There are a few strict rules that apply when you write a CV for a job in investment banking, consulting, accounting, or other finance-related jobs.
Follow them, and you’re much more likely to get a job interview. In fact, not following these rules will almost certainly stop you from getting your dream job.
- Bonus tip: Download and choose between several free Word templates with CVs that are ready to be filled in by getting access to the file library
What should the CV include, and do I need a cover letter?
Your resume should list your education, relevant jobs, volunteer work and other qualifications that are important for the position you’re applying to.
The person going through your CV should be able to read it in a few minutes and see if she would like to interview you or not. That’s why it’s important to be concise and include only what’s relevant for that exact position.
Your resume doesn’t need to include a lot of personal details. This means that you shouldn’t structure it around your hobbies or family life. You also don’t need to include a picture.
Unless you’re specifically asked for it, you don’t have to send a cover letter. Most firms will not spend a lot of time reading through it if you send it.
If you think you have something EXTREMELY important to say that will make the interviewer love you, then consider writing one.
The technicals: How to write it
Your name goes on top in a larger font size than the rest of the document. Your email and phone number should be in smaller writing below. You don’t need your physical address, but include which city you work in.
Then create one section with your work experience, education, volunteer work, and other qualifications in that order. If you’re a Graduate, you put education first instead of work experience.
For each job, include the name of the company, your title, the time you worked there, and any specifics you did. If you only have a generic description of what someone in that position usually worked with, don’t include it.
Organize your experience from each job in projects or deals
Include details about what you did in your former jobs and internships. That way, the employer can see if they need to train you, or if you have most of the skills needed for your role already.
Below each job or volunteer position, add bullet points with projects or deals you worked on. You don’t have to have the same amount of bullet points for each job. Only include the good stuff.
Be specific about what you delivered. Did you only work on pitches and comps, or were you responsible for building the entire financial model on a live deal?
If you are an experienced hire, it’s a must to list a selection of the best transactions you’ve worked on. If the deals are public, you can write the names of your clients. Otherwise, keep it anonymized.
You can include the size of the deals, and what you did on each one. Again, make sure to be specific. General info about the project isn’t important.
Remember to be able to back up anything you write though. Don’t include projects or jobs you cannot talk about. And don’t exaggerate.
In an interview, you will be asked about everything you put on your resume. If something sounds unclear or “too good to be true”, you can be pretty sure the person interviewing you will drill down into that topic.
Include details from school if they are relevant or impressive
Below work experience, build a section for education. Or, as I wrote above, at the top if you’re a Graduate.
Include which schools you went to, with the same format as for the job positions. Write down the year you graduated and the title you got (MSc, BSc, Phd, etc).
There’s no need to get into project-level details here though.
You can include subjects if you think they’re very important for the job. If you studied finance and you had corporate finance classes, that is expected, so you don’t need to show it. If you studied arts, on the other hand, you should include all that shows an interest in the subject.
If you’re a Graduate, you need to include your GPA. If you’re an Associate, you don’t necessarily have to.
You can also include other standardized test scores like GMAT etc. But only do that if your scores are really good. No one will ask if they’re not there, but they will be impressed if they’re great.
Show them what you did; don’t say it
Don’t write that you’re hard-working, detail-oriented, and smart on a CV. Write down something you did that shows you are all of those things.
Also, take out any outdated jobs or information that doesn’t add any value for the job you’re applying for now.
If you volunteered to lead a project of 20 people in Africa, that shows management skills. But if you worked at McDonald’s for three months in high school, that mostly shows that you needed money. You should include the first example, and avoid the second.
I’ve seen some weird cases where people mention that they raised 200 dollars for a volunteer project in high school. That’s nice, but what does it tell the interviewer? Only write it down if you raised a lot more by arranging an event and managing other volunteers.
Use the right formatting
The key is to make your CV easy to read. If you have a lot of experience, you can adjust text sizes and spacing down to fit more into the page. But don’t overdo it. Text size 8 is not ok.
If you’re just graduating and don’t have a lot of experience to include, you go the other way and make things look bigger.
For the CV templates in She Moment’s file library, there are two different versions. One for those who want to fit in a lot of information, and another for those who want it to look bigger.
- Lenght: only 1 page if you’re a Graduate or Analyst. You might be able to do 2 if you have several years of experience, but that better be good.
- Font size: 10 is a good standard, but adjust slightly up or down if you need space.
- Line spacing: Either 1.0 or 1.15.
- Font color: Stay with black. To make text stand out, use bold or italic.
- Font type: Normal and easy to read like Arial. You can use one for the header and one for normal text, or the same all the way.
- File format: Always send in a PDF. You will look like an amateur if you send someone your CV in word format.
- Filename: YourNameResume.pdf.
Other items to include or exclude
Add all languages where you can hold an actual conversation if it turns out the person interviewing you speaks it fluently.
In some countries, also include your visa status.
You can include technical computer skills. Java and Pyton programming is impressive. But Microsoft office is not.
Include something personal in one sentence at the bottom. It’s a nice way to finish off the for the interviewer, and she can and see if you have something in common.
This is also where you can show off any impressive sports achievements. Were you a national champion in tennis? Write it down!
You don’t need to include contacts at former jobs. If they need references, they will ask for them at a later stage.
Your CV needs to be completely without mistakes
Don’t ever send a resume without printing it, sending it to a friend, and reading it out loud several times.
You need to make sure that there isn’t a single spelling mistake on that piece of paper.
This also means you need to have a consistent formatting through the entire page. Don’t write the year you quit on the left for one job and on the right for the next.
Investment bankers, accountants, and consultants value one thing more than almost anything. And that is attention to detail. If you can’t show you have that for your resume, you won’t get an interview.
Final words before interviews
This guide is suitable for both Graduates, Analysts, Associate and VP positions. The rule of thumb is to keep it clean and simple. The quality of your experience should speak for itself.
Don’t worry if it looks boring. Boring is better than fluffy or crazy. You will outperform most other job seekers just by following the tips in this article.
Good luck with applications! Remember that most interviewing rounds for Graduates begin straight after the summer holiday ends.
Stay tuned for more interviewing tips on She Moments.