design for the human psyche. Security solutions are bolted on, clunky, and hard to use but because security teams prioritise defending against easier cyber threats, they often don’t focus on the hardware side. The biggest risk to companies and individuals is always defined by the Data that is most important to you or to the business. For individuals, this might be privacy or identity. For businesses, this could be customer Data, intellectual property, and the company’s money in the bank. The reality is that business executives can’t outspend the (cybersecurity) issue and they must be prepared. Cybersecurity no longer exists in a vacuum and it must be elevated to the conversations held in the boardroom and with senior leadership as well as entire divisions, departments, and organisations. For someone trying to get into security analytics, what skills do you think are key to being successful in the industry? The detail is in the name of the role. A huge ability to interpret large amounts of technical Data is key to the role, as well as being able to assimilate what it means and how to action it. Risk management is also key to this role. Very often you will identify potential risks and you will have to triage those priorities on your own as co-workers won’t have the technical expertise to assist. You will need to be able to communicate successfully to all levels of a workforce and last but by no means least – a good sense of humour! When you think you have gotten to understand a new threat or vulnerability a new one will replace it within seconds. Time to put the kettle on, smile, and get back to work with your analytical prowess. Within fraud, it's well known that criminals are sharing their approaches, is this mirrored in cyber-security and if so, how is the industry combating this? Criminal collaboration is huge on the web. First of all, there is no talent shortage for fraud rings or cybercriminals. There are no requirements for fancy university degrees or certifications and the crime ring pays for performance. They don’t care what you look like, how you dress, or if you clock in during normal work hours. They care about getting the job done - hacking into and stealing information from others. Together they are sadly stronger and more effective. On Dark Web forums, you will see fraudsters sharing and selling their ‘IP’ knowing that others will also contribute. That way they are all winners. In the private world ideas equal money. That is of course not a bad thing for business, but it is bad for collaboration. Businesses generally don’t like to share ideas with one another because it has taken them lots of time and expense to get to their product or solution. As cliché as this comment sounds - we have to change this landscape for the greater good. There are lots of smart government initiatives for national defences in cyber security and fighting high-end cyber-crime but seldom does this have a positive impact locally with smaller businesses. There is a huge amount of information out there for individuals and advice, but we need to bridge the gap still between criminal collaboration and that of the good guys. If you could change one thing in the industry, what would it be? The mind set of security professionals that humans are the weakest link. We’re not! Humans are at risk because technology is by design, open. I’d also change the mind set of those not in the Cyber Security industry. All too often the severity of what is being reported is not taken seriously, nor are budgets set aside for cyber security issues. That said, it is improving but there is a long way to go. Ben and Danni spoke to Senior Consultant, Rosalind Madge. Get in touch with Rosalind or take a look at our latest job opportunities here.
21. March 2019