Getting your resume to standout from the very tall pile of resumes is the first step to getting an offer. Here are 5 tips that can help you land the interview.
If you’re looking for a job that allows you to make plans to
meet with friends and date during the week, this isn’t it. You can expect to
work 12 -20 hours a day week after week with a smile, faked if need be, on your
face. To sustain that pace for any period of time requires stamina and an
ability to perform in a high-pressure environment.
Comparable high-pressure experience
Here are some other intense work experiences: combat veteran, crisis
hotline volunteer, elite athlete, captain of an athletic team, improv
performer. If it’s not obvious from the job title that the experience was
high pressure, make sure your description provides enough detail to make your
Demonstrated ability to successfully manage several
Examples might include:
- Varsity sports (Starting goalkeeper freshman & sophomore years;
in-season practice schedule 25 hours/week, off-season 20 hours/week) and demanding academic courseload (3.6 gpa in a no joke major).
- Part-time job, demanding leadership position with a student
club, and high gpa
2. Speak their language
Sadly many people lack imagination. This is particularly
true of HR executives who have to sift through thousands of resumes. Don’t make
them try to extrapolate how that summer job running your own lawn mowing
business or performing research at small or medium-sized company is relevant to
banking. They won’t, and you shouldn’t expect them to.
Use terms or industry buzzwords that make the comparisons
for them. Here are a few examples that describe non-finance work experience in a way that’s
relevant for skills you need in a finance job
report analyzing key performance metrics over the past 3 years vs competitors.
- Produced pitch books for prospective clients including financial projections
- Researched and analyzed customer and industry data to develop tailored marketing strategy
3. Show that you have quantitative aptitude
You don’t need to be a quant jock to be successful as a
banker, but you need to be comfortable with numbers. Here are a few ways you
can demonstrate this
- Strong math SAT or GMAT
- Higher level math or stats courses or econometrics with a
grade of B or above
- Work experience that required number crunching, developing or managing budgets, accounting, or building of financial models
- A quantitative major like engineering
4. Communicate an interest in finance
Wall Street firms are looking for
people who already know what an investment bank is and what the difference is
between investment banking, sales & trading, and equity research and how
they work together. Two of the three key questions you must answer through your
resume and during an interview, whether they are asked explicitly or not, are why are you interested in this job? and Why are you interested in this industry? If you’re a finance major and have finance work
experience, your interest is obvious. Don’t lose hope however if that doesn’t
describe you. Here are some other ways to show an interest in finance on your
Join the finance or investment banking club. Even better, take a leadership
position or get very involved so that you have a story to tell about the impact
you had on the club
- Take elective finance courses and include them on your
- Sign up for an online or weekend finance class or bootcamp.
There are some popular ones that the banks like JP Morgan and others offer for targeted groups, and there
are paid classes you can take like Wall Street Prep or DealMaven (acquired by FactSet)
- Create and manage your own stock portfolio or mock
portfolio, and include that in your Interests section
- Participate in any school or club-sponsored trip to Wall
Street banks. Try to organize one if it doesn’t exist. Include this in your
5. Demonstrate initiative
Analysts are often asked to do things they haven’t done before. The best performers are great at figuring out how to get
stuff done. Like water coming down
a mountain, they find their way around obstacles, whether they are unresponsive colleagues, limited access to data, or a severe time crunch. You can demonstrate that you've got the initiative to be that kind of analyst a number of ways.
- Leadership roles. Captain of a sports team, editor of a
school paper, student government, head of your fraternity or sorority. Whether
you have a title or not, make sure to communicate the impact you had. Title alone isn’t nearly as important as the story you can tell about the
difference you made.
- Participant in non-required programs that advance your
knowledge, skills, or passions. Perhaps this is a summer program at the London
School of Economics or a financial markets course at a local community college
- Process improvement. Communicating that you discovered a new way to perform certain analysis or present
data that was adopted by an organization and improved outcomes.