When you finally decide to leave investment banking you should approach it with the same level of planning and dedication that you approached getting into the industry in the first place. Making sure you know exactly what you want and having a plan to get there is crucial to your success in getting that next job. For an overview of everything you need to do before you apply for a single job check out this post.
One of the things you need to do before you contact a recruiter or apply for that perfect job is to update your resume and cover letter. When you are working in Investment Banking these tend to go stale very quickly. In fact I’m guessing that you probably haven’t updated it since you managed to land the Investment Banking job that you’re so desperate to leave.
The problem is that most of the time your resume (and cover letter) needs a complete re-write. Going for your second job is not like going for your first one out of university or college. Your Investment Banking job isn’t just another entry under the ‘Work Experience’ section of the resume that you used to get the Investment Banking job. So what do you need to change? Well that’s what this post is for…so keep on reading.
You need to completely change the structure of your resume
What was the most important thing when you were a college student applying for Investment Banking jobs? The chances are that it was your degree, your marks and your relevant work experience (probably in that order too). When you’re looking for your second job your resume needs to change where the emphasis is placed within your CV.
Even if it is allowed, your resume really shouldn’t be longer than a page. I live and work in Australia where longer resumes are perfectly acceptable and even commonplace however when I left Investment Banking I managed to keep my resume to a page? Why – because I focused on what was relevant and cut everything else out.
The most important thing in your resume will be your Investment Banking experience
Work experience is now the most important section of your resume. When employers are hiring experienced professionals they are looking to see what you did, where you did it, what your responsibilities were and how you can use those skills in your current job. They may look at your degree and marks as a secondary consideration but your Investment Banking experience is far more important…and your resume needs to reflect this.
After your personal details therefore you need to get straight into your Investment Banking experience. Typically ‘work experience’ sections cover
- Where you worked
- How long you worked there for
- What your key roles and responsibilities
If you have had a couple of years of Investment Banking experience your resume will look slightly different (although the principles are the same). Your work experience section will cover:
- Where you worked
- How long you worked there for
- What team / sector did you work in
- List the publicly announced deals that you worked on ranked according to the level of involvement that you had on the deal
- Detail what you did on those deals
- If your deal experience is limited talk about transactions that didn’t quite get across the line but exclude any company names or identifying factors
You worked damn hard to get into banking…make sure you leverage that credential
Up front in your work experience section should be the bank you worked at and how long you worked there for as well as your title. People know how hard it is to get into Investment Banking and the name value alone will get you into many doors. Showing that you managed to stay more than a year or two tends to get you bonus points so don’t hide either.
Emphasise your team or sector experience if you are going for a job in that same sector
If you worked in the Resources team and are going for a job in the resources industry then you need to state clearly that this is where your experience lies. Be clever about this though. If you are going for a role where you have no sector experience but the skills you learned in investment banking can be easily translated then focus on those skills and leave your team out.
The work you did on deals is far more important than the deal itself
Don’t emphasise the big name deal that you did if you didn’t actually do great work on that deal. The small sell side deal where you practically ran the deal yourself is far more impressive and easier to talk about than the big name deal where all you did was attend meetings and run the comps every day. When you list the deals you worked on your order should go something like this
- Deals where you had the best experience and have real skills and experience you can talk about
- Big name deals where you had a minor role
- Undisclosed deals where you did great work and had good experience
Leave out those deals which never made it to market where you didn’t do a lot. We all have tons of them and no employer wants to hear about you running comps on some tech company which you are not allowed to disclose due to confidentiality.
Detail what you did on those deals
Keep in mind that you only have a very short amount of space to condense a large amount of information. This means you need to only provide that information which makes you look good and shows the skills and abilities you have. Don’t explain the complexity of a transaction if you had nothing to do with it. Talk about what you did on a particular deal…for example:
Advisor to Firm X in their successful bid for Firm Y
- Collaborated with Firm X to create a DCF and LBO model for their bid for Firm Y as well as keeping up to date the comparable acquisitions and comparable companies valuation models
- Primary contact during the due diligence phase of the bid
This is obviously a super simple and generic example (because every deal is different and what you did is different on each deal). One piece of advice though NEVER EVER over-state what you did because it will come back to bite you. If you’re an analyst you were not involved in the negotiations nor did you actually cause the deal to get done. You’re the junior member of a team and every employer will know that. Don’t be afraid of talking up your experiences and what you did but never claim something that isn’t true.
Your resume shouldn’t be longer than a page however your Investment Banking experience should make up approximately 1/2 of this space because it is the most relevant thing in your resume
Only include other work experience if it is relevant
You should only include other work experience if it is relevant. For example prior to starting in Investment Banking I had a part time job in an unrelated field, I had done an internship in Investment Banking, one as an Economist and a legal internship as well. When it came to updating my resume I including the Investment Banking internship (as a one line entry) as well as the economics internship (again one line entry) but I didn’t include my part time job or the legal internship as they were not relevant to the job I was applying for.
Your degree, grades and other interests should be included…but should only take up a few lines
Yes, your degree, your grades and your other interests are still important and should be included however they don’t carry the weight that they did when you were a fresh college student and so shouldn’t be given the same weight as you did then.
Degree and grades should probably be condensed down to one line which includes your University, your degree and your GPA (or simple average if that is what is used in the country where you live). You should also include any specialisations within your degree if they are relevant.
Likewise your ‘other interests’ should still be included but only take up one line. For example if you want to put down a charity you work for plus some sports that you still play or languages that you speak then go for it. You can talk about these at the interview…but they are not the most important part of your resume.
More questions on updating your resume? Shoot me an email or sign up to the Banker’s Pitch Newsletter for more tips.