15 Investment Banking Resume Tips

In Resume | 6 minutes read

What makes bankers like one resume over another?

It’s an important question.  Because if you can answer it you’ll get interviews even in today’s market.

Thankfully, when you look around you’ll see there’s some students who are able to craft hypnotic resumes that you just know are going to get results.

So what’s their secret?  Do they know something you don’t?

The answer is Yes!  They do!

Investment Banking Resumes in 90 secs

1. Smart students write for junior bankers.  That means they write a banking resume that will impress a tired, stressed out junior banker who is only going to take about 10-30 seconds to read their resume.  Hello 1 page resume with a clear layout – one that makes it easy for the poor investment banking analyst to run through their checklist (school, GPA, internship experience, interesting).

2. Smart students don’t write BS.  Because they know it’s more than likely their resume will be read by an analyst who went to their school, they don’t put down bogus school based achievements or try to game the resume reviewer with bogus subjects or scores.

3. Smart students get their resume reviewed by insiders.  Before submitting their resume and investment banking cover letter, they email it to a couple of their friends in banking – and perhaps one or two college friends who did an internship last year – and await their opinion.  Or if they’ve got the passion (and the money) they’ll get an investment banker to spend a whole hour taking it apart and then rewriting it from scratch with an investment banking resume review.

4. Smart students also print out their resume and re-check it daily for a week.  Knowing that the number one aim of bankers when reading a resume is to spot mistakes, smart students know that they can’t afford to have one single punctuation, grammar or spelling mistake in their resume.  Not one.  So they sense check and spell check it every day for a week, thereby eliminating nonsensical sentences, incorrect word usage and basic spelling errors.

5. Smart students try to avoid normal resume catchments.  You won’t find the smart students running off to submit their application to recruiters or to the banks graduate websites.  No.  Instead you’ll find them sneaking around corners and handing their resume to bankers they know whether through contacts, networking or even cold calling / informational interviews.  They know a warm submission means they’re resume will get properly read and considered.

6. Smart students know that a resume is all about 4 things.  School brand, GPA score, work experience and an x-factor.  So they allocate the majority of their resume to pushing these 4 points.  That means eliminating the irrelevant or the less important, eg jobs worked outside of the corporate world.

7. Smart students know that writing about their education prior to college is retarded.  Realizing that bankers don’t care about what they did when they were 16 years old, smart students just leave it all off.  By eliminating this distraction, they have more room to wax lyrical about their more recent accomplishments.

8. Smart students know that devoting 50% of their resume to work experience is always worth it.  Writing extensively about what they did and achieved in their previous corporate experience is smart because it positions them as ready to go.  And with a banking internship, smart students will devote line after line to it in order to differentiate themselves from other candidates and pique a banker’s interest.

9. Smart students will devote most of their work section to achievements racked up during client work / live deals.  They won’t talk about how many PowerPoints they formatted, or about how they spread comps till their fingers bled.  Instead they’ll talk about how they built tables, designed decks and other deal related work.  This after all, is what bankers want to hear about.

10. Smart students won’t get creative with their investment banking resume.  No borders, no artistic typefaces, no excessive divider bars, no multiple fonts, no weird font size, no colors, no BS.  A smart student will understand that in banking conservativeness in presentation – at least when it comes to resumes – is, and always will be, all the rage.

11. Smart students will round their GPA.  They won’t leave a 3.33 at that.  They’ll always go up.  And when their GPA is average or maybe too bad to get into banking, they’ll try cutting it up and offering a Major GPA along with a Global GPA.

12. Smart students may even list their SAT scores.  Bankers love objective measures of intelligence, and this hits their sweet spot.  But smart students wouldn’t go as far as to list their GMAT scores on their investment banking resume, unless they were going for associate positions.

13. Smart students would select the right extracurricular achievements.  They would focus on listing a stand out experience (eg trekking the Andes for 3 months), a team sport (eg social basketball), a hobby (eg golf) and something with a business feel (eg investment syndicate).

14. Smart students would use powerful words on their resume.  Analyzed, managed, developed, projected, evaluated, researched etc.  Words that make them sound like an investment banking analyst in the making.

15. Smart students would pepper their resume with banker friendly terms.  Dollars, percentages, amounts, folds, dates, and other metrics would appear.  As would all types of business phrases like competitive landscape and profitability.

Bonus Tip – Smart students would go out and spend a couple bucks on an investment banking resume guideThey understand that by spending say $30 now, they’ll end up with a resume bankers love.  That means they’ll get interviews and thus the chance to secure a $100,000 job on Wall Street straight out of school.  They understand that paying $30 for a possible $100,000 pay off is a good idea and totally worth the investment.  If that’s you here a list of cool guides.

(Photo by the cool blogger HeavenlyCabins)

Bottom Post

Screw financial modeling…you only need 6 skills to break into banking

If you’re an over excited wannabe Excel Monkey then you’ve probably tried just about everything to break in…from studying financial modeling till 3am to trying to memorize 100s of complicated technical interview questions.

But here’s the thing…

You’re wasting your time!  If you want to learn how to impress bankers, get interviews and land job offers straight out of college you simply need 6 skills.