10 Common Investment Banking Resume Mistakes

Unless you are from an Ivy League University, or your work experience says ‘Summer Analyst at Goldman Sachs’, making one of these mistakes in your Resume may cause the Investment Banker to throw away your Resume.

1. Spelling Mistakes

Yes, I know. You may have heard this million times. But it’s worth repeating since many people are still making this amateur mistake! When the Investment Bankers spot a typo/typos in your resume, they will think they you don’t value the job, or even worse, they will think that you are being disrespectful.

It is not their job to check spelling mistakes for you. In fact, it is the opposite in the actual job. When you are a junior in an Investment Bank, everyone will throw you presentations and pitch books to revise and check for mistakes before sending them out to clients.

Moreover, a day in the life of a junior includes a lot of grunt work such as preparing presentations, researches and financial models, writing meeting summaries and replying emails. If you make 2 mistakes in a 2-page resume, imagine how many you will make in a day working as a junior analyst.

Tips #1: After you finish checking your resume, ask a few of your friends to help you check in again. This last step helps to ensure that your resume is error-free.

Tips #2: Also, beware of Autocorrect. It may change a correct word to a wrong, irrelevant word.

2. Include your photos in your resume

Unless you are applying to be a model, there is no good reason you should include pictures of yourself in your resume. To some employers, this may look unprofessional. And, what if the person reading your resume doesn’t like your face for some reasons, and choose to drop you because of that?

Play it safe. Do not include photos of yourself in your resume. Also, play it smart. Instead of spending your efforts on trying to find the best picture of yourself, spend more time on the ‘work experience’ and ‘activity’ section of your resume.

3. Lie

There are a handful of people who lied on their resumes and actually got away with it. However, there are also many people who lied and got caught, sometimes exposed by the employer during the interview. The consequence was obvious.

Don’t say you are fluent in French if you only know a few words. The interviewer might know French, or he might ask someone who knows French to speak to you during the interview. At that interview, if he asks ‘how old are you?’ in French and you replied ‘Merci’, chances are it would be the last time you ever speak French.

It is also illegal to lie about your education in some states in the U.S. For example, under the Texas Penal Code, it is illegal to use, or even to just claim to hold, a postsecondary degree you know to be fraudulent, substandard, or fictitious in order to obtain employment.

4. Use weird Colors and Fonts

Remember, you are applying for an Investment Banking position, not a position in Marketing, or Art-related jobs. Sending a colorful (literally) resume with impossible-to-read fonts to Investment Banking firms is really unprofessional.

Again, the employers are interested in the substance (education, work experience, activities), not the form. The format of your resume should be conservative.

5. Irrelevant Activities/ Work Experience

You may have heard somewhere that an Investment Banking Resume should only be 1 to 2 pages long. Why? It is because hiring managers are very busy and have to go through a lot of resumes, if they see a resume that is too long and does not grab their attention in the first half of the first page, they will skip to another resume.

Thus, don’t list every single work experience and extra curricular activities that you did since high school. Save the first page for only what you think are your best achievements, what makes you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Of course, the more they are related to Investment Banking or Finance, the better.

Don’t list too many work experiences that are of the same field that is not finance. If you list 3 of your previous jobs in Sales and Marketing, your career path will look inconsistent in the eyes of recruiters. They may think that you have less interest in Investment Banking than other candidates and ding you for it.

6. Clichés

Avoid clichés such as ‘critical and analytical thinker’, ‘perseverance’, ‘self-motivated’, ‘fast learner’, these stuff are for secondary school kids. Anyone can write these qualities in their resume because they don’t have to prove it. But recruiters will not be fooled.

Tips: Instead of writing these qualities in your resume, try to implicitly show them in the Education and Work section.

7. Rigidly following chronological order

There is no law in writing resume that says you have to list your activities in Chronological order. You do not have to list your work experience from the most recent work to the least recent one. Again, show the work experience that will likely impress the hiring managers first.

You don’t even have to put your ‘Education’ before your ‘Work Experience’. If you are from an unknown school, have an average GPA and no major achievements, just show it after you have listed all your work experience, or even at the end of your resume.

8. Focus too much on Description of your education/work and too little on achievement/results

In your ‘Education’ section, don’t list every single module that you studied in University. Instead, show only the modules that you scored high, including your grade and percentile.

The same thing goes for your ‘Work’ section. Don’t list all the responsibilities as if this is a job description. Focus on the things you did that brought about quantifiable results.

For example:

– Raised $30M in capital by developing new business plans

– Secured second round of funding of $10M

9. Wrong Email address/Contact number

Double-check your email address and contact number before sending your CV. There is no point in having a perfect resume but the employers are unable to contact you.

While we are at the topic of email, don’t use an email that you created when you were a kid that looks like ‘bball4lyfe96@hotmail.com’. Your email should include your name and sound professional.

10. Not stating your hobbies

Unless your hobbies say ‘sleeping’, don’t be afraid to include your hobbies at the end of your CV. Your hobbies help you tell the employers that you are a human, not a robot, that you (perhaps) are fun to hang out with.

If you get hired for the job, it means you will spend hours with your colleagues everyday for the next few years. Show them that you can be part of the gang, not only on the job, but also off the job.

 

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