Your resume is, most likely, the first impression employers will have of you, so it’s important to make it count.
Investment banks are never short of new applicants, which means they can afford to be particularly fussy in choosing who to hire. When it comes to resumes, investment bankers are looking for a very particular style. It is likely they will only spend a couple of seconds reviewing each application, which is why it is super important for you to know exactly what to include and how.
They will want to see that your investment banking resume is not only formatted correctly and comprises all the necessary skills, but also exceeds expectations too. Daunting, perhaps, when you only have one page (two at a push if applying in the UK) to work with.
What is the submission process?
Applicants will typically be expected to submit their resumes through the investment bank’s career portal. The majority of these will be put through a rigorous tracking system which searches for a predefined set of words, such as “managed” and “led”, before making it through to Human Resources (HR) who will then distribute the submissions for review.
Who actually reads your resume is dependent on what level position you are applying for. Financial analysts will short-list applicants applying for internship or analyst-level roles, while more senior staff will be responsible for reviewing resumes put forward for associate jobs. If you are applying from an elite institution, it is probable that your resume will be reviewed by the alumni team from your school.
What they will be looking for
Show don’t tell
Anyone can claim that they are a “reliable and hard-working individual”; a successful resume will go beyond superficial statements by using real examples, stats and figures to establish ability. For instance, an applicant may highlight a time that they have shown commitment to their studies in order to demonstrate their reliability.
There’s no two ways about it. If you don’t have outstanding grades, it’s highly unlikely you’ll make the cut. Therefore, you must highlight specific academic achievements throughout your resume and, in particular, if applying from the US, your GPA.
It is also essential that you can demonstrate how your education has equipped you with the ability to handle numbers and data, as both quantitative and analytical aptitude is core to investment banking. Did you do maths, physics or engineering? Tell the person reviewing your resume exactly how you have developed the necessary expertise for a role in finance.
Shout about your extra academic achievements. Have you received any scholarships for your talents? Ever come top of your class? Remember, only the best get a shot in investment banking, so the reviewer will be keen to see whether you are a cut above the rest; essentially, they are looking to be reassured that you have what it takes to succeed.
It’s important to flaunt any real-life practice you have had that is applicable to investment banking. Your resume should include the internship positions you have fulfilled, whether you have had any additional modeling or valuation training, and if you have been involved in an investment or finance society. All of this will help to show that you are willing to go the extra mile to kick-start a career in investment banking, even if that means giving up your summer break to intern.
Personality is key within investment banking, so highlight any outside hobbies and interests. This will not only help to demonstrate that you are able to balance work alongside outside interests but that you will also bring character and individuality to the team. Have you ever won any awards? Do you play a sport? Have a unique pastime? Studied abroad? It’s important that you leverage these in your resume to stand out from other applicants.
There are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong in investment banking. You need to show the employer that you have a thorough eye and will always pick up on mistakes in order to rectify them. Think of a time where you have shown attention to detail and include this in your resume. This will help to express a ‘can-do’ attitude. Employers want to know that, in the case of any potential obstacles, you will still be able to deliver the best result.
The right fit
There is a lot of teamwork involved in investment banking. For instance, analysts will be expected to prepare presentations for associates, so it is vital that colleagues get on with one another. Your resume must establish that you are capable of working in a team and that you possess core communication skills. Investment bankers are also keen to see whether you have any leadership experience, as this will demonstrate that you will be able to advance to a more senior position later on. Time management is an important skill to reference as well.
Do make sure your investment banking resume is fluid and easy to follow as this will help to make life easier for the person sifting through. Make use of bullet points, use a clear font and remember to also use active verbs and phrases.
Back it up
Leverage positive references from past employers or people you have worked alongside during a work experience placement or internship. This will help to validate your resume and add transparency.