Monday, May 26, 2008

Where Do I Fit In An Investment Bank?

Many might ask where I should start my investment banking career. There are various divisions within a bank and yet you might feel uncertain of where to start. Goldman Sachs, as one of the most admired employers from Wall Street, has designed a quiz to help you analyze and have a better understanding of yourself.

You would have to answer 12 questions which have no right or wrong answers. The quiz is informal and has no impact on their hiring decisions, as results won’t be retained. Objective of the quiz is just to help find out where you fit in.

Where Do I Fit In

Investment Banking Career

Recommend career tool: Amazing Cover Letters

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Career Change Cover Letter

Let us review the elements of a 20-second resume cover letter which is best suited for investment banking.

A 20-second cover letter must answer all these questions precisely:

1. What are you doing?
2. What do you want to do?
3. What are you able to do?
4. What do you want the reader to do?

A career change cover letter is more or less in the same structure. Remember you don’t have to tell a full story on your cover letter or resume. Always reserve something interesting that the hiring manager wants to find out and you’ll win an interview.

Here is a recent career change cover letter that I receive and I find it impressive.

Subject: Director of Credit Risk Management

Dear Anna

A Hong Kong-based colleague referred me to you. I am very keen to build upon my senior management experience with the United Nations, and am seeking a director-level position with a Wall Street investment bank as head of credit risk management.

My background is in behavioral scoring, leading organizational change, advocacy, and fund-raising.

I would prefer to be based in Hong Kong, but am open to other cities in Asia.

I've attached my CV, and I look forward to the opportunity to talk with you or one of your colleagues about next steps.


Anna Maria’s Thought of The Day – Looooooong Resume / Cover Letter Won’t Work
Today I received a record-breaking resume of 32 pages in full colour powerpoint format. It was interesting to flip through the first few pages, but I gave up after page six. Too much information on a resume will only make you loss the chance of an interview. Either hiring managers don’t have the patience to read or they know your everything that they don’t need to see you. Always keep your resume and cover letter with the right amount of information and length.

Learn to write cover letters in an appropriate tone with persuasive power from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Cover Letters

Cover Letter

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Belated Successful Investment Banking Career

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
Come back and see my next post.

Investment Banking Career

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ideal Investment Banking Cover Letter

Here is a sample of an ideal 20-second resume cover letter, extremely suitable for applying investment banking jobs. His one-page resume is also very well-written. A very good candidate though a little green for now. I'm sure he will be on my radar screen in a couple of years.

Dear Anna

I was referred to you by a friend. I am currently a third year analyst at Societe Generale Asset Management based in London. I am actively looking for opportunities in asset management or capital markets in Hong Kong/mainland China. Please find attached a copy of my resume. I would like to discuss in detail with you, please let me know if you will be available to speak on the phone in the next few weeks. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,

(note: all names are dummies)

Learn to write cover letters in an appropriate tone with persuasive power from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Cover Letters

Resume Cover Letter