Investment Banking Résumé Template and Guidelines
I get a lot of questions about structuring, editing, and creating a great resume every year. Since first round cuts are made based on your resume, spend some time making it better right now. Follow these steps for an awesome investment banking resume.
- One page with a minimum .5’’ margins and 10 pt. font. When sending it as a file convert it to PDF. When printing it out use the regular printer paper.
- Make sure items are formatted consistently, margins line up, selling and grammar is perfect. These are basic items, but will take 2 or 3 read through to find.
- Don’t include anything from high school after your freshman year of college is complete.
- The purpose of a resume is not to show off your creativity or design skills; instead it is a way to organize your experiences as they relate to banking.
- Bankers will glance at your resume for about 30 seconds. Keep sentences concise and to the point. Quality, not quantity matters.
- Everything on your resume is “fair game”. Be honest so you won’t be stumbling during your interviews. At the same time, don’t sell yourself short.
Step 1: Choose a template
Please be aware of the font size, margins, and spacing. Personalize this according to your needs. Regardless of which one you like, there are five main sections and these are the guidelines:
- This section is pretty straightforward. Just follow the template and make sure everything is symmetrical.
- Please no photo or objective; the pictured resume is for entertainment purposes only.
- As far as GPA rounding goes, consult with your university’s policy manual. If it’s exceptionally high, separate it from the text on the right. You could “hide it” by listing your major GPA or including it in the body instead of segregating it.
- Include your honors, relevant coursework, and research under your university. This is optional, especially “relevant coursework”. Generally, if is a course related to finance, add it if you’re lacking in other sections or attend a liberal arts college.
- Add in your summer or study abroad experiences following the same format as your university subsection.
- Do you have any certifications (e.g., NASD Series 7, Bloomberg, CPA, etc.)? Want to list a modeling course you completed? Place these under the title “Financial Training” in this section.
- I would leave out all standardized test scores.
- If you’re light on experience, add in your TA work or even jobs you took on in high school (e.g., caddying, working at Radio Shack, etc.). In this case, consider combining work experience with “Activities & Leadership” renaming the category accordingly.
- Highlight for finance or investment banking internship first and dedicate more space (i.e., bullets) to this experience.
- Once you get transaction or client experience, consider structuring the subsection with a summary sentence, stating the transaction, its industry, and deal size, followed by and indented couple tasks or projects you worked on pertaining to that deal. This also works for consulting, PWM, and anything else with specific clients or companies. This structure is not required, but can be beneficial only if you have big names.
Activities & Leadership
- The key here is highlighting experiences that are significant to banking.
- Volunteer at 15 places? Pick one of your favorites.
- Have about 3 bullets per activity depending on its importance.
- Limit yourself to seven interests. Make sure you can talk about them and they are interesting. Don’t list something like Fishing or Singing; instead be more specific (e.g., deep sea fishing or baritone opera singing).
- Include languages and your level of fluency in this section.
- Don’t list MS Office proficient or Wall Street (the movie) in this section. Doing this will actually demonstrate a lack intelligence on your part.
Step 2: Organize
- Now that you have dumped all of your experiences on your resume, chances are it don’t fit or meet the 1 page requirement. Take some time to organize and structure each of your subsections.
- Chronology doesn’t matter. Place what is important to the banker first.
- A resume is the summation of your accomplishments. Every line should start with a past tense action verb. Yes, even tasks you are presently working. Here is a list of verbs you could use, don’t repeat one once used.
- Take time to format everything consistently. Make sure margins are even and borders line up. Find all grammatical and spelling mistakes. Capitalization and punctuation are sources of common errors.
- Use the active voice. And try your very best to keep each bullet less than 1 line long.
Step 3: Bankify your resume
In this step, each of your accomplishment are justified through specificity and numbers. Bankers will look for candidates to have each of their bullets structured according to these two guidelines:
Specifically say what you did and how you did it.
Bankers don’t want to know what you did, but what you learned and achieved through the experience. Use “by” or “resulted in” to show your impact.
Show the quantitative results.
Numbers are simply the best. Quantify whenever possible.
Here is an example of “bankifying” in progress:
Bad: Helped the school improve test scores.
Ok: Worked with a team of faculty to improve XYZ standardized tests and increased student retention rates.
Good: Lead a team of faculty to improve school performance on the XYZ test by increasing student retention rates.
Better: Lead a team of 6 faculty members to improve student retention rates by 10% resulting in a 20% increase in XYZ test scores.
Step 4: Circulate your new Resume
Get it revised by friends, professors, career departments, and family. One of my friends got a consulting by attending a career editing event. Get your resume out there.
Once you give somebody your resume, many people feel obligated to comment on something or the other. This is good. If it is a grammatical issue, fix it immediately. On the other hand, everyone does have their own opinion on style; take those suggestions with a grain of salt.
A resume is like a pitchbook, there will be several drafts. Even when you think it’s perfect something will come up or you’ll accomplish something new. Keep updating your resume.
Finally, if you have any questions, before you leave a comment, check out Indiana University’s IBW for several public resume examples.