If you're an experienced banker looking to make a lateral move or take on more responsibility at a new firm, you may have so much experience on your resume that you don’t know where to start cutting to get your resume down to the recommended two pages.
“Your resume ideally should be two, possibly three, pages, but never more than that,” says Amy Adler, executive resume writer, career coach and the founder of Five Strengths Career Transition Experts.
Here are tips for experienced bankers applying for a new job to follow the less-is-more mantra and make your resume more concise and persuasive.
Use a summary bullet-point and prepare a separate deal sheet
Typically an experienced banker has many deals where they served as lead as well as being an active participant. To prevent the resume from becoming too long, overly verbose or inundated with too much information, compose a bullet-point stating the number of total deals you have completed, including those on which you served as the lead, and total combined value, listing some of the diverse industries, says Mary DeLuca, an executive resume writer at Preferred Resume Group and a former adviser at Merrill Lynch.
“The deal sheet should list the deal size, industry, name of the company, type of transaction and role played – again only for those transactions not considered to be confidential or proprietary information,” she says.
- 32 transactions valued at $4.7bn, spanning oil and gas/biotech and technology; X have been completed; I served on X as lead or participant, including $450m Systematic Oil Refineries, $375m Genetic Grafting and $1.1bn Dynamic Technology. Detailed deal sheet available.
“If necessary, incorporate an overview of functions you’ve served in at various companies if your roles and functions were the same, which eliminates repetition that takes up a lot of valuable space,” she adds.
Cut irrelevant (or less relevant) deals
Bullet points should reflect a candidate's ability to identify client relationships to nurture, to spot trends to pursue for successful deals and to persuade decision-makers successfully, according to Lisa Rangel, an executive resume writer at Chameleon Resumes.
“If you are clamoring for space, details to consider omitting would be unrelated to the desired industry or banking function,” she says.
Avoid distractions and stay on message
Avoid long narratives, excessive graphical elements and any potential distractions from your core message.
“Convert your resume into hard-hitting challenge-action-result bulleted statements that explain the outcomes you delivered,” Adler says. “Keep your resume clean visually and use color and visual elements to amplify, not distract from, your core message.
“For the particular opportunity, or set of opportunities all roughly similar, eliminate anything in your resume that doesn’t directly speak to the requirements of the role you’re targeting,” she says. “Your resume doesn’t have to be a laundry list of everything you have ever done.”
Highlight experience over the past decade, trim anything older than 12 years
Also, to maintain a concisely informative two-page resume, be strategic about listing your accomplishments in detail. In most cases, don’t go further back in experience than 12 years – it could be as few as 10, but no more than 15, depending on the seniority of the role you’re applying for, DeLuca says.
“[Instead,] list other places of employment under ‘Additional Experience,’ with only company name, titles and major contributions,” she says.
Adler agrees, saying you should cut details on jobs you held more than 10 years ago.
As another way to create resume space, consider removing college activities entirely or, at the minimum, those not related to banking.
“This will either shorten the resume or create more space to focus on relevant work achievements, which is what most of the experienced banker resume should be highlighting,” Rangel says.
Prioritize either depth or breadth, but don’t try for both
Bankers often wonder, “Is it better to list fewer deals that I’ve worked on, limiting the list to the ones where I played a bigger role and going more in-depth into those, or should I list more deals to show breadth and variety of my experience, but necessarily including fewer details?”
The answer? It depends.
“If the goal of the resume is to show breadth of experience, list more deals than less with truncated results to save space,” Rangel says.
“If the goal of the resume is to highlight an area of specific expertise, list fewer deals with longer specific details, however, still saving space by only focusing on relevant deals,” she says.
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