Write CFA Level I on your resume

Obtaining the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification is a way for investment professionals to demonstrate their expertise in financial analysis and portfolio management. The CFA licensee program is a long process with many steps. Candidates must pass three independent six-hour exams and gain 48 months of investment-related work experience. Since this process is very dynamic and candidates spend a long time between different levels, it is important to understand how to present this experience in a resume.

Key points

  • The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification is an important asset for investment professionals and should be highlighted on the resume.
  • The CFA franchise program includes passing three 6-hour exams and investing four years in investment-related work.
  • In the section after “Experience” and “Education”, list your CFA status under “Skills and Certification” or “Professional Development.”
  • If you are just starting, please list your qualification level and scheduled exam date, such as CFA Level 1 Candidates-February 2021 exam date.
  • For later levels, please list your income, study purpose and planned test date, such as Earned CFA Level I; CFA Level 2 candidates (test date: June 2021).

Experience and education

An effective resume provides a concise summary of your professional experience and education. Generally, you should put your work experience at the top of your resume. A strong investment industry resume will highlight quantitative professional achievements and specific leadership roles. Education usually depends on work experience, and job seekers emphasize any honors or expertise gained during undergraduate and graduate university training.

Skills, certification or professional development

After listing your work experience and university experience, you can outline any professional development activities you have completed. The title of this section can be Skills and Certification or Professional Development, whichever you prefer.

If you have professional technical or programming skills in addition to CFA level 1, then you should use the title of the skills and certification section and list your technical skills and any professional certifications. Otherwise, the professional development or certification section will be a suitable title for your CFA Level 1 (you should also add that you are a CFA Level 2 candidate and when you plan to take the exam).

You cannot add the letters “CFA” to your name until you pass all three exams and obtain CFA franchise status.

CFA Level 1 Candidates

If you are currently studying to take the CFA Level 1 exam, you will be considered a CFA Level 1 candidate. You can indicate this in your resume in a variety of ways. One way is to call yourself a CFA level one candidate. The other is to indicate in the skills/certification or professional development section of your resume that you are preparing for the CFA Level 1 exam. If you passed Level I, please add that you are a Level II candidate, and so on.

Test date

You can provide potential employers with additional information about your CFA Level 1 status by indicating the date you intend to take the CFA Level 1 exam. For example, you can declare: “CFA Level 1 Candidates-February 2021 Exam Date.” Or, you can declare: “Prepare for CFA Level 1 Exam-February 2021 Exam Date.”

48 months

How long must investment professionals work in their field to qualify for CFA; candidates must also pass three six-hour exams.

CFA Level 2 and Level 3

The CFA course is a multi-level work, and passing Level I is only the first step in this process. As you progress, it is appropriate to continue to update your resume so that potential employers understand where you are in the process. For example, once you have obtained CFA Level 1 and are ready to take the Level 2 exam, you should state that “have obtained CFA Level 1; CFA Level 2 candidates (exam date: June 2021)”. You must not use CFA letters after your name until you pass all three exams and obtain official CFA franchise status.

Big picture

It is important to treat your resume as a dynamic document and keep it updated based on your recent professional experience. Your CFA level 1 completion is only part of this story, and your work achievement is another important part. Updating your resume with your professional development activities and work achievements is the best way to show potential employers your unique skills.


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