Saturday, March 3, 2007

Investment Banking Resume Writing Tips - Content and Layout

Investment Banking Resume Writing Tips - Content and Layout


Have you collected a lot of resume writing tips before reading my blog? And did you collect them from your fellow job seekers or resume service providers?

Why not checking out expectations from resume readers? Hiring managers are readers, so as headhunters. As a professional IB headhunter, I am here to express my thoughts regarding resume writing.

Basic Principals
Resume writing is an art. A resume is a sales tool. It tells your past story to prove that you are able for your future.

Investment bankers are busy. Therefore your resume should help them quickly figure out who you are and how you can contribute to their business. Omit career objective, summary or profile, as they are considered superfluous.

Below are some winning resume writing strategies.

These strategies are based on my experience being an IB headhunter reviewing numerous resumes/CVs daily. I have also merged some resume writing guidelines from leading investment bank Goldman Sachs as well as thoughts that I collected from hiring managers.

Key Characteristics Sought by Investment Bankers

  • Quantitative / analytical skills
  • Drive for results
  • Negotiations skills
  • Power of persuasion
  • Relationship building skills

Tailor your resume in a way to demonstrate these characteristics. For entry level applicants, it can be from any context other than investment banking.

Look and Feel
Look and feel (L&F) is one the most important resume writing skills.
Though good L&F won’t guarantee success, bad L&F loses readers quickly. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression! Good resumes have one thing in common, simplicity. Make it your mantra.

  • Sans serif fonts work best on paper as well as on computer screen. Arial 11 is the most desired font and size.
  • A good balance between text and space.
  • Limit to one page.
  • Block capitals, bold or underline type can help to direct the reviewer's focus. However over-using of these effects will spoil your L&F. Be consistent in your formatting.
  • Avoid lengthy paragraphs; use bullet points to condense a list of details.

Personal Details

  • Your family name should be underlined or bold. For example, Ngo Tan Chen.
  • A current mailing address, a phone number that can reach you and an email address.
  • Your email address should project a professional image of yourself.
  • Employers from Asia might expect more personal details like age, status, nationality. Employers from the Americas and Europe generally not. Best is to check their websites and find out.

Education and Qualifications
For young bankers and undergraduates, education and qualifications should be listed first, followed by work experiences. After a few years, experience will weight higher and should appear in the most eye-catching position on the resume.

Tip:
Emphasis achievements and awards such as school topper through out, scholarships or having been a young ambassador.

Work Experience

  • Start with your current job and work backwards.
  • Indicate who you have worked for, in what capacity and for how long.
  • Indicate location of work, such as New York, London or Tokyo. As your experience cumulates, this reflects you have an international vision. Relocation and travelling involves a lot as you move ahead on your career path as an investment banker.
  • Tips: Do not use a functional resume, as it won’t work in the investment banking world.
    Use numbers to back you up, such as your ranking in an analysts’ poll or percentage of business growth during your service.

    Personal Development/Skills

    • Write about any courses, societies, voluntary work or responsibilities you consider relevant.
    • On top of appropriate skill sets, investment bankers need strong ability to tolerate various personalities, ambiguity, and so on. List activities that reflect your personality.
    • Indicate your technical skills such as Bloomberg or Reuters. This is important for undergraduates to stand out. It is less important for experience bankers, as you are assumed to have these skills.
    • List the languages you speak.


    Other Key Elements

    • Avoid general benefit statements such as a good team player, highly analytical or a good communicator etc. You are assumed to have all these qualities for almost any job.
    • Jargons are allowed. Feel free to write AUM, M&A, IPO etc., as bankers all know these terms and it demonstrates that you are speaking their language.
    • Support your statements by facts. Instead of saying that you are good at multi-tasking, it would be more convincing by naming the various activities and roles you’ve taken up while studying full time.
    • Everything should add value. Don’t waste valuable space in writing statements like ‘references available upon request’ or a reference list or your previous employers’ company descriptions and full addresses.
    • Before Submitting

      • Spell check! Many people overlook its importance during resume writing. Though perfect spelling won’t gain you extra credit, typos certainly work against you.
      • Print out a copy and ask yourself the following questions:
        • Is my resume easy to read?
        • Is the content concise and effective?
        • Is my resume a good reflection of me and my experiences?

        Ask a friend to proof read for you and ask them the same set of questions.

        Recommended Career Tools
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        Amazing Cover Letters

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        4 comments:

        Scarlett said...

        Thank you so much for all the free articles to help us with investment banking career. I believe this is the most helpful website. All the samples or analysis are very insightful.

        I would like to ask your help with my resume with compensation.

        Could you please give me contact info? mine is scarlett.fudi@gmail.com

        Thank you very much

        Jiawei said...

        Hi Anna, your blog helps me a lot with insights of IB. I appreciate it very much. I'm just curious if the rule of the length of resumes being limited within one page apples to IB's all over the world?

        Anna Maria D'Souza said...

        Hi Jiawei

        A one-page resume is generally quite a pleasing length to most hiring managers - for entry level jobs in particular - IB and the world alike. However when you gather more expereince and your position become higher and higher, longer resumes like two pages are fine, but never make it too long.

        Anjoli said...

        Thanks -- I need to do this too! My first job will be to get the holiday cards ready to mail. And by the way, thank you for being inclusive by talking about "holidays," since different people are celebrating different holidays at this time of year.

        http://www.ukjobsguide.co.uk/Career-Advice/Temporary-Jobs.html