In this article we’ll show you how to write your investment banking resume/CV in less than 30 minutes.
That means no more researching, no more studying, no more thinking. Instead, just copy straight from the best!
Here’s what an A+ banking resume looks like…
This sample investment banking resume is A-grade.
The achievements are phenomenal, the presentation is beautiful and the writing is articulate (and succinct!!). But what if you don’t have similarly prestigious investment banking work experience or achievements? No problem. You can still apply all the lessons here.
You can even make a sales job at a local video store sound impressive if you follow the style/design above and the instructions below.
If you find you’re still having trouble after all of this, consider looking at our free course here. Amongst other things, it goes into great detail on how students can turn a mediocre track record into something that looks amazing on their resume and wins bankers hearts and minds.
Notice the white space, line spacing and lack of clutter in this sample banking resume?
This is the sort of resume Steve Jobs would have liked.
Unlike most investment banking sample resumes out there, you won’t find any huge chunks of text or squashed up writing here.
But at the same time you’ll find enough information packed into this resume so that bankers can look at it and conclude without reading it “This kid has racked up quite a few achievements” – and this kind of first impression is essential!! ie there is a balance to strike.
Why have we taken a minimalist approach?
Because this is what investment bankers love.
You see, they only take 15-30 seconds to read your resume, and when it’s presented like the one above (so clear!) it makes their job of speed reading your resume so easy. They can extract the information they want within seconds.
School, scores, work experience and something about your personality – simple! Your banking resume will stand out from the crowd because of this. Plus, by only including our biggest achievements and leaving out the rest, we make room for them to shine.
For them to really be taken in by the banker and appreciated. As opposed to losing them in a sea of words, which is what most students end up with.
No time spent describing tasks we did in past jobs, no time spent listing out 5 work experiences, no time spent listing out every single hobby we’ve had since we turned 12 years old. And we’ve had to organize all the information intelligently.
For example your contact details go on one line, not two. You have 3 sections, not 4, not 5. You put multiple interests or activities on one line, separated only by commas. Etc. It’s the little things that matter with investment banking resumes.
Other notes on readability…
Notice that only a handful of items are bold. That’s it.
What this does is make it very easy for a banker to scan the document to find the experiences they want to read about.
Select bolding also decreases visual clutter. You might notice on existing sample investment banking resumes and examples that they bold a considerably greater portion of the resume. This may seem minor to you, but it’s just one example of how the average IB resume / CV has the wrong mindset.
Also, drilling down further, do you notice we don’t use many dashes or different font sizes etc. Once again, this is all done to reduce clutter / visual distraction and to make sure we’re not drawing attention to things that aren’t that important.
But what if you have no room?
You have so much to talk about, you’ve already cut 80% of your points/achievements and it still won’t all fit?
How to fit everything on one page
- Crunch the 2 summary lines into 1, so for example you would then have “Trump University, Bachelor of Arts in Economics – New York, NY” all on one line
- Take line spacing from 1.1 to 1.0
- Keep the page margins as you see them here…no tinkering with that! The page margin you see above is already small.
- Take the body font down by about 0.5
- Reduce the paragraph spacing between dot points
- And if you still need help consider switching font from Arial to Arial (no switch possible), or Garamond to Times New Roman…if you must (Times is ‘skinnier’)
- But the reality is that you should be looking first and foremost at eliminating mediocre achievements and superfluous words in your descriptions
Arial and Garamond are the stars of both resumes.
I dare say these 2 fonts were born for investment banking resumes.
How did we choose these fonts? What makes them the right font type for your banking resume?
Well, assuming your resume will be printed/copied by HR and then handed off to bankers, you will normally want a serif typeface, eg Georgia, Times New Roman or Garamond. Serif is easier to read on paper as the ‘tails’ of characters help lead the eye from word to word.
Which serif font should you choose?
Most sample investment banking resumes out there will go for Times New Roman. It’s a very standard font and one that bankers are used to. But it looks like absolute horse shit next to Garamond. Times’ ‘tails’ are an eyesore. Whilst Garamond looks infinitely more professional, classy and clear. It’s not only easier to read, but it looks better. Easy choice.
This sizing is slightly different to most investment banking resume samples out there, in that the heading and name font size is a little bigger than normal. The reason behind this choice is…
- We want those things to really stand out and provide the banker with a clear idea of where everything is within a split second
- A banker could spot/distinguish your resume from a dozen on a desk with just a glance (you stand out in a good way)
But what about Arial?
It is very clean and fresh after all. Well, yes it can be a better idea than Garamond, since it is much easier to read on a screen – hint: banking resumes are increasingly just being read on screens (hello environment!). And well, on paper it’s also pretty hot. So maybe this is a safer bet for you.
See how simple this section is. There’s no need to go on and on here.
Bankers after all only care about your school name, GPA score and studies. Why clutter this space with other things?
Also keep thinking minimalism here, eg there’s no freaking need to put “/4.0” next to your GPA. The bankers know it’s out of 4.0! This is a small example, but it’s once again indicative of the frame of thinking you need to take when constructing your IB resume.
Other notes worth making…
Notice with the “Honors” we’ve added some detail to the Corporate Finance Award?
Well, that’s because we need to make the achievement immediately understandable for the banker. Otherwise it just looks like “Oh yeah kid won some BS class award”. Writing “Class of 250” will slap a banker across the face and scream High Achiever. Nice.
PS Don’t worry about this looking like showing off. It’s just a fact stated, not a subjective opinion from yourself.
On Work & Leadership
We’ve combined work and leadership
This is because leadership roles are work. And often for students, their leadership experience will be as impressive, if not more, than their actual work experience. Plus leadership experiences mash two elements together “work” + “leader”.
Also, this mash up ensures we only have 3 sections to our resume. Not 4, not 5, not 6. And this helps greatly with fitting everything in (you don’t lose space to another big heading “Leadership” and the associated extra paragraph spacing etc) and keeping visual clutter (big words in capital letters) to a minimum.
Only 3 experiences have been included
And they are naturally the 3 most impressive work experiences!
This is essential, for ensuring we have enough room to adequately talk about these experiences and to ensure they stand out, as opposed to being drowned out when squashed up next to 3 or 4 other (and much more mediocre) work experiences.
You can easily get away with just 2 work/leadership experiences here too, especially if one of those experiences is an investment banking internship.
PS more detailed advice on investment banking internship resumes here.
Results are all we talk about
No BSing about what our role was – bankers know what banking interns in M&A do, they know roughly what accounting interns do (coffee and excel), bankers know what a club treasurer does (count money from pizza night) etc, and even if they didn’t know (eg website founder), your results will tell them everything they need to know.
And also, there’s no BSing about what tasks we did day to day, because bankers don’t care about what you do, but rather what you achieve.
They’re not lawyers!
By only focusing on results we give ourselves the room to really sing about them.
Only with detail will you impress bankers! And hey, summary sentences like “Responsible for organizing meetings with staff, answering client query calls and taking minutes at meetings” are so hollow and devoid of character that no banker wants to, or will read them.
eg “Analyzed the inventory wastage rates for 30 days and found a way to reduce wastage by 35% via implementing an automated ordering system, which resulted in $2,000 food savings every month and increased front/back-of-house harmony”.
Specific + metrics + outcomes = banker dirty talk
You can see we’ve loaded these dot points to the max with specific language, metrics and chatter about the tangible outcome. This is essential.
Plus the metrics in particular work hard to draw the bankers eye and make things ‘readable’/interesting. Vital.
Numbers work well to break up a sea of words too. Your resume is literally going to stand out from the crowd by a long way if you follow this style.
Notice once again that we haven’t listed out 10 dot points per job covering fairly average results/achievements or mere tasks we performed? Instead, we’ve just jotted down 2-4 MEGA achievements/results for each job.
This once again ensures that only our best achievements are being read by bankers and since there aren’t dozens of dot points covering shallow results, bankers are more likely to both read and love your work experience.
Knowing which dot points to put down is easy to achieve when you focus on the results you achieved from your 2-3 biggest projects at that job.
You see every person usually has 2-4 big goals with each work experience they undertake; for example as treasurer of the banking club the big goal was to cut costs so the club wasn’t in debt.
And so we talk about that in the investment banking resume example above, and just that. Not other BS about how we organized the elections for the next president, or how we streamlined the accounting practices, or how we recruited 5 new board members BS. Pick the best and make it sing!
On Skills & Interests
How did we make this section pop?
We brought ‘life’ and authenticity to every single skill & interest by adding in some detail – we took a general thing and made it specific and thus much more meaningful and believable for the banker reading it. This is vital when you realize most bankers feel like students just list BS skills/hobbies in this section.
We gave bankers a real glimpse of our personality by describing everything.
The resumes of most students suck at this. Absent any descriptive text, they feel like cold and boring lists that seem almost identical to every other resume out there. It’s not till these students get to the interview room that they can win bankers over with their personality.
We on the other hand want you to start winning bankers over now with your personality, ie at the resume stage. Because if we fail to get you success here, you’ll never get the chance to charm the bankers at the interview stage in the first place! Get a head start on the competition by displaying your personality with this section.
We injected intrigue into every skill/interest we listed, a ‘hook’, something that made the bankers go “Oooh, I want to hear more about this student”.
For example, the “Death Valley” mention; that’s literally going to pop out, slap the banker across the face, wake them from their resume screening induced boredom and get them excited. Ie we’ve turned this often neglected section into a powerful section of your resume.
It’s going to provide bankers with the mental hook they need to remember your resume and to make it stand out from a sea of 100s of resumes. Plus come interview time, this section is literally going to drive 20% of the interview questions you get! You see bankers will be desperate to talk to you about your investments in Chongqing, your Death Valley running and more.
And there are no easier questions on Earth than these.
We didn’t mention English, because it’s freaking obvious.
In the same way you don’t write “Excel” in the skills section, you don’t write this.
Also, we didn’t lie here or even stretch the truth…there could be some temptation to turn “Beginner” into “Intermediate” for example, but don’t.
You would be surprised how many internationals and multilingual locals work in banking, and the minute the banks see a language on your investment banking resume they’ll often have you sitting in at least one interview with a banker fluent in that language.
Not necessarily to test you, but more often to inspire a connection between the bank and you. Banks aren’t 100% evil!
Be careful what you list here. We haven’t bothered to list things like Excel, Bloomberg etc in the investment banking resume example above, because these skills aren’t highly rated and bankers can assume you possess them given an internship in banking already.
You can feel free to write down more advanced skills here like say VBA or Java etc, but arguably bankers aren’t that interested. And hey, writing stuff like Adobe Photoshop etc is also not really that helpful.
However, it is a good idea to list financial skills here if you are an arts student with no relevant coursework for example. In that case, go nuts, list a financial modeling course, talk about your Bloomberg tricks etc. It shows passion and a long formed intention to do investment banking.
Activities & Interests
Notice we don’t list 8 or 10 activities/interests? We could.
And most sample banking resumes out there do. They read something like “Film club, running, basketball, travelling, drawing, singing…”.
The problem with this is 1) with so many activities bankers will think you’re just listing generic interests – ie you don’t really care about these activities and your interest in them is nothing beyond fleeting and 2) you leave yourself no room to describe the activity in some sort of detail – there is a big difference between writing running and writing long distance trail running in Oregon, with the latter being immensely more interesting and intriguing to bankers.
You can put anything in this section of your resume as long as you do in fact like the freaking activity/hobby etc.
Bankers will quiz you about your interests in interviews, because what you list here can provide many talking points for them (ie “to get to know you better”). But with all that said, leave out shit like World of Warcraft or other uber niche interests that straddle the geeky side too much.
Because although this may resonate with one or two hardcore modelers in say TMT, it won’t work for the rest.
Need more help with your banking resume?
If you want to see more investment banking resume samples (and even A grade cover letter samples), plus learn how to turn a track record of mediocre achievements into a rocking banking resume, then check out this.