A number of readers asked if they can switch to investment banking without any banking background. Answer is ‘yes’. A number of successful investment bankers didn’t start early and without any banking related education. Peter Redhead, the former head of Asia equities at JP Morgan used to fight criminal crimes at his early career. Nick Sibley, the recently retired head of personal finance at HSBC didn’t start his banking career until 30.
Investment banks do need talents with different expertise. Make sure you’ve gathered sufficient valuable pre-banking experience from a certain business in order to contribute value to the banks and their customers.
Career Change Investment Banker
Nick Sibley studied literature at university. He was definitely not a banker, to start with. He had completely no banking experience when he joined Lloyds Bank’s internal audit department towards his late twenties. In 12 years time, he left the Bank as their Head of Group Retail Consumer Credit Management. He then spent another 12 years at HSBC and before he retired in 2007, he was the Bank’s Head of Personal Financial Services in Asia Pacific.
My suggestion is to get hold of any opportunity to set your feet into an investment bank and then develop your career from there. Strategies would include answering to their recruitment ads, checking their career sites, writing to their department heads, seeking referals while networking or even approaching a headhunter.
What Contributes to a Good Career Change Investment Banking Resume?
When we recruit headhunters, candidates’ outstanding work histories and academic credentials are more important than their investment banking experience. Investment banks have a similar strategy.
Here are my suggestions for your resume writing if you want to be considered by investment banks for a career change.
- A basic university degree;
- No jumpy work history. If you change job every year, the value of your resume will be deflated, regardless of the excellent reasons you can provide;
- No jumpy work nature. It is better to have an in-depth knowledge of a certain business rather than a diverse portfolio of experiences;
- No demotion or no more than one lateral movement. Again this won’t look good, no matter how strong or solid your reasons are;
- Indicate each of your work locations. This will help telling how international you are;
- Honest. Make sure all the facts on your resume are true. Sometime in life when you are promoted to senior management, you must be subjected to a resume check. I have witnessed a CEO who failed in his resume check when he was set to join the board, and he lost his job at the same time.
More resume writing tips from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Resume Creator
Career Change Cover Letter
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Investment Banking Career