Investment Banking & Investment Management

Improving Your Investment Resume to Beat Out the Competition

The resumes that applicants send to employers in the investment banking and investment management sector can be categorised into three different types. Find out which one your resume is, and how you can improve it!
The gradsingapore Team
The gradsingapore Team
Improving Your Investment Resume to Beat Out the Competition

It doesn’t matter which industry or company you’re applying to – you’ll still need to hand in a resume. And the investment banking and investment management sector isn’t any different on that front, typically asking candidates to submit a resume alongside either an application form (Barclays, Nomura), or a cover letter (Credit Suisse).

But because competition for spots in graduate recruitment schemes is so fierce, it’s vital that your resume makes the right impression.

Resumes tend fall into one of three “typical” types – the straight-and-narrow, everyman and wild card – and they all have an equal chance to make it through the application tracking system (ATS) and to the interview portion of the recruitment process, so long as skills and experiences detailed are relevant to the role applied to.

So, take the chance to compare your resume to the examples shown here, see which category it falls under, and how you can improve it!

#1: The straight-and-narrow

What: This type of resume ticks all the boxes. First, you have related work experience gained in the investment banking and investment management industry, either from an internship or early career work experience, and you’ve put it down in your resume.

Moreover, your listed academic track record also boasts an honours degree in a finance-related major, such as a Bachelor in Business Administration and Bachelor in Finance. You also detailed your co-curricular activities (CCAs) in such a way that it shows your leadership potential and ability to motivate others around you.

The good news: You’ve most likely met 80 per cent of your prospective employer’s requirements mentioned in the job description, down to relevant internship and/or work experience. That being said, that doesn’t mean that you should get complacent about your chances!

The bad news: The straight-and-narrow resume is the most common one found among graduates jockeying for space in the investment banking and investment management sector, so while you’ve managed to tick off the boxes here, so have plenty of other candidates!

How you can improve: Inject some of your personality into your resume so that it doesn’t come across as too bland or rigid. To do this, incorporate more relevant, yet original, examples from your CCAs and work experiences, and emphasise the times when you took risks and produced exceptional results to best demonstrate your skills and experience.

This can be added to the work experience part of your resume. List it under the appropriate title, on top of your duties.

Tip: You don’t need to come up with a new radical style and format – your resume should just look both legible and smart!

#2: The everyman

What: After having explored a few different avenues, including internships and work placements in the investment banking and investment management industry, you’ve put it all together to get an everyman resume.

Other characteristics of this resume include no gaps in work experiences – you worked throughout all university holidays – and holding a strong honours degree in a finance-related field of study, like a Bachelor of Accountancy and Bachelor of Economics.

The good news: If you’re an everyman, you’re most likely flexible and adaptable, and have some relevant internship and/or work experiences. These are the factors most employers look for when screening candidates.

The bad news: It might be a challenge to ensure the details in your resume are kept relevant and organised. So, if you’re the type to flood your resume with everything you’ve done that seems even remotely relevant (in the hopes that it’ll look impressive), that’s not going to work!

How you can improve: First, divide the work experience portion of your resume into “finance” and “additional” sectors, and place all of your finance-related experiences (including relevant achievements and projects) under the “finance” heading. Create smaller categories under the “additional” header and put all other pursuits there. This will keep your resume organised.

Secondly, highlight the transferable skills you gained across all your experiences, and explain how they’re related to a career in investment banking and investment management.

Tip: Because you have such a wide range of experiences, make the effort to link relevant ones – no matter the sector – to the role you’re applying for!

#3: The wild card

What: The least common resume of all. If you’re a wild card, you might have an excellent honours degree in an unrelated field (Bachelor of Psychology, Bachelor of English Literature), but also demonstrate a strong aptitude for finance and clear interest in a career in investment banking and investment management.

If your resume is considered a wild card, you’re probably aware that most employers, like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and even smaller ones like JCO Investments Management Singapore, accept all recognised degree disciplines.

The good news: Because you likely built your knowledge base hands-on through extracurricular trading courses on top of your university commitments, financial student societies, internships and work placements, your experience and skills are considered practical and valuable.

The bad news: Having a large bank of experiences you can call on is a good thing, but it won’t get you anywhere if you don’t link your skills and experiences to the role you’re applying for, and explain how it can benefit your prospective employer!

How you can improve: Ensure you convey a genuine interest in the investment banking and investment management sector through your resume, and showcase your initiative through your drive to build relevant knowledge and experience.

To do this, do some extensive research into the employer and role you’re looking at. Use it to accurately articulate how your skills and experience – whether finance-related or not – can translate into assets for the firm.

Tip: Compartmentalise your resume, and place related experiences and achievements at the top, with unrelated ones at the bottom.

No matter which type your resume is, you definitely have the skills and experiences relevant to a graduate role in the investment banking and investment management industry. All you need to do is to make sure that they take centre-stage!