Thursday, September 18, 2008

Investment Banking Resume – Writing Skills

Apart from layout, format, content and work history, writing skills is another important element in an investment banking resume.

Every now and then, my blog readers ask me to do resume critiques for them. One of the comments that I made most is ‘your resume is good, but just too good’. Let me introduce a couple of ‘too good’ examples.

Inaccurate Use of English

‘…..raised the bank’s revenue by 25%.....’

This looks normal if it appears on a CEO’s resume. However for a summer intern bank teller, it is just ‘too good’. No one in the world can relay how a bank teller can help raise the bank’s revenue by 25%.

I guess the writer meant ‘exceeds target by 25% in bringing in new accounts’. This looks more realistic for a bank teller who has to talk to walk-in clients and bring in new accounts for the bank. Look, ‘exceed target’ is an extremely useful and powerful term in a graduate’s resume. Give a percentage of how you go beyond your target is even better.

Unrealistic Achievements

‘…..developed marketing strategies which lead to the magazine’s first month circulation of 300,000 and a subsequent current circulation of 2,000,000…..’

Again, no one in the world can relay how a single summer intern’s effort can lead to such a circulation figure.

I guess the writer ‘was member of a successful team which developed marketing strategies that lead to …..’ This does not only make the achievement realistic but also demonstrates team effort and team spirit which is highly sought after in an investment banking environment. Look, ‘member of a successful team’ is also a very useful and powerful term in a graduate’s resume in describing his intern experience.

Use Effective Wordings

Ineffective: Responsible for / worked with / handled
Effective: Lead, oversaw, managed, analyzed

How to Differentiate Effective and Ineffective
Your resume should be skills and accomplishment driven. It should demonstrate how your skill sets and experience can add value to your new employer. Effective verbs/phrases on a resume capture the essence of your duties by demonstrating action or transferable skills set. It is also important to quantify or give a numerical value to each achievement.

Ineffective: Responsible for the daily processing and payment of cash transmittals and disbursements between private equity funds, investors and banks.
Effective: Processed cash transmittal payments and disbursement between private equity funds investors and banks totaling 20 million daily.

Use an Objective?

I don’t know what make candidates want to include objective, career goal, executive profile etc in their resume, which won’t contribute value however occupies a lot of space. Let me compromise a little if it is a trend. Write an objective only if you are proactively submitting your resume and not responding to a recruiting ad. Even so, write an effective objective instead of an ineffective one. Make it a one-sentence, one-line objective. Let’s compare effective and ineffective.

Ineffective: To obtain an entry level position in a leading financial institution.
A high energy college graduate seeking to secure a challenging and rewarding entry level role which will enable me to apply my education and skills to the benefit of the organization.

Does the recruiter know where to place you with this kind of vague objectives? No.

Effective: To secure a full time opportunity in Equity Research.
To assist hedge fund mangers in developing fund of fund

More resume writing tips from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Resume Creator

Investment Banking Resume Writing Skills

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