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How to Write a Great Investment Banking Resume

Investment banking is a fast-moving, high-stress, ferociously competitive business that requires specialized knowledge and experience—not to mention commitment, focus, as well as the physical and mental stamina required to work long hours. Career opportunities in investment banking are always available, although they’re more abundant in boom years and scarce in lean economic times.

To help land the big job you’re looking for, you may want to learn about these tips for building a killer investment banking resume. Obtaining a job in this potentially lucrative occupation usually requires a few key skills and qualities—although a strong recommendation from someone of influence may trump all of them.

To get an interview with an investment bank, your resume will be the first thing that hiring managers look at when deciding who gets their foot in the door.
Highlighting key skills, relevant experience, and education is crucial to stand out among a crowd of other highly qualified job candidates.
Utilize key phrases and highlight unique qualifications in your resume and streamline your cover letter to get noticed without being too wordy.

Building Your Resume
Although there is no perfect format and no infallible content for a resume, the suggestions below on how to optimize your resume have proven effective in getting jobs in the finance sector, including investment banking.

Keep in mind that there is a difference between a resume targeted for an investment banking job and an accounting job. While the investment banking candidate may have some accounting experience, having an established background in financial analysis, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, valuations, or experience in both buy-side and sell-side research tend to be much more important. And, of course, a candidate must be able to demonstrate a willingness to put in the demanding hours the job requires.

The resume format discussed below is a standard and widely-used arrangement, but you may also want to research other resume formats online or in the many books available on this subject. Also, note that the information included in the sample is for illustrative purposes only. Your own resume will, of course, reflect your own education, experience, and other pertinent information.

Education
To establish your educational background, it’s important to list the college or university where you studied, the degree(s) earned, whether you had any special honors designations or noteworthy academic achievements, and cite any specialized courses you completed that are relevant to investment banking. For example, computer science, statistical analysis, business writing, contract law, financial management or business administration courses may all be worth mentioning in this section.

Employment Background
Include the title of your current and previous jobs, along with the name and location of the company and your duties and accomplishments in a paragraph.

For example:
2017 to Present – Branch of Major Bank, New York, NY
Junior Accountant, Business Loans Department
-Audited books of small business loan applicants to determine cash flow, debt levels and risk factors to assess credit worthiness.
-Reported directly to vice president and chair of small business loan committee.
Skills
Create a section called “Skills” and list your relevant skills. For example, beyond your talent as an accountant, you may have a knowledge of tax law, previous managerial abilities, and a sharper-than-average understanding of human nature. Focus on the skills with the most relevance and demonstrate that you possess all of the skills you are claiming to have.

If you are short on specific hard skills, you may also list personal (soft) skills. For example, you might say that you are highly motivated, energetic, enthusiastic, detail-oriented, and so on. Many of these things will be implied in your investment banking skill set—that is, accounting skills generally suggest a detail-oriented personality—so you can probably exclude any overlap for the sake of brevity.