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

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lehman Brothers is Over

The 158-year-old firm, which survived railroad bankruptcies of the 1800s, the Great Depression in the 1930s and the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management a decade ago, filed a Chapter 11 petition with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on Monday September 15, 2008. Lehman bankruptcy

Sadly I have to remove Lehman's career site from my blog, as it will soon disappear from the world of investment banking.

Today I received a number of resumes from candidates currently working for Lehman Brothers. On the other hand, some star bankers are being named by competitors and had us to approach them. If you are doing well, the banking world has always a seat for you. Our search firm survived the Asian financial crisis and the need for investment banks to recruit quality bankers had never declined.

If you are still tempted by an investment banking career, come back tomorrow and we will talk further about resume writing skills.

Recommended Career Tool
Amazing Cover Letter Creator

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What Are The Big 5s in Investment Banking Interview?

Among all the investment banking interview questions, these seem to have been come across by almost every candidate, in same or similar wordings.

1. Walk me through your resume. Tell me about yourself.

Never talk about your family background, your education history or your hobbies. Focus on your skill sets and experience that are related to the job you are interviewing for.

2. Why do you want to be an investment banker? Why Investment Banking?

Make it clear that you DO understanding what investment banking is and that is what you are exactly looking for and prepared to.

3. Why our bank?

Visit the career section of the bank’s website. You’ll usually find ‘Why Goldman Sachs’ for example. Take notes from that section and be sure to include those points in your answer.

Also mention the bank’s ranking (refer to source if possible) and that you know what the bank’s strength area is and that is exactly the area you are interested in and wanted to devote yourself to.

4. What are some different ways to value a company?

Be sure you know three to five of them and how they differ from each other. Of course you should know the pros and cons of each of the methods and make sure you are able to walk someone through the steps in each of the valuation types you mentioned.

5. Walk me through a Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) valuation.

If you answered DCF in your previous question, be prepared that you’ll have to answer this as a subsequent question.

If you are able to answer these five questions in a smart way that impresses the interviewer, you are likely to have built a nice first impression and be ready to go on to the next steps in the interviewing process.

I found a blog which suggests very impressive answers to these questions. Take a look and it will certainly add value to your next investment banking interview.

Recommended Career Tool
Amazing Cover Letter Creator

Investment Banking Interview