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Banking resume clinic: What are my chances of getting a business analyst job in private equity or hedge funds?

Banking resume advice

This is the first in our series of (soon-to-be) regular resume clinics in which we ask our top resume doctors to give their verdicts on whether your CV will get you the job you want in financial services.

This week, we're looking at a resume from a very experienced U.S.-based fixed income-focused business analyst who wants to apply his skills on the buy-side, preferably in private equity or hedge funds. You can see a copy of his resume if you click the following link: Resume, business analyst with capital markets focus. We've also embedded a copy in the article below.

Will this resume get its owner the kind of job he wants? We asked three resume experts: Peter Harrison at Harrison Careers, Victoria McLean at City CV, and Claire Crichton at RésuméRebrand.

Their opinions and advice are below. Do you agree with them? Leave your comments and advice for the resume's owner at the bottom of this article.


Resume business analyst

Peter Harrison's verdict: 

I'm afraid that you're resume suggests you're an average candidate. The resume's font is too small so I didn't read everything. There's nothing on your high school academics, which makes me think they're not good. Try to cut down on the management-speak - it can make it hard to understand what you did exactly. I love the big U.S. bank on your resume, but you were only there for nine months. How come? Are you a contractor who has a good general knowledge of fixed income systems? Your resume is cosmetically nice but very hard to understand. You need to have 33% less text on in your work experience section and to make it much more understandable. Use a bigger font please. Convince us you are smart academically - give evidence.

Victoria McLean's verdict:

You have some fantastic experience, with some great organisations. I don’t think this CV does you justice – you are clearly a very hireable individual.

At first glance, it seems quite squashed on to one page, which makes it hard to read. Shorter CVs can be more common in the US, but even in the US for a BA role, it can be longer, and in most other geographies the expectation is for a minimum two page CV (in our experience of the IB sector,  CVs for BAs and Project Managers are often three pages).

A longer CV would give much more scope for detail on each project – what did you actually deliver in terms of results, what time-frames and budgets have you worked to / achieved? What challenges did you face and overcome in each project? Perhaps highlight the title or theme of each project and then provide this additional detail – the scope and scale of what you have done is missing - what size of population did each project impact? And what was the bottom line impact of each?

How did you improve efficiency or business effectiveness through your actions? The other benefit of a longer CV is of course more opportunity to insert key words and therefore be picked up by an ATS (applicant tracking system). The ATS often performs the first screen for a role so if you don’t have the right words in there you may be rejected immediately.

If you are seeking a BA role then think carefully about the kind of language the recruiter (or ATS) will be searching for and make good use of these key words. If you have been involved in projects then mention which stages of the projects – can you use project management terminology to beef things up and to make yourself a more exact fit for the role / job spec?

You need to pique the readers’ interest with more mention of the commercials and actual results that YOU delivered.

Be more specific in terms of business areas, products etc worked with – use banking terminology where possible.

I would recommend that you review the whole document and for most of the bullet points listed in professional experience, ask yourself:  ‘How did I do that?’, ‘Who did this impact and what size of population’ and ‘What impact did this have on the business?’ These extras would give the whole section much more oomph.

What technologies have you used ? The CV would benefit from a ‘Technologies’ section at the end.

In your first role, were you involved in any projects / BA type activities? Did you improve efficiencies, save costs etc? If so it would make sense to mention them here to tie this section in to the rest of the CV and your target role. Could you expand on any other results over this seven-year period as you have only mentioned specific results for 2006 – now that you have more space you could expand on these.

Claire Crichton's verdict:

Here is the feedback you requested from Résumé Grader.

Within the context of applying for a job with a top-tier employer, for example a leading investment bank, a score of 50 or less is weak, 60 is almost-but-not-quite good enough, a score of 70 would be reasonably likely to get you interviewed, and 85 would almost certainly get you interviewed. Note that it is highly unlikely that anyone could score maximum points.

Your overall score was 44.

Remember: you are not independent! Most participants inflate their own grades. In a recent trial with 32 candidates, we found that in 29 cases, the grade they gave themselves was higher than the grade we gave them. We also tested their cover letters, and found similar results.

Click here to get an independent grading by experts that will help you understand how your resume can be improved. Our independent experts are a panel of 3 professionals who have selected and interviewed hundreds of candidates for investment banks. We strongly believe the grade you get from us will accurately represent how you will be perceived by leading employers.

You cannot improve some things, including the perceived quality of your university or college, your high school (A-levels, SAT or equivalent scores), your undergraduate degree result, your postgraduate degree, and the relevance of your degree subject. You also cannot improve your grades for work authorization, foreign travel or languages. Everything else can be improved!


You scored 1. Given a potential score of 25, there is scope for significant improvement by making what you have done sound much more impressive.

Work Experience

You scored 11. Given a potential score of 20, this is something you can improve (a) by getting more and better experience and (b) by describing the work experience you have had in a more impressive way, so that it sells your skills more effectively.


You gave yourself a grade of 4 out of 6. There is no excuse for not scoring maximum marks here. Cosmetics are easy to fix.

Other Data

You gave yourself a grade of 1 out of 5. The purpose of this section is to make a recruiter pick up your résumé, read the Other Data section and say to himself 'Cool - I'd like to meet this person!' Anything less than a 5 just isn't good enough.

Related articles:

Twenty skills to list on your banking CV if you want a job now

Recruiters confess the real reasons they ignore your resume

A good, simple trick for making yourself far more interesting to finance recruiters




AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • wa
    13 September 2014

    Got an advice from a retired recruitment specialist. Don't get scammed.
    Every organisation has their own system, else they'd all be the same - average.
    Why get rejected by people who are not involved, and just trying to learn?

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