Today you’re going to learn precisely how to hack your resume when you’re trying to convert it into an investment banking resume with no experience under your belt.
That way you can start getting some real results.
Even when you have no investment banking experience.
These tricks are exactly what we have our students us when they think they lack the relevant experience needed to land more investment banking or tier 1 job interviews.
The first step is to identify your weaknesses.
Tactic #1 – The ‘Ideal’ Investment Banking Resume Template
Your biggest issue?
Your investment banking resume template sucks.
And while you think it’s because you have an investment banking resume with no experience, it really boils down into these three main reasons:
1 – Your Template is Ugly
Straightforward but surprisingly common. Students don’t always understand what their templates should look like, and who can blame them? Nobody’s teaching this stuff. So they slap together a ugly hodgepodge of work experience and think it’s good enough to land an investment banking interview. Yikes.
Here’s an example.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, here’s the gist of it — this is a really, really ugly resume template for investment banking.
Let’s just dive in
#1 – Never ever include an objective. Why?
Because if you’re applying for an entry level financial analyst job, they know your skills. They know your summary. There’s no need to put that on top.
#2 Next up, skills — this should always be at the bottom, never on top.
#3 Education, same thing. That should be up more.
#4 Experience is too small on this resume, hidden.
#5 There’s no bullets. Bullets are a staple for effective resumes.
#6 Related experience is a waste of space.
Okay, we can go on, but let’s give it a break. It’s a mess. Enough said. Again, this is why you really, really, really want to make sure you have the right investment banking resume template when you’re doing this.
Never apply online to a job if you don’t have the right template. Because you’re going for results. And ugly resumes don’t get them. Weakness numero two — superfluousness. That is…
2 – Your Resume Is Over 1 Page
Have you ever been on the short end of the one-sided conversation stick? It gets old quick. Rambling is a cardinal sin because time is money. Now, take that concept and multiply it by a gajillion (give or take).
Your investment banking resume is one out of a thousand. The HR manager has to disqualify as many of those resumes as she can, as fast as she can, so she can get to the top applicants. That is, the candidates who appear to have the strongest background; the most relevant and highest quality work experience.
Long resumes (especially at entry level) get discarded immediately.
Again, when you’re in school or recently out of school your resume should be one page. Here’s a solid example of what NOT to do.
This resume looks a bit more organized, and he has things in the proper order. But sadly, he’ll still get discarded 99% of the time because it’s too long.
Let’s face it. As a student or recent graduate, you have little or no investment banking experience. If your resume is two pages long, you’re doing something wrong. It doesn’t look formatted right and it looks like it was rushed. So again, your resume should always be a single page, clean, and well organized.
Pro-tip: Later down the line, you’ll become an experienced veteran of your craft. Then, two pages makes more sense. Less than 3 years? One page. Over 3 years of experience? Two pages may be necessary.
3 – Your Organization Is A Mess
This is a big one. So many students mess this up. Let’s take a look at this example.
Firstly, the structure of this resume looks a lot better.
They got the school up top. GPA looks great. ACT score, SAT math too, looks good. It has a pretty good structure too, of having work experience, listing out a bunch of stuff, and then extracurriculars, and then some additional information on the top.
This structure is better, but there’s a big problem. The resume is not organized correctly.
For example, the first thing on the resume under work experience is something called The Water Coolest. Not sure what that is, but apparently has to do with social media. How is that relevant to the jobs you’re applying for?
Below that I see some internships that are a little more relevant, but this person hid some of the best credentials way too far down the resume. Put your best foot forward. That is, list your best credentials as high up as you can while maintaining the proper structure.
Tactic #2 – The Spin & Shine Technique
Now that we’ve covered the weaknesses you need to avoid, let’s dive into the specifics of creating your highly effective investment banking resume — despite little or no experience. I call it the “Spin & Shine Technique”.
This is a really, really great way to take experience or internships or activities that you may have done, spin them, shine them, and make them seem a lot more relevant and a lot more analytical.
That way, when you’re applying for these different types of jobs (whether it’s investment banking, or asset management, or private equity, or any tier 1 types of jobs for that matter) it’s going to make the experience and the stuff you’ve done look a lot more relevant and a lot better on your resume.
1- Identify Activities / Internship That Can Be Improved On
First, identify the activities and internships you’ve participated in, that you can spin and shine to look a lot more relevant and a lot more analytical.
2 – Ignore The Administrative / Boring Stuff, Highlight The Analytical
Next, you want to ignore all the administrative boring stuff that you may have done on the job. Instead, focus on and highlight the analytical and somewhat relevant things that you may have done on your internship or within the activities at school.
This is a pretty common problem I see a lot of students have, where they’ve done internships or they’ve done activities in school, especially when they’re younger — maybe 90% of the time the stuff they did was administrative, boring, and wasn’t relevant to anything at all.
But maybe 10% of the time they actually did some cool things that may have been analytical or a lot more relevant to the types of jobs they really want. You want to ignore 90% of the crap you had to do in the internship and only focus on that 10% as you write your resume
3 – Be Specific, Include Examples
Last but far from least — be specific. When you’re spinning and shining your internships and the activities you participated in, be really specific about the things you did.
- You want to highlight results that were achieved.
- You want to highlight whatever outcome that ended up happening.
- You want to highlight whatever your thesis might have been.
Because the more specific you are, the better it’s going to look on your resume.
I’m going to show you how we can do that using certain sub bullets.
Which leads me to my next tactic…
Tactic #3 – The Experience Amplifier Hack
1 – Find Experience You Want To Hide And Ones You Want To Highlight
So, let’s take a look at this example resume.
Let’s say you’re a sophomore or a junior, and you ended up working for this real estate investment company or something like that. Maybe a family friend got you in, and honestly the majority of the summer you were just doing a bunch of administrative boring work for a portfolio manager or something.
You really didn’t do much. In other words — no relevant experience.
Or just a little. BUT, maybe 10% of the time you were actually doing some cool work. Let’s look at the bullets we have here.
- Bullet One — We assisted the portfolio manager with file organization and note taking. You probably had to do boring stuff like that. Obviously this doesn’t look good on your resume, so you want to think about that when we’re trying to work on spinning and shining it.
- Bullet Two — We helped analyze the ROI of potential commercial real estate investments. That sounds a little better. But we need to make this seem a lot more analytical, a lot more relevant, plus we want to hone their focus in on this more. Because if we can expand on that it’ll look really, really good.
Let’s look at what the resume could be when we “spun” it.
All right, couple things here. One, we changed the title. This is another thing I see students do a lot. They put a title for their internship that looks… well… awful. Before this we had administrative intern, right? That doesn’t sound good. You need to exaggerate — just a little — to say what you did.
We went from administrative intern to real estate investment intern. It just sounds so much better. Take a look at these three sub bullets I added in here.
- Bullet One — Researched over 20 potential investment opportunities alongside the firm’s portfolio manager. That sounds a lot better than saying you helped them take notes and organize files, right. Maybe you didn’t do that, maybe you did half of that amount. Maybe you did a quarter of that amount, but just by highlighting that and making it seem like that was the main thing you did during the internship makes it sound so much better.
Now let’s take a look at the next two bullets. Remember, the whole idea here is we want to focus on the top 10% of the analytical, cool stuff that we did. We want to exaggerate a little. Make it seem like the internship you had gave you valuable work experience.
No experience to valuable experience. That’s what we’re going for.
- Bullet Two — Built out various Excel models to project out each building’s cash flows over time. Maybe you did a little bit of modeling on the internship. I’m going to guess you probably didn’t much, but we’re going to pretend like you did. Because the more you can emphasize your modeling skills, the better this is going to look on your resume. Especially when you’re applying to a lot of these tier 1 jobs like investment banking.
- Bullet Three — This is an important one. Because this is going to be a specific example. So. Analyzed the ROI of potential commercial real estate investments to assist in the decision process. Maybe you didn’t do this during your internship, maybe you did. Maybe you had a chance to input what you thought the company should do with this investment decision.
You might have to exaggerate a little here. But you need to come up with at least one deal or one investment or something that you contributed to during the internship that we can highlight in your banking resume, using a sub bullet like this.
For example, let’s say you were able to provide some input on a 10 million dollar commercial real estate building deal that the company was looking into. That looks a little bit better, right.
Now when someone’s looking at your investment banking resume this is going to jump out, this whole section here because it’s a sub bullet, it’s specific. And specifically relevant — it’s the type of work experience they’re looking for.
I see real estate investment intern up here, all of a sudden this is going to be right in the middle. I’m going to think, “Wow, they actually worked on a deal. They worked on an investment. That’s pretty cool.”
- Sub Bullet — Once we’ve done this and we’ve highlighted the deal or whatever, and again, if you’re not able to put specifics because of a disclosure or something, you can just be generic and put something like I did here — 10 million dollar commercial real estate building. But now we want to get a little more specific.
If you did something like this you probably contributed somehow, where maybe you built a model to determine whether or not this deal would be worth it. That’s the angle I went with here.
- Sub Sub Bullet — So, determined the firm would achieve a 73% ROI on this potential investment by performing due diligence on surrounding demographics, building occupancy, and the potential building improvements required. Doesn’t that sound a lot better when you’re able to get specific and put a specific number like this? It just looks a lot better.
Again, ignore 90% of the boring, irrelevant crap you did. Focus on that sexy 10% that’ll get their attention. Then expand on it.
Use specifics. Talk about a deal you overheard was happening during summer. Just say you contributed to it. Ideally this is best used when you’re trying to talk about jobs or internships that you may have done.
If you were selling phones at a store you don’t really want to use sub bullets like this exactly unless … You could say, “Hey, I ended up pulling in 100K worth of sales by doing this, this and this.” Then maybe you want to do it, but for internships or jobs you may have done where they’re kind of on the analytical side and you think you can expand using sub bullets like this it’s a really, really great way to have that experience on your investment banking resume pop.
2 – Amplify & Boost To The Top
Okay, what’s the idea here? Let’s say you’re young, or just haven’t had any internship or experience that’s even remotely relevant to the types of jobs you really want — you can’t even use the spin and shine method to make it look better.
For example, I dealt with this in school. I know a lot of my students still deal with Northwestern Mutual and other companies like them, that try to get students to join their “internship program” where basically all they want you to do is sell life insurance.
A lot of students fall for it and think it’s a legit internship when it’s a glorified sales role. Let’s say that’s you. Let’s just say you got in this tough situation where you ended up taking this stupid internship and you can’t even spin and shine it. There’s nothing you could do to make selling life insurance look better. It’s just. Not. Relevant.
This is what I would classify as a tier 3 internship — bottom of the barrel. You’re in a pickle here. What do you do? Let’s say you have it at the top of your resume, sold over X dollars in life insurance policies to family and friends. Called over X people to identify future clients. Not good.
This is where the experience amplifier hack comes in play.
The whole idea is to overshadow the irrelevant or lacking experience you have with things that are a lot more relevant. So, coming back to student investment fund … Let’s say you haven’t really started participating in the student fund at your school yet. You still want to take it and amplify it. How?
By moving it to the top and overshadowing whatever internship or lack of investment banking experience you have. Similar to the spin and shine method, but we want to have one big section on our resume for work and professional experience. That way we can take things like our student investment fund or something similar, and move it up to the top — beef it up and overshadow whatever lack of experience or bad internship you might have had.
3 – Expand On It, And Spin And Shine
Let’s say a student analyzed mining and natural resource stocks and made investment recommendations, as shown in the resume above.
The committee later selected two recommendations to invest in using $50,000 portfolio money available to the club. Again, we need to take this, and amplify it by moving it to the top — let it overshadow everything else we have.
Here’s another quick example.
So, same thing, we have one big section for work and leadership qualifications. Or professional experience, whatever you want to have. Just one big section for all of it. Then amplify it. Same kind of bullet here, but we added sub bullets to talk about the stocks we pitched.
- Sub-Bullet: Here we listed out the name of the stock that was pitched
- Sub-Sub-Bullet: Here we lay out our thesis and why we pitched the stocks. So, “Valued a company using DCF analysis. Found that the stock was undervalued by approximately 35% due to recent earnings miss. Recommended investment based on long term market fundamentals.”
Same idea as the spin and shine method. Made it seem a lot better. We used sub bullets to highlight the things we pitched on, the deals we worked on, whatever it is, and made it look better. Now it pops out and overshadows any other irrelevant experience we may have had like the Northwestern Mutual thing for example.
How To Get Relevant Experience For Investment Banking Interviews
Our ILTS Analyst Program is another way to overshadow lesser experience, which I’ll show you in a second. But first, let’s talk about stock pitches.
1 – Stock Pitches
Things like stock pitch competitions and case competitions are also great ways to do it, because again, when you’re in a stock pitch competition you have to do a lot of research on the company you want to pitch.
You have to present it in front of a panel of judges, which again, is a lot of work and it might not be that perfect internship type experience you’re looking for, but it’s definitely the closest thing you’re going to get to having relevant experience towards these type of tier 1 jobs you’re looking for. Same thing with case competitions.
2 – Case Competitions
Case competitions are just as good, especially if you’re participating in some of the big ones that banks have or maybe some of the accounting firms do. Some of the big ones are more consulting based, but still really, really nice investment banking experience. This is an example how we would use the experience amplifier method here to kind of overshadow the irrelevant or lack of experience you might have.
3 – ILTS Analyst Program
The same goes for the ILTS Analyst Program, which we have some of our students participate in:
Move it up to the top. We give students this nice chunk of text they can add to their resume that shows they learned how to do a lot of the technical things they need to know for jobs like investment banking.
So, everything from the financial analysis to the accounting to the business analysis to the advanced modeling, and at the same time since it’s a hybrid of a course and an internship because they’re paired up with a mentor and they’re given actual work, we can use sub bullets to highlight the companies they have worked on or maybe some of the models they built for some of the potential deals they took a look at just like we would with student investment funds.
Again, even if you don’t have relevant investment banking experience, you can always use methods like the experience amplifier hack to move better qualifications to the top, to overshadow the crappy experience or lack of experience you may have had.