Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

Keywords to include in your banking resume and cover letter

If you're going to get a job in banking, then you're going to need excellent qualifications. But you’ll also need a CV that can make it past banks' applicant tracking systems (ATS), which are used to help manage and automate their hiring and recruitment practices.  ATS software often uses artificial intelligence to score and sort resumes based on how well they fit job requirements, scanning for keywords to perform an initial sift.  A successful ATS scan won't guarantee you a job, but if you don’t pass muster with the bots you’ll have fallen at the first hurdle.

To pass the ATS scan you’ll need to include the following words and tips .

Include terminology from the job posting you're applying to

Make sure to include words that match a specific job posting, but at the same time don’t deploy keywords that make your CV sound clunky. Francis de la Cruz, the founder of The Write Resume and The Private Placement Group who has worked at UBS, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and BlackRock, advises candidates to write a job description of their ideal role, so she can capture the skills and background on their CV.

Positioning is important 

“Talk to a recruiter and write down the language that they’re using…and make sure that when you’re creating your resume, you’re putting your strengths and experience at the top where it aligns with their criteria,” advised one J.P. Morgan recruiter in a recent video post. You also want to keep your formatting simple so that ATS software can effectively scrape your CV. Some recruiters suggest removing any “objectives” section from the top of your resume as that should be communicated through your cover letter anyway.

Include lingo that shows you know the industry

Candidates should search for job postings of similar roles across the industry and make notes of what keywords other similar roles are using.

"If everyone says 'analytics,' then don’t say 'analysis,'" says Jane Cranston, the president of "Every sector of every industry has its own lingo, and you have to sound fluent by using it in the right way so that the hiring manager says: 'This person gets it.'"

Include positive performance evaluators

If you've worked for a large bank, then the hiring manager or recruiter knows that you’ve been through a number of performance reviews. You can thus differentiate yourself positively by showing top-quartile rankings or inclusion in programs for high-performers.

Keywords included mentions of rankings, ratings or terms like ‘selected for’ or ‘tapped for’ when mentioning performance-based programs.

Most ATS software scores or weights items such as qualifications, education, job titles and compare your resume to the job description.  “Results on a resume are essential, the more numbers or proven results the better,” says Cranston.

Keep it simple

Fancy headers and over-elaborate lay-outs wont matter to an ATS scan. Avoid using headers, footers and graphics. 

But remember: it’s not just about the resume

It’s important to meet all these criteria but there’s a crucial stage before that. Ensure you apply these rules to your online profile too.  "The profile is almost as important (at times more important) than a resume.  It is where headhunters and HR pros go first and hiring managers go before they meet you.  Many people have beautiful resume and terrible profiles,” says Cranston. Cranston offers some good tips here on how to make your profile ideal for human as well as AI searches.  

When in doubt…

One thing you want to avoid is repeatedly using the same words. It suggests a lack of attention to detail. Rather than right-click and pick a synonym that doesn’t quite fit, check out our complete list of over 200 banking resume action words, separated by role and meaning.

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

Download our full salary and bonus survey here. 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available (Telegram: @SarahButcher)

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

AUTHORDavid Rothnie Insider Comment

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Recommended Articles
Recommended Jobs
Global Markets Investment Head
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Edgworth Partners
Hedge Fund Research Analyst - Asset Management
Edgworth Partners
London, United Kingdom
Investment Analyst / Manager, Family Office
Dragon Bridge (Holdings) Limited
Hong Kong
Laz Partners
Long/Short Equity Analyst (TMT & Consumer)
Laz Partners
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Principle Partners
Investment Analyst
Principle Partners
Hong Kong

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.