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CV Clinic: Can I get a job in investment banking?

Here’s the latest installment of our semi-regular ‘CV Clinics,’ where we have industry experts and recruiters analyze student or financial-professional resumes and assess their chances of scoring a job in banking.

This week, we’re dissecting a soon-to-be-graduating US masters of science in finance student who hopes to secure a job in investment banking come this summer. Where can she improve her resume? What are her chances of landing the job? We asked a resume expert, a banking recruiter and a Wall Street career coach for their assessments. You can find them after the resume below. Click to enlarge.                                                                                                             

Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide

She needs to have a goal or objective at the top. With a masters in finance, she could be looking for a quant role or something in insurance. There is absolutely no clarity around what she is positioning herself for. She needs the audience to know that she is focused on investment banking.

Under education, recruiters are not going to be impressed with working 12-15 hours a week. Scrap that. Also, way too much capitalization.

She had a scholarship, took part in clubs and won awards at Kenyon, but I don’t see any of those at Tampa University. It’s just not clear to me why she would pick Tampa over a better program, especially with no scholarship, leading to some confusion on my part. I need to see a more compelling reason about what lead her to Tampa.

Also, her experience at American University should be a bullet-point under Kenyon University, as it was just one semester. And again, who cares about working 15 hours a week.

As far as her work experience, all the details are very generic. You’re really not telling me what you are doing at your last internship. It sounds like it came out of a brochure. It’s just not very meaningful. Investment banks are looking for content: what did you do and how well did you do it. She needs results -- she needs achievements. She does that for Kenyon College beautifully, but that is the only part that demonstrates the true nature of her experience.

She needs to demonstrate that she is smart, talented and ambitious – and I have no doubt of any of those things – but she is not telling me as a reader.

Her options are wide open, but it is going to be up to her to reach out. She can’t use traditional resources like recruiting firms – she’ll need to develop relationships with these firms themselves. That means reaching out to Kenyon alums, seeing if anyone at Tampa has gotten into investment banking and making herself available for plenty of information interviews.

Richard Lipstein, managing director at Gilbert Tweed International, and a former M&A analyst


  • Succinct one-page resume
  • Excellent broad experience gained through the four internships
  • Shows that she has been thinking about how to gain appropriate intern experience and stand out from the competition once she enters the full-time job market
  • One of these internships could very well land her a job/offer(s) from one or more of these firms


Neutral to Negatives

  • The fact that she has interned with lesser known firms will definitely impact on the kind of firm that will take her candidacy serious as an potential investment banker
  • While Kenyon College is well-known and respected, her MS (not an MBA – why?) at the lesser known University of Tampa will also impact on just what firm will want to recruit her.


While her resume should definitely get her noticed at the right kind of investment bank, the key to his getting hired will of course come down to how well she performs during the interview process. This can never be determined by the resume alone.

Lisa Rangel, managing director of Chameleon Resumes, and a former search firm recruiter

Above education, I would have a short summary section that has the target title of the position she is going for and a 2-3 line paragraph outlining the value she brings for that position. Without a summary section citing this information, she is leaving it up to the reader to decide what job she wants – and most recruiters do not take the time to do that. Hiring managers what to know definitely what she is interested in for her next position. This summary section will also help with keyword optimization.

On latest internship: What specifically did she contribute? What activities did she do? How does she know she did a good job and what did that good job look like? This question could be applied to all bullets to create achievements from the job duties.

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor
  • BD
    15 January 2015

    Isnt the paragraph you suggest to write at the top of the resume about what job your looking for and what value you bring to the job redundant with what you need to put into a cover letter?

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