Here are 4 critical tweaks you can use to improve your investment banking resume:
#1. Internship Experience Is More Important Than Leadership In Student Groups
People often say, “I want to get an investment banking internship, but first I’ll raise my GPA, become president of the finance group, volunteer on the side and then get an internship.” Sounds like a very inefficient strategy, don’t you think? If you want to get a banking internship, then just get a banking internship! I’m going to say it again: if you want a banking internship, just get a banking internship! It makes more sense to aim for a stint at a local boutique right now than to productively procrastinate by becoming president of your finance club before actually doing what it takes to get a job. Don’t make any more creative excuses. Just do what it takes and get a job.
Another thing: banks weigh work experience more heavily than your student group activities because work experience more accurately illustrates the extent of your involvement in the industry. It’s more impressive to see that you completed a part-time internship doing M&A advisory at a boutique than it is to see that you’re involved in 27 student groups.
Now take a look at your investment banking resume. What does your work experience consist of? Is it heavy with student-group activities or real job experience?
#2. In your bullet points, focus on your deliverables as opposed to your responsibilities.
Responsibilities are nondescript, general tasks you were assigned. Deliverables are specific, tangible items that you completed. Take a look at the below examples.
Parker & Parker: Responsibilities Focus
- Responsible for staying on top of the markets via daily morning reports
- Assisted pitch book production in all the major deals across the company
- Completed weekly training assignments on DCF and Comps Model valuation methods
That sounds okay, right? Now watch this.
Parker & Parker : Deliverables Focus
- Crafted 50 healthcare and biotech market reports for senior management
- Produced 12 merger pitch books, 5 bridge loan presentations, and 3 amend and extend propositions
- Completed DCF model on Johnson & Johnson and a comps model on Bayer in firm-wide training program
I think you get the picture. This leads in to my 3rd point.
#3. Give numbers! Relay your results as quantitatively as possible.
Relaying your results in numbers is an incredibly effective way to show off your hard work. Go through your investment banking resume and quantify your work, even your non-finance work.
For example, if you were in a non-profit, tell me how much money you raised, how big the audience was that you reached and what type of target-market analysis you completed. Same goes for volunteer work.
If you compete in a sport, tell me what competitions you were in, what medals you won and how many events you participated in.
If you do writing, music or film, tell me how many books you sold, how many views your videos receive, how many galleries your paintings are featured in.
If you have a website, tell me how much traffic you get, what your click-through rates are and what methods you use to monetize it.
If you started your own company, tell me your revenue, how many customers you have, how many products you’ve sold.
The best investment banking resumes are quantified. So give me the numbers!
#4. Write Interesting Interests.
In the bottom of your investment banking resume, have a line for your interests. I’ve read some of my friends’ resumes and some of their interests were so impressively, cleverly worded (even though they were normal interests). Others just wrote their interests normally so it didn’t stand out to me. If there’s any line to be creative, this is the line to be a wordsmith.
Take a look at the below examples.
Normal Interests: coffee, running, mexican food, movies.
Interesting Interests: espresso-bar hopping, coastal marathons, burrito culinary techniques, 1980s sci-fi films.
The idea is to get into a niche. Take your general interest and ask yourself, “What is my niche?”
Now take a break from reading, whip out MS Word, and bank-ify your resume now. Utilize the tricks above and take your resume from college to banker in 30 minutes.