Monday, March 31, 2008

Elements Of An Outstanding Resume

If you ask me what the most important element of a good resume is, I would say ‘content’ – of which, work history is the priority.

When I receive outstanding resumes, I will proactively do canvass for the candidate, ie. Send out ‘speculative’ resumes, in a headhunter’s term. Here I have generated a bio from one of my most admired resumes. This candidate has been off core investment banking roles for some time, but I am happy to sell him as a CFO candidate.

Please note that all names are dummies.

2006 - present
Non-profit Business, US$7 billion AUM, Hong Kong
Deputy Group Treasurer

2002 - 2006
Blue Chip Publicly Listed Real Estate Company, Hong Kong
Head of Treasury & Investments

1994 - 2002
Blue Chip Publicly Listed Company, Hong Kong
Deputy Treasurer

1988 - 1994
Canadian Dominion Bank, Canada
International Banking Division

1993 - 1994 Manager
1991 - 1993 Senior Assistant Manager
1988 - 1991 Assistant Manager

1987 - 1988
RBS, Hong Kong
Associate, Debt Capital Markets

1982 - 1987
HSBC, Hong Kong
1986 - 1987 Assistant Manager
1983 - 1986 Executive
1982 - 1983 Management Trainee

Why is this resume outstanding?
Frankly, this candidate does not possess a long list of degrees and professional qualifications, and does not speak seven languages. He actually has only one bachelor’s degree and is bilingual with English and Chinese. You will notice that he stay with each of his employers for a considerable period of time – meaning he is stable. Most of his movements, either internal or external, are upward movements – meaning he is doing well in all the jobs he does.

A Good Work History is the Backbone of a Good Resume
As I said in my previous post, any bachelor’s degree will enable you to start an investment banking career. However in the long run, you need to build a good work history in order to contribute to a good resume. Just like a top chef would still need good ingredients to cook with.

Remember, the way you move, indicates how successful you are in your career path. Start building a good job history the first day you start your first investment banking job. Be selective and look for a good investment bank to start with. Think before you accept any lateral move. Bear in mind one is fine, two is not preferred, three is not acceptable.

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

Resume Writing

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Resume Writing Strategy

Video Resume?
Sometime ago, a Yale student send a video resume along with an 11-page resume to UBS. The video resume ended up appeared on the internet. UBS declined publishing candidate’s confidential information, but the video resume generated thousands of hits in just matter of days. This did not reflect the effectiveness of a video resume, as the viewers didn’t intend to hire the student, but just took it as an entertainment, as it recorded the student’s daily life of how to keep fit, work out and so on…

Resume writing is an art of selling yourself to a prospective employer. It is important that it contains the right amount of information, not too much in detail, and not too brief. I don’t think anybody on earth should write an 11-page resume + a video. As a graduate, a one-page resume plus a well-written cover letter is good enough to win an interview.

Long Resume?
I thought the longest resume I ever come across was 13 pages. Anyway, long resumes usually consist of career summary, executive profile, career goal, achievements and awards etc on the first three or four pages. Another half page is to describe the company they work for, company history, structure, product lines, annual turnover, reporting lines and so on, before describing their own job.

Detailed Resume?
The art of resume writing is to present your experience and education in a way to convince the hiring manager that you suit the job you are applying, and make them want to see you and find out more about you. If you go into too much detail, the hiring manager simply has no need to see you. Also too long and too detailed a resume, indicates that you are desperate, and will only work against you.

Investment Banking Resume
It is difficult to describe how busy investment bankers are, the best strategy is to make your investment banking resume short and precise. This will certainly attract the best attention to every word you write.

Test of Your Knowledge on My Blog
What are the four major elements of an effective resume cover letter?

More tips from Jimmy Sweeney and his Amazing Cover Letters.

Resume Writing

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Qualifications Needed to Start an Investment Banking Career

Very often people ask me this question: What are the most sought after qualifications for investment bankers?

CFA: 80 per cent of my candidates have this professional qualification.

MSc / MBA: 80 per cent of my candidates have one of these qualifications.

However at an entry level, investment banks never require any particular qualifications, though most of them expect a basic bachelor’s degree. To start an investment banking career, personality fit rates higher than technical skills.

There are even real cases like these.

Peter Redhead, the former head of Asia Equities at JP Morgan, has none of his degrees related to banking.

Peter Sullivan, the former CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, studied physical education at university.

The present Japan country head of a US Hedge Fund, studied law at university and has only one bachelor’s degree.

On the contrary, one of my candidates has his resume full of all kinds of bachelor’s and master’s degrees and professional qualifications, that made me wonder why he had time to date his girl friend, get married and raise children. Unfortunately, he is not even a CFO yet, in his 20 years' career.

A basic university degree is your key to investment banking. Additional factors determining your success will include opportunities, your skills on networking, your capabilities on multi-tasking and problem solving. However to increase your competitiveness, CFA is highly desired.

Test of your investment knowledge
If you buy a company's bond,
A. You own a part of the company
B. You have lent money to the company
C. You are liable for the company’s debts
D. You can help manage the company
E. Don’t know

Investment Banking Career

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"Job Search Secrets" to block interview stress

Today I receive this email from Jimmy Sweeney, in which he talked about "how to block interview stress". It is not investment banking focused, however will benefit all job seekers.

Dear Anna,
Just the thought of an interview can set your heart a-thumping. Even the word itself, "interview" can bring on cold hands and stomach jitters. When you enter the office and face the employer you may have yet another outbreak of stress--fuzzy thinking and nervous chatter--all of which can result in losing the opportunity to make a good first impression toward landing the job.

So what can you do to rid yourself of these unwanted behaviors? How can you appear calm, cool, and collected, and at your best?

Try these three simple stress-reducing techniques and notice how your self-esteem will rise.

1. Arrive ten to fifteen minutes ahead of your appointment. Spend five of those minutes listening to soft music, and deep breathing with your eyes closed, before leaving your car.

2. Visit the rest room on your way to the interview site. Check your appearance, smile into the mirror and say the following affirmation silently or aloud if you're alone: The employer and I connect immediately. He/she sees me as the ideal candidate for this job.

3. Enter the company's lobby or waiting room and take a moment to observe your surroundings, to introduce yourself to the receptionist, and to sit quietly and review your notes.

Take Charge Now!

Most important: PLAN AHEAD. Never allow yourself to 'wing' it. Take the active approach. Stress, like wild fire, will spread quickly and consume you if you don't block it before it reaches you. Then move into the interview as a confident and balanced individual--a professional well suited to fill the job opening.

# # # # #
Jimmy Sweeney is the president of CareerJimmy and author of the brand new "Job Interview Secret" job landing system. Jimmy is also the author of several career related books and writes a bi-monthly article titled, "Job Search Secrets."

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Investment Banking Resumes – First Anniversary

My blog has just turned one year old. Last March, I have executed my plan as to set up a blog to help young people to write a good and effective investment banking resume.

My blog experience is mostly encouraging, though some readers let me down.

At the beginning, I was answering investment banking career related questions. At a later stage, someone approached me for a free resume critique which I never advertised, but happy to do.

My first request was from a Stanford student. I was glad to see loyal readers like him sending me a resume which was strictly conformed to my guidelines, with outstanding layout and content. On the contrary, some upset me like contacting me day after day for an answer but didn’t care to send me a word of ‘thank you’ after my answering their questions. Likewise, some didn’t care to come back and say a word of ‘thank you’ after receiving my resume critique.

Some others with many years of experience also ask for my free resume critique, making excuse that they want to become an ibanker. However the way they wrote their resumes told me that they were not my blog readers but somehow wanted to take advantage of a free critique service.

Some even approached me as a career counselor, though they are in no way IB persons.

Although I welcome the opportunities to deal with young individuals who want to become ibankers, I also prefer to deal with those who appreciate my work.

Birthday Special
I have a presentation about some interesting aspects of the life of Warren Buffet who has donated $31 billion to charity. I want to exchange this presentation with my blog readers who will post a comment in my blog on one of the following topics:
- One of your IB interview experiences
- Your first IB experience

You don’t have to write long. Making it interesting and share your IB experience with other readers. Make sure to list your email address in the comment, so I can send you the presentation. If your article is long, let me know and I’ll make it a post in my blog for you.

Start Young – The Golden Rule of Starting An Investment Banking Career

Recommended Career Tools

Amazing Cover Letters
Amazing Resume Creator
Secret Career Document

Investment banking career