Many students struggle to write an effective resume. Whilst your career guidance center may help, the onus is on you to make sure your resume meets investment banking standards. You need to tailor it to what investment banks are looking for in order to maximize your chances of success. All of your competitors at other schools are doing this, make sure you do or you will fall behind. Your resume and cover letter are the only pieces of written information a bank will have when deciding whether or not to interview you.
Focus your resume on banking and banking related skills
Yes, it is interesting that you swam for your school, state and were ranked nationally. It is also interesting that you coach swimming, have travelled internationally for swimming and have set-up a company selling swimwear. But this is a banking internship. While you should certainly include a bullet on your swimming experience, you want to broaden your experiences rather than narrow them. In this example, you could change the reference to a swimwear-company to an “ecommerce apparel start-up”. Further, think about the core skills required for banking: teamwork, attention to detail, analysis and time management. Your resume should articulate these attributes through your experiences.
Spelling, grammar, punctuation, formatting, alignment errors
There is only one way to format a resume and that is the right way. It must not contain any errors in spelling, grammar or punctuation. The key point on formatting is to be consistent. Inconsistent, sloppy and bad formatting, e.g. with full stops, bad spacing etc can sometimes rule you out because attention to detail is a key component of the job.
Layout of resume
The standard layout to use is typically whatever your school career office suggest There is nothing more off-putting than after reviewing a school resume book and finding 99 resumes with one layout and then one person uses a completely different one. Typically, we discount that person as it suggests they do not conform to standard formats or follow instructions, which is important in banking. Further, it is always very noticeable when a resume is not laid out symmetrically, e.g. if one work experience section has nine bullet points but the others only have one each. It just looks weird and as we said before, weird is never good.
Tantalize the reader
Intrigue the reader/interviewer further. This can be done by setting up very obvious “how” questions? E.g. an MBA candidate could say: “lead cross-functional team on global integration of network systems; achieved 20% synergies in first year”. This type of bullet point leads to a very obvious “how did you achieve this” question which you can prepare an excellent answer in advance for. Further, The “Additional Interests” section provides fertile ground to control the interview. Perhaps your bullet is “Met 3 former US presidents” – the obvious question to ask here is “how”, to which you should have a great, concise, funny and not too boastful story!
Not knowing what is on your resume
Yes, this is completely obvious and yes, this should not happen but yes, it happens all the time. Why? We do not know. Something about human phycology tempts us to bend the truth and exaggerate our achievements. But there is absolutely no scope for lying on your resume. DO NOT LIE. You will get caught out and there is nothing worse than not knowing about a specific bullet. It is an awkward experience for both the candidate and the interviewer. You lose all credibility and without credibility you have no chance of getting an internship or job. This rule applies to all aspects of your resume, from work experience through to leadership roles and interests.
The resume is to help you
Finally, don’t ever forget the resume is meant to help you get the job, not hinder you. Remember this as you are crafting it. Your work experience, your personal experience and your interests should all add to your candidacy – giving you a better chance of getting the job. When you are reviewing each bullet, you should ask yourself the question: what is this bullet saying and how is it helping my candidacy? If you can’t answer this question clearly, remove it.
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