In this article Kenji will walk you through his resume which got him an investment banking job at Goldman Sachs as a summer analyst in their NYC headquarters. He will give you tips and tricks to help boost your CV. Hopefully this will be useful to anyone looking for finance roles in both full-time and internship roles as the resumes are quite similar.
Generally, a resume for finance should only be one page long but try to make that page full if possible. In many countries, such as the US, UK, and the rest of Europe, you shouldn’t include a picture of yourself, to avoid discrimination, although this may vary in your specific country.
The resume can be split into four main categories:
- Professional Experience
- Additional Information
Since I was a student, I started with education as that took up the most of my time. Then I had my professional experience, as that was the next most relevant category. Then I went onto my skills, and lastly any extras, which I called additional information. Within each of the main categories, items should be listed chronologically, so the most recent activity or job goes at the top.
That’s the structure I used for my resume, but to be honest some of my friends at Goldman had a slightly different formant. For example, they also had a leadership experience section, where they might show that they had been president of some club or volunteered somewhere. I didn’t have this section because I didn’t have much leadership experience, so you have to just play your cards and structure your resume in a way that makes you look good.
Let’s delve into each category and I’ll explain what I wrote, why I wrote what I did, and how you can improve your resume as well:
For the education section, if you’re a full-time student, this should be on the very top. If you’re a full-time worker, then it should come after your work experience. Essentially, whatever takes up the most of your day goes at the top.
Within that you typically want to have your university and your high school. However, on mine, since I transferred university, I didn’t have my high school in there. That said, if you don’t have much work experience, you can always expand on your education, for example, by mentioning extra curriculars, what you’ve studied, your grades etc. If you still need to fill out your resume, you can always mention any other education you’ve had, such as a study abroad program, or a summer school to learn a language.
In my case, I went to Cornell University, which doesn’t have a finance major, so my major wasn’t super relevant to investment banking. However, through my concentration, and classes I took, I was able to tailor my resume to the role. Typically, you also want to show your grades, but I only recommend doing this if you’re happy with them. If not, just don’t include them, it goes back to what I mentioned earlier about playing to your strengths.
I also included a relevant coursework section to emphasize that I know finance well, and I’ve studied the topic. This is particularly important if your major is not so relevant. For example, if you’re a history major who wants to work in finance and you’ve taken some finance electives, make sure to highlight that, or else recruiters would just think a history major doesn’t know anything about finance.
Although, bear in mind that if you include a class such as a corporate finance class, odds are that you’ll be asked a finance related question in a potential interview. Basically, only include a course if you understood it well.
This section should make up the bulk of your resume. You may not have enough professional experience to fill the space, but even unglamorous jobs like bartending, or working as a bellman like I did are still good to include. They demonstrate that you’re active during summers and you should be able to show lots of transferable skills.
Use this list below as a rough guide for each of your experiences
- Typically, you'll write the name of the company followed by your title and department
- Write 2 - 4 bullets to explain what you did
- Try to keep the number of bullet points consistent for each experience
- Quantify and use figures where possible to more specifically describe how you added value to your company
Remember for each job and the respective bullet points, make sure to tailor it to the role you’re applying for. For example, for a banking job, you might want to emphasize that you’ve worked in a team, worked on excel, worked with numbers, and generally really demonstrate that you already have experience with many of the tasks of a finance job.
Now, I’ll go through each role chronologically, to provide you with more detail and give you a better idea on what to include.
- Experience 1 - Marriott Bellman. This role had nothing to do with investment banking, but it still deals with customers, just like an investment bank will. For this type of job, you can always mention that you learned about providing excellent customer service, dealing with multiple tasks at once and working as a team.
- Experience 2 - Bloomberg Spring Insight Programme. Whilst this was only a week-long, I thought it was worth including as it was specifically finance related. In the bullet points, I explained that I understand a good amount of what finance is, what parties are involved, and how the markets work in general. Basically, I tried to demonstrate that I’m passionate about the industry, and not just applying to investment banks for money or prestige.
- Experience 3 - PwC Financial Audit Intern. During this time, I really got to work with accounting and finance on excel, which I thought was very applicable to an investment banking job. I made sure to emphasize this in the bullet points, by explicitly mentioning that I used Excel and made financial models, also again notice how I used action verbs and quantified wherever possible. I then wrote that I worked with many different people, to highlight that I’m comfortable interacting with clients as well as my colleagues.
I’ve worked more jobs than these, but as it’s your resume, you get to choose what you prefer and what to include. I cherry-picked the roles that made my candidacy look stronger.
For the skills section I included language and computer skills. In this part you want to highlight what makes you stand out. For me, that’s languages as I am fluent in 5, so I want to emphasize that. If you only speak one language for instance, you don’t need to have a whole language section. It’s that’s simple, it’s your own resume, so you control what you want to put in or omit.
If you do speak more than one language, make sure not to lie or exaggerate your skills. People really like to test languages in interviews. For example, in one specific investment banking interview I had for Citi, the interviewer spoke to me in English, Spanish and French.
As for computer skills, most people know how to use Excel, PowerPoint and Word. Therefore, if you want your skills section to stand out, make it more specific. In mine, I included some finance specific programs, Eikon and Bloomberg. However, you could have specific Excel formulas that you know how to use, to demonstrate that your Excel skills are proficient. Although, I have been tested about my Excel knowledge during interviews, so make sure you don’t lie here either.
This final section is quite vague and often people neglect it, but I think it’s super important as it’s what differentiates you from other competitive candidates. Perhaps you play the same sports as the recruiter, or maybe you have similar hobbies, or clubs etc., and this can be a huge conversation starter. I feel like I did better in many of my interviews because the person interviewing me also played soccer and we connected through that.
- Competitive Sport: I played soccer competitively in Spain and in high school at IMG Academy, so I emphasized that. Generally, investment banks tend to like athletes as it shows good discipline and teamwork, so I made sure to have that at the top. Obviously, it doesn’t have to be sport, for you it might be music, dancing, or whatever. If you haven’t done any of these competitive activities, then there is no need to include this bullet.
- Interests: As for the interests, it’s simply anything you’re interested in! Don’t put things like financial modelling, or financial markets as that’s probably not realistic and recruiters won’t find it very genuine. Quite a few people put reading as an interest which is fine, but make sure you have a book to speak about as I’ve been asked many times what my favorite book is or what book I read recently.
- Certificates & Achievements: I included some credentials to prove my fluency in English and French, as well as a finance certificate. If you have a scholarship, put that, and the achievement doesn’t have to be finance related, you could also have an SAT score.
- Additional Education:Finally, I have an additional education part for a 3-week course I did on corporate law. You may want to include something like this in the education section if you want to write about it in more detail. I just didn’t want to put it there as it was only a short course over the summer. However, when I had less work experience, I used to have courses like this next to my university section as it filled more space and it showed I was interested in business.
Remember that in a resume you want to play to your strengths. If you’re particularly good at something, show that off, and if you’re weak in another area then there’s no need to include it. At the end of the day, you have full control over what is on the resume.
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- Test Bullet List 1
- Test Bullet List 2
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