If you want any chance at moving to the next round on your search for an investment banking job, your resume must be impeccable. Presentation is critical. A huge part of an investment banking analyst’s job is to catch formatting, math and spelling mistakes in pitch documents and presentations, and fix them. So if your text is not aligned properly or there are too many different fonts or if there’s a grammatical or spelling mistake on your one-page document, you’ve already shown a glaring lack of attention to detail. It should look aesthetically pleasing, even before someone starts reading it. So spend the time to make it perfect.
Your key statements about job experience, education and accomplishes should all be phrased as bullets, to be as concise as possible. Your resume should fit on one page. If top executives running major investment banks can keep their resumes to one page, so can you. If it runs more than one page, you need to pare down the less impressive information.
Most experts recommend using just two conservative fonts such as Times Roman and Ariel, and limiting the variations in size of fonts, bolding, italics. An investment banking resume is one time when small size type (12 pt or less) and a dense appearance on the page can be a positive. In fact, it indicates that you’ve spent a fair amount of time to condense your experience into one, densely-packed document.
By all means, include an “Other Interests” section. This is another important way to distinguish yourself from other candidates, and add some personality to your resume. If you are a black belt in karate or speak fluent Mandarin or have other unique skills or talents, use them to catch someone’s attention. Involvement in organized sports shows that you are a team player. Community and volunteer activities add a personal touch to your background, too. They demonstrate that you are a well-rounded person and able to work well in groups.
You can see a gallery of excellent investment banking resumes at Banker’s Ball.
Above all, remember that you need to grab someone’s attention in just 20 seconds. You must make a few specific items from your resume jump off the page as unique and relevant to the job you are applying to. Keep that in mind as you’re revising your resume for the 10th time and you’ll have a leg up on the competition.