This article is designed to help an individual with no investment banking experience tailor their CV towards the industry.
TIP 1: ‘Investment banking’ is an umbrella term for a range of activities: corporate finance, asset management, proprietary trading, securities analyst etc. When applying for a role within a large investment bank, one can set themselves apart from other candidates by outlining in their cover letter which of these departments they might like to work within.
– “I believe that the skills and achievements demonstrated in my CV make me well suited to the fast paced and results-driven world of investment banking”.
The above statement demonstrates no understanding of what an investment bank actually is…
– “While I would relish an opportunity within any division of your banking operation, I believe that my degree in accounting and natural interest in business makes me well suited to the position of equity analyst”.
Fear not, stating the above will not ‘pigeon-hole’ you to a given department, indeed, most graduate programs involve a spell in every department over the first 12-24 month period. Highlighting a preferred role demonstrates a deeper understanding of the industry and will help set you apart from the piles of generic finance-based CVs.
TIP 2: One of the pre-requisites for investment banking is attention to detail, your CV must demonstrate this.
– “While interning in the corporate finance department I studied many companies within a range of industries.”
This comment gives no detail and does nothing to demonstrate an understanding of the aims of your research.
– “While interning in the corporate finance department I evaluated fifteen acquisition targets in industries ranging from Energy to Telecoms (revenue: $1bn-$1.8bn, market cap $3bn-$4.5bn).’
The more relevant detail you can include, the better. Ask yourself, “Why was I analysing these companies?” “How might this analysis drive the revenue of the investment bank that I am working for?” Details allow for results-driven planning, an essential skill when working with limited resources.
TIP 3: Results, results, results! As mentioned above, examples of results-driven work is a key ingredient of any effective finance-based CV. Of course, in some cases there may have been no obvious results to your undertakings but if there was, you must put them in.
We can expand upon Tip 2 to help illustrate this point (see amendment in red).
“While interning in the corporate finance department I evaluated fifteen acquisition targets in industries ranging from Energy to Telecoms (revenue: $1bn-$1.8bn, market cap $3bn-$4.5bn); resulted in three viable acquisition targets pushed to industry leader for due diligence.‘
Often, there is no way of knowing the true value or outcome of your research – but conjecture is fine, especially if you’re not making any bold claims.
Again, you will not be able to do this for every role but try to use this structure where possible. Really think about and stretch your previous roles, you might be surprised with what you come up with.
TIP 4: Last but not least, be social. Investment banking is a people business; the ability to build lasting relationships is a key factor for any investment banker. Give details on sporting, food or music interests – client entertainment often occurs at these events. Be passionate and be yourself.