How to Write an Effective Investment Banking Resume?

1x1.trans How to Write an Effective Investment Banking Resume?

Dear Reader,

I hope all the articles I have been publishing off late on FinanceWalk related to jobs in the finance domain have been helpful to you.

I have been trying to write in a very easy and lucid language so that it’s easy for you to decipher.

For some time now many young graduates are writing to me asking for specific information for specific financial segments.

I have been trying to do exactly that as in today’s highly competitive world of finance, you can no longer afford to be generic.

For example, the requirement for a private equity job is different than the requirement for an investment banking job and the requirement for a trading job.

There are many articles on the Internet which talk about how to write successful resume when you are looking for a new job.

But there are very few articles which are specific and really helpful.

As explained earlier being generic does not help you anymore. You have to have horses for courses.

Last week one of my students had sent me her resume as she wanted to approach an investment bank for a job.

The first impression that I had on seeing the resume was that it was too long and too generic.

It did not showcase any of her specific skills that an investment bank might be looking for when selecting a new candidate.

I had to spend a lot of time with her to fix the resume and make it more attractive to investment banks.

I thought I will write a very specific article which will help other prospective candidates looking for an investment banking job write a very effective resume as well.

There has been a lot written about the contents of a resume, so I won’t harp too much on that section. I will try to focus more on the key things that you should remember while writing the resume.

The first thing that you need to remember is that your resume should not be unnecessarily too long and generic. Recruiters do not have all the time in the world to read a very long resume.

You need to be specific and to the point but at the same time you need to showcase your skill sets which will attract the recruiters to your resume.

Let me start with pointing out some specific problems that I have seen over the numerous resumes that I have checked.

The most common Problems while writing a resume for an investment banking job are:

#1. Resume Being Too Long

The most important thing that you have to remember is that investment bankers are extremely busy people and don’t have a lot of time to read your entire resume in detail.

You have to make sure that your resume is crisp but at the same time you cover all the key elements of an effective resume.

There are many people of the opinion that a resume should be either one page or at the max two pages long.

I agree to this thought process and will advise you to keep your resume to a maximum of two pages if possible.

No one wants to read a five-six pager resume.

Also a very long resume makes you look like a show-off! We don’t want that.

So please make sure that your resume is crisp but encompasses all your accolades properly.

#2. Resume Being Too Generic

One of the most important things in investment banking is‘attention to detail’ and the ability to count.

In the resume that the girl had sent me she had written under your experience section, ‘I have collated intelligence on mergers and acquisitions targets’.

Now tell me if this is going to be enough.

Believe me, no!

The recruiters will think that you are not capable of either recalling any details and they will also doubt your counting abilities. They will also doubt if you actually really did that job.

You have to remember that investment banking professionals differentiate themselves from other professionals such as doctors or lawyers by getting remuneration for results instead of being paid for hours of work.

So it is eminent that you have to focus on the final results when you are writing your resume.

This will help you in proving to the recruiter that you had actually done the job yourself and can also recollect what exactly you did on that job.

Now tell me if you change the above sentence to “I researched mergers and acquisition targets in the cement industry”, is it going to be enough? Better right? But is it enough? No! We can still add a lot more details here to make it more specific.

We can add stuff such as which criteria you used for choosing the merger and acquisition targets? Which valuation model did you use to choose your target? What was the process that you used to narrow down your list of probable targets?

Apart from the detail, there’s also the concern about your counting abilities. How many mergers and acquisition targets did you research?

Here is another improvement to the above sentence – “Researched over 10 mergers and acquisition targets in the cement industry and narrowed the list down to 2 key organizations, using various financial valuation models like revenue growth model and comparative margins model”.

#3. Resume Not Focusing on Specific Results

How does it read now?

Better right?

But can we make it still better? Yes we can.

What is that we are still missing out here? The final result!

What happened once you narrowed down the target list? That’s the key thing that the recruiter wants to know.

Remember I have explained above that investment banking is all about results! You don’t get paid by the hour in investment banking; it’s only the results that matter!

But now here you could have a problem. Sometimes you just don’t know the final result of your work.You might not know what happened as may be you left the firm before anything concrete actually happened.

Then what can you do?

No problem, do not worry!

In such cases it’s fine to leave the result out.

But then again, I always tell my students to be proactive. Try to get solutions not problems!

In such cases, I would recommend “broadening your view” and trying to arrive at something to write about, even though it might not be hundred per cent accurate or did not help the company thousands of dollars.

Here’s how you can add a result to the instance of mergers and acquisition target research above.

“Researched over 10 mergers and acquisition targets in the cement industry and narrowed the list down to two key organizations, using various financial valuation models like revenue growth model and comparative margins model; resulted in the investment banking firm conducting further due diligence on the two companies.”

Here the recruiter can understand what actually happened to the work you conducted in your earlier job if you write intelligently.

Now see, it’s OK to not have results for every example, but do try to use this arrangement wherever possible.

Typically if you “broaden your view” and think about the possible effect of your work, even if it’s trivial, you can surely come up with something that you can add to your resume to make it more effective.

#4. Resume Not Formatted Properly

Now unfortunately most candidates take the issue of formatting very lightly. Though it might sound trivial, believe me this is extremely important.

The recruiters who check your resume can discover formatting errors very fast.

Believe me,the key job of an investment banking analyst is to find formatting mistakes in PowerPoint documents and Word documents and correct them.

Their eyes are trained for this.

Any basic formatting mistakes will immediately put them off and you will lose the chance of getting into that organization.

So which is the best way to format your resume? If you need to correct formatting problems in your resume, I suggest that you do the following things.

1. Always use a good professional resume template

2. Do not hurry with writing your resume. First jot down the key points on a piece of paper! Once you have remembered everything in detail, then start typing your resume.

3. Always revisit your resume the next day. Sleep over the resume. Check it again the next day. This will help you find mistakes that you may be mixed on your first review.

4. Send your resume to a friend or your college professor to review it and look for mistakes or gaps that you probably missed.

I hope you have read the article very carefully.

Remember that being generic is not going to help you.

You need to be specific and detailed in your resume.

I promise you that if you abide by these points while writing your resume, you will be able to come up with a very powerful resume and will definitely help you get that dream investment banking job!

How to Prepare before That Dream Investment Banking Interview?

Imagine if you could make one simple tweak to your resume, and see an instant result in interview calls. Last week I wrote an article on crafting financial analyst’s resume.

I hope that all of you are enjoying the series of articles I am writing which I hope will help all readers enter or make their careers in the amazing field of finance.

Recently I was surfing the Internet to see what kind of information is available for fresh graduates, where they can learn about how to approach interviews with investment banking companies.

Most of the articles I found on the Internet were about what you can do in or during the interview.

Mind you they were good articles.

They talked about how you should sit, how you should introduce yourself, how you should talk, what mannerisms you should use, tips on eye contact, how much you should talk, what kind of answers to give and other such stuff which will help you during the interview process.

But I couldn’t find a single good article which explained clearly what you should do to prepare yourself before going for the interview with your dream investment banking firm.

Basically what I want to say is – what do you do one or two days before you are going to go for your dream interview! No one really tells you that.

So I thought I’ll use my experience to write an article which will help readers who are going for interviews with investment banking firms, prepare themselves nicely for the interview.

Remember These Small Tips before You Go for Your Investment Banking Interview:

#1. Be absolutely sure why you desire this specific job

I know so many young students who come and tell me that they want to be successful investment banking professionals without really knowing why they wanted to be an investment banker in the first place.

They get enamored by the high remuneration, fat bonuses and the high fly lifestyle. This is very dangerous according to me.

Remember that you have to be able to explain to your interviewer not only why you want to be an investment banking professional but you also need to be able to explain to them which precise responsibilities would interest you the most, what you can exactly identify about the work, and also in which specific work area you are interested in.

The more precise you can explain these things to your interviewer, the more resolute and motivated you will come across to them.

So be absolutely sure why you want this specific job and be very clear about it.

#2. Your fundamentals need to be extremely clear

Remember that the technical part of your interview will focus solely on your expert knowledge of key financial and accounting concepts.

Most MBAs and post graduates feel that they know everything.

But remember my words – even though you have a post graduate degree, you must make sure that you properly revise the most important techniques and concepts before your dream interview.

Some of the most important financial topics that I think you need to brush up include the most important financial statements such as the profit and loss statement, the balance sheet and the cash flow statement.

You also need to brush up on concepts such as financial ratio analysis, remember how to calculate those ratios and also remember their meaning and utility.

You might be given some financial statements and asked to calculate some ratios in your interview.

Also you might be asked to solve some interesting case studies.

It might be a good idea to solve some good case studies on your own before going into your interview.

This will help you improve your confidence and tighten your financial knowledge.

#3. Know as much as possible about the recruiting company 

Believe me everyone is very proud of their company.

If you go for an interview at a company knowing nothing about it, believe me the interviewer is not going to be pleased about it.

It is one of the major turnoffs for any interviewer.

So make sure you go through the website of the company thoroughly and take down notes.

Check which all deals the company has been active in.

Read about those deals.

If possible talk about these deals in your interview and feel free to give your opinion on the deals.

#4. Brush up on the latest economic news and happenings

It is extremely important according to me to know exactly what is going around you – especially in the business and economic environment.

Read the newspapers thoroughly, especially the business segment.

Note down key happenings and try to think over them.

You might be asked questions over it.

You should be in a position to talk sensibly about it.

This will give a clear indication to the interviewer that you are engaged in the world of business and economics.

You should read good financial newspapers like The New York Times, The Economic Times, The Wall Street Journal, The financial Express, The Financial Times, etc.daily for a few days before your interview.

#5. You don’t need to know everything under the sun

Well I’ve been saying throughout this article that you need to read a lot and prepare a lot.

But remember one thing very carefully – You don’t need to know everything in the world!

You have every right to say – I do not know!

Remember – do not make up stuff.

You will be easily caught.

It’s better to clearly say that you do not know.

But be sure that you are clear about the things you know about.

You should be able to talk about those things clearly and should be able to provide your own opinion on it.

#6. Prepare a good answer for the ‘tell me about you’ question

Well, I really don’t think there has been any interview in this world, where the interviewer hasn’t asked the most common question in the world – ‘tell me about yourself’!

This one looks like a simple question to answer.

But believe me this question can make or break your interview.

It’s always a good idea to prepare a good answer for this question.

Do not take this question lightly.

This question gives you an opportunity to sell yourself optimally to your interviewer.

It’s an open field for you. The ball is in your court.

Prepare a great answer where you talk about your personal background, your educational background, your work experience, your hobbies, your strengths and your goals in life.

You can also talk about how you can add value to their organization by joining it.

You need to be careful not to go overboard with the answer.

Make it crisp but at the same time make it encompass everything that you want to showcase.

Most important thing is to be yourself and don’t be scared to let your personality sparkle through.

Also you need to take an interest in the individual who is taking your interview.

Feel free to ask questions about the interviewer’s experience and what they love about their work.

This will help you to establish a positive connection with the interviewer.

#7. Leverage experience of your friends and alumni

According to me it’s always a good idea to make sure that you use the experience of your friends or alumni in understanding the various facets of investment banking.

Ask them about their experiences while giving interviews with various investment banking firms.

Ask them what mistakes they made, what were the results of those mistakes, how they improved themselves, what were the questions they were asked, how long the interviews typically lasted, etc.

The whole idea is to absorb as much as possible about the work, company, as well as the industry so that you can be properly ready for your interview and influence the interviewer with your understanding and enthusiasm.

The best way to get in touch with your friends and alumni is by sending them emails or calling them on their phones.

In today’s world you can also contact them using various social media websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

You can also take help of your college professors to get in touch with some alumni that you may not know personally.

#8. Keep an extra set of formal clothes ready the day before

I know you have heard this before but remember a simple thing – Dress professionally and avoid bright and flashy clothes.

If you can, ideally keep a formal business suit ready for the interview.

A suit will make you look professional and serious at the same time.

Remember as an investment banker, you will be required to wear a suit most of the times.

Also keep an extra set of formal clothes ready the day before.

You never know when a button might suddenly fall off!

It always helps to have a contingency plan.

Further, always preferably have a nice clean shave if you are a guy and wear a good deodorant.

Hairstyle should not be too jazzy and avoid body piercings at funny places!

If you are a woman, wear business clothes such as a smart skirt or formal pants.

Avoid shiny glaring colors.

Believe me, a lot depends on how your appearance is in your interview.

Every corporation wants to hire smart attractive intelligent people.

#9. Keep calm – don’t get nervous

Another tip is to be calm and actually meditate for some time everyday before the interview.

This will help you stay camp and help you reduce nervousness.

#10. Keep multiple copies of your resume ready

A good idea is to have multiple copies of your resume ready.

You might get more than one interviewer in your interview.

Also you might unintentionally stain or tear your resume.

So it definitely helps to have more than one resume with you.

I hope you read this article carefully and follow the above mentioned points.

I promise you that this will definitely help you prepare well for that dream investment banking interview.

1x1.trans How to Prepare before That Dream Investment Banking Interview?

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