Before we dive into this topic, do you know who in the Investment Bank actually read your resume? And how long do they look at it?
The answer is that except the top-level managers like Managing Directors and Executive Directors whose time are too valuable, anyone who is ‘free’ at the time from a Vice President to an Analyst, can be reading your resume. And their time are valuable too, so they take less than 10 seconds to scan every investment banking resume before deciding whether to skip to the next one!
Keep this in mind when you structure your Investment Banking resume template so that all your highlights are in the first half of the first page of your resume, no matter what resume format you choose.
So, what are the things that catch the Investment Banker’s attention in a resume?
1. Name of your school
The cold, hard truth is, kids from the top Universities have a much higher chance of passing the resume screening process than candidates from less well-known universities. A student coming from an Ivy League University is usually very intelligent and hard-working, and that is exactly what the Investment Banking firm is looking for.
If you are from a top University, make sure it is the first thing everyone sees in your resume!
If you are not, there is no reason to be discouraged. Here is why:
The second thing that an Investment Banker would look at is your GPA. Candidates from top universities having less than average GPAs (~3.1-3.3) can still be disqualified.
If you have a high GPA and from an average school, make sure you highlight your GPA by using slightly larger font and Bold it. Make your GPA look more noticeable than your University name!!!
If you are current a first or second-year undergraduate and you want to be an Investment Banker, study your a** off, make friends with the best students, do everything necessary to graduate with a GPA of at least 3.7. There is no shortcut to success!
Now, if you don’t have an elite school name to boast and your GPA is neither great, what else can do you to beef up the ‘Education’ section of your investment banking resume?
1) List the subjects/ modules that you scored A, or 70+. For example:
- Scored A in Corporate Finance
- Scored A in Quantitative Methods for Finance and Economics
- Scored A in Financial Analysis
2) List any scholarship that you got from your University, whether big or small
– If you received a substantial scholarship, state the full amount, or the percentage of your entire school fees.
– If your scholarship is not large (50% or lower), just state the name of the scholarship.
3) List any Academic Awards you received during your undergraduate study
– If you received an award called ‘Academic Merit Award’, and you found out from your University that only 1% of the students received it, you should write:
- Received Academic Merit Award ( top 1% in school)
Employers love to see things like ‘top 1%’, ’99th percentile’, ‘1 out of…’
Remember the trick: if your individual subject grades, your scholarships or your awards are more impressive than your GPA, make them more visible than your GPA.
Little things matter. First impression lasts.
Let’s move on to the next important attribute of an effective Investment Banking Resume:
3. Relevant skills
The Investment Banker is going judge your relevant Investment Banking skills based on the work you did, and more importantly, the results which your work contributed to.
Here are the most relevant skills you should convey in your Investment Banking resume:
- Financial and Management Accounting
- Financial Modelling
- Excel + PowerPoint
- Interpreting the meaning/implication behind all the numbers and data
- Business Intuition
- Leadership skills
When you describe what you did and your achievements in the ‘Work Experience’ section, make them quantifiable. Include the size of the deal/transaction that you took part in. How much money did you save for the company? Percentage increase in profit, amount of capital raised,…
- Developed and revised 5 M&A deals worth average $150M
In addition, you should also include strong verbs such as accelerated, achieved, authored, convinced, developed, diagnosed, educated, eliminated, initiated, launched, negotiated, originated, persuaded, pioneered, represented, structured, taught,…
The point is, make your work experiences sound better than they actually are. Everyone exaggerated on their resumes. But please don’t lie, don’t overdo it.
4. Extra curricular activities/ hobbies
This last section of your resume will tell the Investment Bankers your characteristics, what kind of person you are outside of work. Can you work well in a team? Are you someone who is fun to hang out with? Are your interests similar to theirs? Do you have something unique?
List some team sports that you play. For example, if you play Football or Rugby, it will give an impression that you have teamwork and you can persevere through tough times.
You should also list any special sports/ activities that you did. Do you do skydiving? Do you run ultramarathon? Are you a hardcore bodybuilder?
Who knows? Maybe the guy who is hiring is really interested in joining that sport and would hire you because of it!