CV Clinic: Is this the perfect graduate CV for an investment bank?
As part of our regular series reviewing the real CVs of real students looking for (real) jobs in investment banks, we'd like to present a CV which is widely deemed to be very good indeed. It belongs to a London-based student with near-impeccable academics, plenty of internship experience and a history of volunteer work.
As usual, our reviewers are Victoria McLean at City CV, Peter Harrison at Harrison Careers, and Iain Beaumont of Interview My CV. We've embedded a copy of the CV below (it's in two parts, click to enlarge) and the comments of our reviewers are below that. Good luck!
Victoria McLean's verdict:
What a refreshing change to see a CV like this! There are small tweaks here and there that can be made but overall (depending, of course, on the quality of the competition), as a grad banking recruiter, I would definitely shortlist you on the basis of this.
So what have you done right?
You lead with good academics – yours is a great school and this section is nice and lean, with no fluff. It highlights your RELEVANT courses and prizes. If you can push yourself to achieve a first then that would make a huge difference when you apply for grad jobs next year. You may consider bolding or using italics to make your prize standout. Your ‘A’ levels are almost impeccable and well-presented too.
Firstly, I like this layout – it is identical to one I have used in the past for graduate clients. It’s simple and displays the information clearly. You haven’t gone crazy with the bullet points either. You have selected an easy-to-read font in a good size and your titles are clear. Everything appears to be consistent in terms of bolding and italics, which is great to see (and rare!).
There are a handful of tiny (almost imperceptible) grammatical errors (missing commas etc). Use of key words seems to be excellent too – although there is always scope for more.
What I really like about your bullet points is the fact that they are succinct and specific. You mention products, regions, departments and provide context. There is a little word repetition that you may want to revisit, although that isn’t a major issue. You could potentially push your bullets even further by also thinking about your value-add and/or challenges faced. However, you only have one page to do all this – you have squeezed a lot of information on the page and I don’t think it looks cramped. Well done. You clearly have a combination of strong client / interpersonal skills AND a consistent commitment to a career in this area. I like the fact you have the PR experience along with some good relevant finance experience – this tells me quite a lot about you. This combination is absolutely something that recruiters want to see.
You have a healthy ‘Skills, Activities & Interests’ section. Again, this is well laid out – if you had more space you could consider providing more detail around successes/achievements within some of these – a clearer idea of the scope and scale of your positions of responsibility would be useful to see. Either way, these will be good prompts for the interviewer and demonstrate to me (the reader) that you are a well-rounded individual.
Your awards are brilliant – I would consider using bold or italics to make them really stand out. Or even putting them at the top of the CV – especially the first two – so they are the first thing the reader sees - perhaps in a two or three line intro profile.
You have managed to demonstrate a number of required competencies in your ‘Awards’ and ‘Activities’ sections by highlighting your commitment to succeed and to the community (several awards): stamina and energy (65-mile run – wow!), social responsibility / ethics (charity), creativity (film writing/producing), teamwork and leadership (football) and more.
Investment banking recruiters are seeking well-rounded individuals with a long term commitment to a career in banking. I think you tick all the boxes. Well done!
Peter Harrison's verdict:
This is a nice-looking resume that makes immediate impact. AAAA at A level and 2.1 from a top London university in Economics more than satisfy us on academics. Excellent work experience. Banks will like that candidate understands sales and research from his time at the European investment bank. Even better, that he has exposure to asset management too. I really like his 'Skills, Activities and Interests'. If he runs ultramarathons, he is clearly highly-motivated. Also a team player. In my opinion, banks will definitely bring this candidate in for interview and see if he has the sales skills to justify an internship.
Iain Beaumont's verdict:
Personal statement: Not included. It is very important to include a sufficiently detailed and very carefully phrased personal statement at the beginning of the CV. Be explicit as to who you are so that the employer is left with no doubt as to what you can offer as part of an internship.
Key skills: Good, but I would recommend you highlight your key competencies more explicitly (this way the reader does not have to search).
Education: Strong academic background and well articulated.
Work experience: A broad spectrum for a university student but you need to give more detail regarding the companies you worked for. Include achievements where possible as they quantify what you accomplished with each organisation or project.
Hobbies and interests: Good, well rounded and relevant.
Layout and aesthetics: Decent layout but text is too tightly packed together and makes it difficult to read. When printed the right-hand margin was clipped so this needs to be fixed.
A decent 1-page CV that has potential. There is certainly merit in keeping it concise and I would recommend that you get someone to look at how you can condense some of your wording and bring out some further white space. As with all IBD internships you will be competing against the very best candidates, therefore it is vital that your CV reads clearly, emphasises your key skills and sells you as someone to bring forward to interview.
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