Copy This Investment Banker Resume Template to Get Into KKR (Or At Least, Something Almost as Good)

150 Comments | Private Equity & The Buy-Side - Resumes

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private_equity_piggy_bankWe’re going to continue our series on investment banking resume templates and go through how you should write about investment banking experience in this article.

You can actually use a similar template for anything in finance, whether you worked on the sell-side or buy-side.

But you can’t use it for everything.

Who Should Use This (or a Similar) Template:

  • Students who have had banking / finance internships (you will need to make some modifications, e.g. put Education at the top instead).
  • Current Analysts and Associates.
  • Anyone in other front-office finance roles who is now looking for something else within finance.

Who Should Not Use This Template:

  • Anyone applying to business school – for that you want to present a more “balanced” picture of what you’ve done.
  • Older, more experienced people – if you have worked on 20+ deals you will need a separate page for listing everything. This usually only happens at the VP-level and above.
  • Anyone working outside finance or anyone interested in moving to something outside finance – the Peace Corps doesn’t care if you know what EBITDA means.

The Template, The Video, and the Tutorial

As before, here’s the template in Word and PDF format:

Investment Banker Resume Template [Download]

And here’s the overview video:

(For more free training and financial modeling videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.)

And here’s the same tutorial in text format:

What’s Different In This Version

Actually, a lot of this is the same as in our university student template: the area at the top with your name and contact information, the overall format of the resume, and format of each work experience entry (name and position left-aligned, location and dates right-aligned, summary sentence, etc.).

What’s Different:

  • The Order – Work Experience on top, Education below that and Skills/Activities/Interests below that. Note: If you were an intern and are still in school you should keep Education on top.
  • The Focus – We are focusing much more heavily on your investment banking experience and have cut back on the rest.

Why?

Yes, you can include previous internships and jobs as well but you should make your banking experience take up most of your resume.

If you’re an intern returning to school, it’s fine to leave in previous internships but I would not devote as much space to them.

About the Banking Experience

You should give 1 or 2 summary sentences, and then go straight into your deal experience (or if you worked on the buy-side, “Investment Experience”).

The summary sentence should:

  • Give the number and types of deals you’ve worked on.
  • Say that you completed valuations, models, due diligence, research, and client presentations (or anything else – add and subtract from here as needed)

Research and qualitative items are OK to include but try to focus on clients / deals / technical work because those are what interviewers care about.

If you didn’t work on deals (if you were an intern) or didn’t do much substantial work, there are ways around it – which we’ll get into below.

Picking Deals / Clients to Write A <pbout

Once you have your summary sentence, you need to decide WHICH deals / clients / investments to write about.

If you were an intern, this is easy: take what you can get. Unless you were a miracle summer analyst and somehow worked on 10 transactions, you can usually point to a few major projects.

For those working in banking full-time, it’s more difficult to decide what to write about.

Some guidelines:

  • Aim for between 2 and 4 deals total – just 1 looks strange, and more than 4 is excessive to get your points across. In THIS template there are more than 4 deals, but that’s because I wanted to give you examples of how to write about different deal types.
  • Try to have a mix of “high-profile” or larger deals that catch recruiters’ attention (e.g. Microsoft / Yahoo) and deals where you contributed something more substantial (this one is more relevant for full-time bankers).
  • M&A / Restructuring deals are better to write about than IPOs or other Equity-related deals. Debt Financings can be ok depending on what you did. Anything “unusual” like divestitures, distressed sales, etc. is also good to write about and talk about in interviews.

See Also: Private Equity Resumes for more on this topic.

It’s not the end of the world if you’ve mostly worked on IPOs. Despite rumors to the contrary, you can get into PE without having M&A or Leveraged Finance experience.

Whether or not a deal was officially announced doesn’t matter: just replace company names with industry descriptions (“Biopharmaceutical Company”) for unannounced transactions.

What to Do If You Don’t Have “Real” Deals

If you don’t have many “official” deals, you should turn whatever you did during the summer into “pending” or “potential” deals.

The more that happened, the better, but as long as you did something you can write about it as if it were a potential transaction.

Were you doing research on companies for a client or prospective client? Sounds like a “Potential” Buy-Side M&A deal to me.

Did the CEO approach you and ask your team to pitch for the business? Did you do a valuation and research potential buyers? That’s a “Potential” Sell-Side M&A deal, even if you didn’t do much more than the pitch book (if you’re paranoid, you can label this type of experience a “Pitch” instead).

You don’t need to list “deals” if it’s too much of a stretch – in that case, just go with a summary sentence and a few more descriptive bullets on what you did.

Writing About Deals

Within each entry, list the dollar/Euro/other currency amount – estimating if you don’t know for sure – and list the company that you were representing first.

“Media Company’s Acquisition of Software Company” would imply that you represented the Media Company on the buy-side.

Use “Potential” or “Pending” for deals that haven’t been announced or closed yet, and only give the names if it’s publicly known.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This advice assumes that you actually have some closed deals. If you have worked on several deals but nothing has closed yet, it’s best not to draw attention to that fact – so you should leave out this “Pending” or “Potential” language and act as if everything is “ongoing” (and be ready to outline the next steps in the process).

Aim for 1-2 bullets for each deal – if you can summarize it with 1 bullet, do that, but if you need more than that you could split up what you did into “qualitative” and “quantitative” parts and use a 2-bullet structure.

I’ve mentioned the “Specifics; Results” structure before and the same applies here – but you need to be careful about what you write:

  • Focus on modeling or valuation work if possible in your “specifics” segment – due diligence or other qualitative work may be ok as long as you can make it sound good in an interview. Try to link anything qualitative to how it was used in the transaction.

In the template here, the banker is using the buyer list he created for the Restructuring deal as the “specifics” and then giving the “results” by writing that it was used in Chapter 11 proceedings to show that the price was fair.

(“Fair” may sound ridiculous to you if you haven’t worked in finance before, and it would take me about a page to explain the term here – but for now just keep in mind that the work he did was used in court proceedings, which makes it good to write about.)

  • The level of detail for each deal depends on how much space you have and the rest of your resume. If this is your first and only full-time work experience, be as detailed as you can, but if you have lots of other solid entries then you don’t need to write a Wikipedia page about each entry.

In this template, the banker has gone into detail on some deals and hasn’t written much about others – which is fine.

  • Be very careful about your “results” for each deal. If you write something like, “Negotiated 10% lower purchase price,” you’re going to get called on it in interviews because Analysts and Associate don’t “negotiate” anything (except for food prices at closing dinners, maybe…).

If your work impacted the deal, that’s fine – but be careful with your wording and make sure that you frame the results as you having “supported” the senior bankers.

Also, don’t feel pressured to include false “results” – if all you did was create a presentation, just write that rather than pretending you made $10 million for your firm.

What to Do If…

Here are answers to some other common questions:

You’ve Had Multiple Investment Banking Internships

You can still include the other internships, but cut back on how much you include, and keep the focus on your current or most recent one.

You Had Experience in Private Equity, at a Hedge Fund, or Something Else Outside Banking

Still include a summary sentence but write about “Selected Investment Experience” instead and list the investments / potential investments you worked on.

Focus on modeling, due diligence, and how your work impacted the deal process (if that’s what happened).

See the video for more detail and an example of how to do this.

You Can’t Fit Everything On One Page and You Don’t Live in Australia

Decrease the font size, cut out experience, or do whatever it takes to get it on 1 page. 2 pages is still not appropriate in most regions, unless you have dozens of deals and need separate page(s) for them.

You Didn’t Have Any “Real” Deals

See above.

The Rest of the Resume

Again, it’s fine to leave in other Work Experience but you shouldn’t focus on it quite as much – which is why this section has been reduced here.

Education should be shorter if you’re working full-time – no one cares that you were on the Dean’s List. GPA and standardized test scores are fine to keep in. If you’re still a student, you can keep this section more detailed.

Skills, Activities & Interests should also be shorter (it’s named differently here as well) because people care even less what activities you were in once you’ve been working for awhile.

Again, students can keep this section more detailed but don’t go overboard.

Caveat Emptor

So that’s a quick overview of what’s in this template and how to use it – please do not just copy this blindly unless you want to get a lot of questions you can’t answer in interviews.

Use the basic format and style and adapt it to what you actually did.

Note: Also, I assume no liability in case this template does not, in fact, get you into KKR.

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Specifically, here’s what you’ll get:

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  • The 3-point structure to use for all your “Work Experience” entries: simple, but highly effective at getting the attention of bankers.
  • How to spin non-finance experience into sounding like you’ve been investing your own portfolio since age 12.
  • How to make business-related experience, such as consulting, law, and accounting, sounds like “deal work.”
  • How to avoid the fatal resume mistake that gets you automatically rejected. Nothing hurts more than making a simple oversight that gets you an immediate “ding”.
  • We only work with a limited number of clients each month. In fact, we purposely turn down potential clients in cases where we cannot add much value. We prefer quality over quantity, and we always want to ensure that we can work well together first.

FIND OUT MORE

About the Author

is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys learning obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, and traveling so much that he's forced to add additional pages to his passport on a regular basis.

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150 Comments to “Copy This Investment Banker Resume Template to Get Into KKR (Or At Least, Something Almost as Good)”

Comments

  1. Mark says

    Im a first year analyst in an Equity Capital Markets (origination) group, and I am wondering about how I should write about “deal experience” because the work I do on equity pitches and transactions is different from what the analysts in coverage do (it’s not valuation focused). I’m not trying to go buyside, just lateral banks and work in a coverage group.

    Done about 10-15 pitches, 7 were more extensive. Only closed deal I worked on was an M&A deal where I did work on potential shareholder action (was a big name deal though). Have been mandated on three other IPOs, but who knows when they are going to price. Not sure what I should focus on.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Focus on deals that you have made the most impact and are comfortable talking about. You can also refer to our resume services page if you want personalized resume editing service

    • says

      I would focus on any type of modeling-tasks you did complete, e.g. revenue and expense models for companies if you did that, and/or on the due diligence process and anything you uncovered for companies about to go public or raise equity.

      Definitely include the M&A deal. I would probably include that 1 M&A deal and then the 2 best IPOs or equity offerings where you did the most work / made the greatest impact.

  2. Dave says

    I had a question with regard to PE experience. What if you did a lot for a potential investment – modeling and due diligence – but it didn’t close? More specifically, what if you raised concerns based on your diligence that caused the firm to no bid at the last minute? It was still a really good experience, so I would like to talk about it. Is it appropriate to include on my resume?

  3. AJD says

    Brian/Nicole,

    I am currently doing a six-month post-grad internship (FO) at a top-tier real estate owner/operator. I graduated early (from a non-target) in December in order to replace my last semester with this position (and started in January).

    My resume is currently ordered as education/work/leadership and I was thinking of ordering it as work/education/leadership since my work exp is more impressive than my school. Good idea? Or do you think it’s too early since I should still technically be in school?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      If your work experience “looks better” than your education, yes I would list that above your education. While you may still be in school and we normally recommend most students to list their education at the top of their resumes, I believe it would make your resume more impressive if you put a reputable firm name above a school that is not as well known. It varies according to the individual.

  4. Rahul Dravid says

    Hi,

    I graduated last June from an ivy league school with a Masters degree in Applied Math, currently working in a backoffice job on the buy side. I’m looking to move into front-office hedge fund roles.

    http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-resume-examples/

    On the link above, you give 4 resume templates:-

    1. University Student IBD Resume Template
    2. Inv. Banker Applying to Buy-Side Resume Template
    3. MBA/Experienced Inv Banking Resume Template
    4. I-Banking Resume with No Real Work Exp. Template

    Which of these do you think most applies to me (I do have some internships in finance, but nothing much front office related)

    Thanks!

  5. NJ says

    Hi,

    I am in my junior year summer from a Canadian “target” school. I am working at a regional boutique outside Toronto that does deals between 5-150MM for private companies. We do buy/sell side M&A and raise private capital for clients (no public debt or IPO type deals). In addition, since it is very small I am getting some experience that a typical summer analyst might not get – leading projects, meeting clients, creating entire reports/valuations. We are very busy this summer so I will be working on quite a few “live” deals. My goal for full time recruitment would be to land a BB offer or, if possible, go the way of a large pension fund (a typical end for IB analysts in Canada).

    My questions are:
    1) How much information can I disclose about these private company transactions on my resume/in interviews?

    2) How can I describe my experiences without sounding like I am lying? I am currently a lead on some projects and have met with clients and other professionals basically working on all aspects of the deal.

    3) We have a “special project” which will be starting the firms forex/precious metals desk. There is currently nothing in place (they do have appropriate licences) and we have been tasked with writing and executing a business plan to start it this summer. I am unsure how to describe this in my resume, or if I should even put it on (make room for more deals).

    Thanks,
    NJ

    P.S. Great site, I have been reading it for quite some time and have definitely learnt a lot that has helped me so far.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      1. Always disclose information that is not confidential. If in doubt, I’d ask your team/leave it out all together.
      2. Great question! You should describe what you’ve been doing on your deals, and emphasize on the impact you’ve made. I think selling your experiences, focusing on your impact, and describing what you’ve been doing are very appropriate because you need to distinguish yourself from others. There’s a fine line between the above vs. lying – Lying means making up false statements (i.e. making inaccurate statements of what you’ve been doing on deals. If you’ve only been making the markets section of a pitch, saying that you led the pitch and won a client = inaccurate description = lie)
      3. I think you can describe it by stating what you’ll be doing in the project. If you have better experience to list, I’d leave this experience out and wait till you have more info before you list it on.

      Thank you for visiting our site and for your insight questions! We are glad that we could be of service to you.

  6. Wesley says

    How could I desicribe the following deal experience (I can’t seem to get the wording to be short yet get everything across):

    - Company wants to acquire competitors in the industry,they are looking to acquire multiple companies. Looked at 3 targets and 2 were acquired.
    My role: Worked with CEO to learn everything about the companies operations/financials and what the company is looking for in targets … (they picked the possible targets) … then created the valuation reports and other materials needed for client presentation. Other items: LOI and CIM (to raise debt for the acquisitions)

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Below are some guidelines and brief points:
      - Conducted in-depth analysis on [XX]; analysis showed [XX], resulting in [List how you made an impact here]
      - Assisted CEO in identifying possible targets [What did you do here, and how did you make an impact?]
      - Created valuation materials etc etc for [purpose, and list your impact if possible]

  7. Sean says

    All the resume templates in this site seems to be tailored for “Deals” type of work (i.e. IB, PE).

    Could you please help us, the experienced “Public Markets” professionals in HF, AM, ER, etc. with your awesome resume template guide?

    Thank you so much!

      • Sean says

        Hello Nicole,

        Thanks, but I have already seen that and found it irrelevant. Investment Management is quite different from S&T, and the S&T resume template already posted is for fresh college graduates, not for experienced hires.

        I would really appreciate it if you could consider a new article on experienced hires in public markets background (HF, AM, ER). A lot of people including myself are looking forward to it! Thank you!

        • M&I - Nicole says

          I wasn’t aware that you’re looking for templates for experienced hires. Its best if you can highlight your impact & trading experience, and highlight relevant trading/investment experience based on the role(s) you’re aiming for. We’ll keep your suggestion in mind. Thanks for your input!

  8. xeroxbol says

    How can you make up for the lack of deals in your resume?

    I worked for a small valuation consulting company. I probably performed over 50 valuations, but most of them were for financial reporting(post acquisition), and for the ones done pre-acquisition (management consideration), we were never involved in the deal it self.

    Thanks!

  9. Samilla says

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the guide!

    I’m trying to write the experience section of my resume.

    1) I participated in a BB IB training program summer of my freshman yr because of my family connections. It’s a 5 weeks program where we basically sat there and listened to the presentations given by ppl in the firm. In the end they gave us a case comp where we need to come up with a roadshow presentation and presented to the senior bankers. As you can tell, I rly didn’t learn a lot except having a general idea of what IB looks like and also my group won the final competition out of 5 competing teams.

    My question is– how should I describe this program on my resume? I wish I could say I have done this and that in this program but the truth I didn’t but I still feel this program is relevant since it’s BB-related.

    2) I’m also working for school’s computer lab this semester where I did some troubleshooting, completed some tech-based projects. Do you think I should list this in my resume even tho it’s not quite relevant? (I have hold two leadership positions in a business club so I’m thinking maybe I should focus on my b-club stuff instead of this part-time job?)

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!:) LIFE SAVER

    • M&I - Nicole says

      1) Describe what you did “Listened to the presentations given by ppl in the firm, came up with a roadshow presentation and presented to the senior bankers.[List what you presented there and your recommendations]

      2) I’d focus on your business club

  10. Jeeves says

    I do live in Australia. What’s the implication here? That Aussies have more deals to work on or like larger resumes?

  11. Riley says

    Thank you very much for the article. Just a quick question on my situation: I’m a first-year credit risk analyst at a BB hoping to network and maybe move to IBD as an analyst. My current resume has education on top and work exp below it, should I swap them too based on this article?

    I cover and underwrite many corporate lending and debt financing transactions so I do have some deal experience to talk about (although it is different from the deal experience of an IBD analyst as on the corporate banking side here we’re typically not in the deal process for as long) that I can expand, but at this point I’m not really looking to break into PE, would really rather try and move to IBD / capital markets teams first. Does the IBD analyst / associate template apply?

    Thank you so much for your time and help!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes I’d list your work experience first

      Yes it applies; still highlight your deal experience, particularly valuation and work with public offerings

  12. Martin says

    There was one M&A mandate that I did extensive work on – unfortunately the deal fell through but not before it was publicly announced that our bank was engaged on the mandate. Would it be okay to put the name of the company on my resume? What details should i avoid?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      If the information is not confidential, yes you can list it on there. Avoid details that are confidential (i.e. not disclosed to public etc)

  13. Reginald says

    Brian and Nicole,

    In your article, you mentioned that we should frame our deal with specifics and results in mind. However, I am having a difficult time framing my deal since I only worked on an IPO and two debt financing deals.

    In both cases, I built the standalone operating model but we mainly used to guide research analysts and pitch the company to potential investors. My question is what can I write for results?

    - Reginald

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d talk about what the findings of the model were. In terms of results you can just say something like “model used in pitch to potential investors and served as guide for research analysts”

  14. Charles says

    Hey Brian,

    Do you think it is a good idea to mention that as the result of my work (as part of the team) on a particular transaction we received 6 LOIs from potential investors? Or you suggest not to go to that detailed description of my work?

    Thanks,
    C

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