D-day for Level I and II June 2012 is over, and for better or worse, hopefully you’ve gotten through the worst of your hangover by now. If you didn’t make it this time, don’t take it too badly. Hey, if you retake, you now have hundreds of hours pre-preparation over the rest of the candidates, so it’s looking much better this time around!
After results day, there’s obviously a lot of shift in terms of candidacy statuses. For those of you who passed, besides thinking about starting your new level, you may also be thinking how can you best leverage your newfound status to spruce up your CV. However, one very important factor to bear in mind are the Ethics and Professional Standards set up by CFA Institute on stating such things on your CV. Without knowing it, many candidates are in violation of these by-laws and could be sanctioned by CFA Institute.
What is needed is a definitive guide to what should go on your CV for all phases of the CFA qualification process. Combine the desire to create such a guide with my recent obsession with infographics, and you get the unholy combination below, for your viewing, sharing and printing pleasure.
Which CFA Status on My CV?
The usual place to indicate pre-charterholder statuses is to list CFA Institute as an educational awarding body in the ‘schools and universities’ section, and list your current CFA status as your most recent qualification. As shown above, at each stage of your CFA qualification process, you have to clearly state whether you are a candidate, or you have passed. You can only state that you are a candidate if you have registered for the exam, i.e. passing Level I does not automatically grant you “Level II candidate” status.
Note that I have not covered finer points such as what should you EXACTLY write on your CV come charterholder status, (e.g. not using the phrase “John is a CFA” and all the rest).
What about “CFA Charter Pending” if I’m just waiting for experience?
The point to keep in mind is that you cannot state, or even vague imply that you are a CFA charterholder, until you are actually one. There are many CVs and LinkedIn profiles that will state otherwise - a repeat offender is “CFA Charter Pending”, or something similar. This is a violation of the CFA Institute Ethics and Professional Standards, and you could be sanctioned by CFA Institute for that.
If you have passed all 3 exams and are just waiting for work experience, I do agree with you that passing the exams is the hardest part, but you still can’t imply charterholder status, or caveat it with some sort of “pending” disclaimer. You are, however, allowed to state on your CV “Passed all three levels of the CFA Program [date optional], and may be awarded the charter upon completion of the required work experience.”.
What about completion dates? Should I put in a date of when I passed, or when I expect to obtain my CFA charter?
The key thing to bear in mind is this: you can only state fact, not projections. If you wish to state the dates of when you passed your exams, that’s absolutely fine. What you cannot do is to post a date where you ‘expect’ to pass a certain level or obtain your charter. Dates in the past are fine, dates in the future are not allowed.
How You Should Update Your LinkedIn Profile
What about LinkedIn, an increasingly important careers channel? The steps below show you how to update your LinkedIn profile, courtesy of Stuart Mader of the CFA Institute:
These guidelines are designed to help you properly display your status as a CFA Program candidate, in accordance with Standard VII(B) of the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. Because the Experience section of a LinkedIn profile is intended to display your employment experience, listing your CFA Institute membership or candidacy in this section can create the impression that you are an employee of CFA Institute, which could be considered a violation of Standard VII(B).
Fortunately, LinkedIn profiles have a new section labeled Certifications, which is specifically designed to display professional certifications and credentials. This is the most appropriate place to indicate your status as a candidate.
To add this section to your profile, look for the orange-hued heading, “Add sections to reflect achievements and experiences on your profile.” It should be near the top of your profile when in Edit mode. Select the Add sections link to the right of the heading, and a box will appear with the sections available to be added to your profile.
In the Add Sections box, choose Certifications from the list on the left, and select the blue Add to Profile button.
Once you click the Add to Profile button (above), LinkedIn will give you space to enter certification details as appropriate to your status.
In the Certification Name field, enter the appropriate reference to your status. If you are a candidate in the CFA Program, you may make reference to this, but you must not imply that you have any type of partial designation. You are considered a candidate in the CFA Program if:
• Your application for registration in the CFA Program has been accepted by CFA Institute, and you are enrolled to sit for a specified exam
• You have completed a specific exam but have not yet received your results
If you meet either of these criteria, you may indicate your status as a candidate using the following (based on the exam level you are next scheduled to take):
• 2013 Level I CFA Candidate
• 2013 Level II CFA Candidate
• 2013 Level III CFA Candidate
In the Certification Authority field, enter CFA Institute. Leave the License Number field blank.
Once your entry is complete, choose the blue “Add Certification” button and the certification will appear on your profile:
Remove any incorrect reference to the CFA Charter or CFA Program from the employment experience section of your profile. Select “Edit” to the right of any listing you want to remove, and choose “Remove this position”.
Note on Step 3: If you currently aren’t a candidate, but have passed a certain level, as illustrated by my infographic, you must put ‘Passed Level X of the CFA exams’ instead of ‘2013 Level X Candidate’.
I write twice a week about the CFA exams at 300 Hours.