by Brian DeChesare Comments (369)

How to Write an Investment Banking Resume When You Have No Real Work Experience

“Ok, I’ve followed your resume templates, but I don’t have any real work experience and I’m applying to internships… what do I do?

How do I compete with the guy who already has finance internships on his resume?

This one is very common if you’re still in school and you’re going for internships or even full-time offers.

And it applies even if you’re more experienced – but you don’t have much in the way of finance experience.

So here’s how you spin your resume to win investment banking interviews – even if you don’t have much “real” work experience.

Get the Templates Right Here

How to Spin Non-Finance Experience: “Before” [Download]

How to Spin Non-Finance Experience: “After” [Download]

Wait, Resumes Still Matter?

You might be wondering why this matters at all: doesn’t networking trump polishing your resume?

Yes, any day of the week. And spending dozens of hours “perfecting” your resume is still a waste of time.

But you still need a solid – if not perfect – resume. That’s especially true if you’re not coming from a well-known school and you don’t have brand-name internships.

And if you use cold-calling or cold-emailing to contact banks, they will judge you heavily based on your resume – so it needs to be good.

The Tutorial

To make all of this more concrete, we’re going to do a “resume makeover” and show you exactly how to change this university student’s resume to make it far more effective.

You can watch the video tutorial below:

And here’s the text version:

Key Mistakes

This resume is certainly not “terrible” – but there is one big problem:

Nothing on here indicates any interest in finance or desire to do a finance internship.

What’s wrong specifically?

  • He lists too much experience, and most of it isn’t relevant. 2-3 solid entries is far better than 6 thin experiences.
  • He does not highlight what’s most relevant to finance here, and instead treats everything as equal.
  • He fails to list a highly relevant entry that should be counted as “work experience” rather than an “activity” at the bottom.
  • He’s not specific enough with the finance-related experience.

So how do we fix all that?

Magnify Tiny But Relevant Experiences

Repeat after me: relevance trumps time when it comes to work experience.

This student should focus on just 2 experiences:

  • JP Morgan Investment Banking Case Competition
  • Investment Fund

And then he can briefly write about his retail job over the summer and the student newspaper.

Unlike the others, the retail job is “real” work experience, in an actual workplace – which shows banks that you’re capable of functioning in the real world.

Right now this student barely mentions #1 and #2 above, but he should expand on both and pretend they’re work experience.

Even if the case competition only lasted a week, you need to draw attention to it because of the brand-name and because it’s more relevant than anything else on there.

Turn Your Hobbies and Clubs Into “Work Experience”

Examples of hobbies, clubs, and activities you could turn into “work experience”:

  • Day Trading / Your Personal Portfolio (works better for Sales & Trading)
  • Professional Organizations (e.g. Society of Securities Analysts)
  • Finance Website You Started
  • Case or Investment Competitions
  • Student-Run Investment Funds or Finance / Consulting Clubs

What if you’ve racked your brain and you really can’t think of anything that seems remotely related to finance?

Your best bet is to re-position some of your experience as “consulting,” emphasizing the recommendations you made and the results rather than the technical details.

Remember, anything could be called “consulting” – and if you never had a formal title, all the better. More on that one here.

Cut Out “Work Experience” If It Won’t Impress

Forget about telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: there’s no “law” that you have to list every last detail on your resume, and most of the time you shouldn’t.

What should you cut?

  • Part-time experience at the library, student center, etc.
  • Retail/restaurant work.
  • Anything you’re listing just to make a “laundry list” of activities – move this to the bottom instead.
  • Anything over a year old that’s not relevant.

One exception: you may want to leave on retail/restaurant-type work experience if that’s all you have aside from activities.

Don’t focus on it, but it’s good to keep at least 1 entry on there to show banks that you have some real world exposure.

Forget Chronological Order

While you should usually use reverse chronological order for your resume, there’s no “rule” that says you have to strictly follow it.

So if you have “JP Morgan Investment Banking Case Competition” please put that at the top of your Work Experience no matter what the date was.

If you’re no longer in school this gets harder to justify and you should stick more closely to chronological order.

Move Your School to the Bottom

In the case where you have brand-name companies on your resume and a non-brand-name school, you could move Work Experience to the top and put Education below it instead.

That may raise some questions if you’re still in school – but it is an option if you’ve recently graduated and you feel that your work experience looks more impressive than your school, GPA, or major.

We’re not using this strategy here because this student is applying for summer internships and because his university – while not a “target school” – is also far from unknown.

The End Result

You can see for yourself right here.

We’ve using the exact same experience, but we’re presenting it differently, focusing on different points, and excluding what doesn’t matter.

And this student now has a much better chance of getting interviews and landing offers.

What to Do When You’re Out of School

If you’ve already graduated or you’ve been working for a few years, you can still apply some of these strategies.

The main difference is that you can’t get away with turning all your activities into “work experience” as a student might be able to.

You can still list them on your resume, but you need to focus on “bankifying” your real work experience by focusing on the business results and the big picture.

Wait, Is All of This Legal?

You might also be wondering if everything I’ve suggested here is “legal.” Will you be flagged during background checks? Get your offer rescinded because you omitted something?


While you shouldn’t omit major summer internships, leaving out part-time, unpaid, or informal experience is fine.

And spinning experience into sounding bigger than it really was is not lying – it’s just spinning.

All of This Helps, But…

Also note that while the strategies here will help you get interviews and will make your resume look more substantial, you’re still not going to “beat” the guy or girl with a Goldman Sachs internship and an Ivy League school on his/her resume.

So you won’t be able to level the playing field completely, but you can give yourself a boost and reduce the gap between yourself and everyone else applying.

What Now?

If you’re applying for internships or full-time positions and you don’t have much real work experience think about what you could spin into sounding relevant: Clubs? Activities? Your Own Portfolio?

What are the 2-3 most relevant experiences to focus on? What could be omitted to make room for more relevant entries?

Think about all that, and then re-write your resume and spin your way to success.

Still Need More Help?

Introducing: Premium Investment Banking-Specific Resume/CV and Cover Letter Editing Services

We will take your existing resume and transform it into a resume that grabs the attention of finance industry professionals and presents you and your experience in the best possible light.

When we’re done, your resume will grab bankers by the lapels and not let them go until they’ve given you an interview.

Specifically, here’s what you’ll get:

  • Detailed, line-by-line editing of your resume/CV – Everything that needs to be changed will be changed. No detail is ignored.
  • Your experience will be “bankified” regardless of whether you’ve been a student, a researcher, a marketer, a financier, a lawyer, an accountant, or anything else.
  • Optimal structuring – You’ll learn where everything from Education to Work Experience to Activities should go. Regional badminton champion? Stamp collector? You’ll find out where those should go, too.
  • 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.


M&I - Brian

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Hello,
    I started Industiral Engineer degree, swithc after 2 years to Economics degree, how should I mentiod this, if at all on my CV? I have now 1 year working experience in related field and a MSc Finance.

    1. You can just add it in parentheses after your main degree or in one of the sub-bullets. It’s not terribly important, so if you don’t have space, leave it out.

  2. Dear Brian,

    Your advice can go a long way and your site has been my homepage for a while now. The thing is..I got accepted at a target school in London for an MSc Finance ( not LSE or Oxbridge). I have a BSc Economics (4 year degree, 2.1) from an unknown uni in Greece. I was playing basketball at a competitive level until my fourth year, hence no internships . Internships in Greece are aimed for final year students and there was nothing even remotely related to IB/Finance. However, I was managing my own portfolio (virtual of course) ,mainly as a way to get my hands on analyzing financial statements and financial modeling.
    The only real work experience I have besides basketball is my frequent contribution in my city’s sport magazine and some retail experience as well. I don’t state the latter two anywhere on my resume/cover letter because I believe they have nothing to add regarding my goals right now. Do you think this is bad/ non advisable?

    P.S : Other than that I have interesting research projects stated during my BSc and volunteering.

    1. Forgot to add. Immediately after my graduation a spent nine months in the army, which is mandatory in Greece so I couldn’t apply for off cycle internships or any other role before my master’s.

      1. Then you should definitely mention that somewhere so you can give more of an explanation for your lack of work experience.

    2. Not necessarily, but you do need to cite some type of activities/interests if you don’t have any real work experience. Research projects and volunteering are better than writing about magazine or retail experience.

      1. Thanks Brian. I will incorporate it into my “story”. I will also try to network my way into any tiny corp.fin/ PE firm so as to gain relevant experience during the course. If possible.

  3. Harry Kane

    I completed an internship at a firm’s “financial advisory” department that is responsible for helping them raise funds and optimizing their capital structure. While the work i did was mostly qualitative is it dishonest to call it investment banking ?

    1. Harry Kane

      for helping firms** raise funds

    2. Yes, that is probably going too far and could get you in trouble in the future.

      1. Harry Kane

        Agreed. Out of curiosity, what is the qualifying feature of an Investment bank? Underwriting debt? Lazard doesn’t underwrite debt and labels their service “financial advisory”. They do however officially title their employees investment banking analyst.

  4. kamaluddin

    i graduated last year 2016 my course i earn bachelor in economics and master in international relations when both degree from reputable university in india when i completed my MA then i return to my country and start business dealing with trading. i got investor 15.000.000 $ but confused to do what that money? then i decide to have work experience in investment banking so in future after having experience so then i will return to my company again mean in future i want to become businessmen . the question is
    1. am i too Late to start my career as IB as planning to start from low level i am now 27 age ?
    2. am i eligible to for IB as i earn my Master degree on international relation it’s related to International politics but i did my bachelor in economics what are the potential for me to get a job or potential for IB job. IB job now is passion. i really need anyone of your advice.

    1. 1) Not necessarily, but you need to move in ASAP… see our other coverage of the market in India.

      2) I don’t understand your question. Basically, the solution to getting into IB in India is “Leave India and move to a bigger market with more opportunities.”

  5. I study Law at a top target school in the UK. I took part in a commercial negotiation competition organised by my Law Society in collaboration with Allen & Overy. I negotiated multiple transactions and I got to the semi finals (top 4) of the 148 participants.

    These were just pretend transactions. However, one transaction was particularly relevant to IBD. It was an M&A.

    I’ve described the experience as:

    ? Negotiated a $100M transaction on behalf of a VC firm acquiring a 55% stake in a start-up.
    ? Innovated solution (using financial derivative instruments) to protect the client’s equity (thus profits in a future IPO) whilst addressing the founder’s requirement to control the company.
    ? Top 5% – of 148 participants, reached semi finals of the competition.

    Do you think this is okay?

  6. I’m a mechanical engineering major who wishes to change my career path and get into an investment banking role. Currently a penultimate year student still in university. I have interned at Rolls-Royce (the aircraft engine maker) in a project management role, and I have telemarketing/telesales experience (summer vacation job). Any tips for crafting my resume?

    1. Too add on, I’m looking for a summer internship in an investment banking role before I enter my final year of university. I have applied to some banks and I am still applying to other banks whose application deadlines are in december (APAC region, I’m from Singapore). I have taken an introductory business finance elective in school, but it was a pass/fail subject. Any tips pertaining to crafting a solid resume would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

    2. I would recommend following these tips for off-cycle internships; your resume matters less than networking at this stage:

  7. My most recent experience is a research assistant position. I got to work with 2 professors, one from my school and one from UCLA. I was employed under my prof. However, do you think it would be a good idea to list UCLA instead (Anderson School of Management) since it’s a bigger brand name? To be honest, I coordinated with the UCLA prof more (through email and skype meetings)


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes, I think that helps, especially if you have been coordinating with the UCLA professor more often.

  8. Hello,

    I noticed that none of the templates you have on M&I include a “Profile” section on top of the resume. Do you just not feel like it’s of any use at all? Would there be a case where you would include it?

    Here’s a rough sample of what I currently have

    “3rd year Finance student at….in pursuit of a CFA designation…. Organized leader with initiative…. Enthusiastic team player seeking new opportunities to improve understanding of finance….Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite. Fluent in English, Mandarin, and Spanish”

    1. We don’t feel it’s useful unless you have 10-20+ years of experience and therefore have a real need to summarize it. Language like what you suggested is very generic and doesn’t really improve your chances – every candidate thinks he/she is a good leader, a team player, etc. For university students, basically your resume comes down to: 1. Good university? 2. Good grades? 3. Good internships?

  9. Hi,

    At the beginning of the semester, I independently sought out my Finance prof to help me learn more about finance (i guess this shows some level of initiative too). In particular, I asked him if he could help me manage my own portfolio. He ended up giving me sort of a side project where I manage a mock portfolio. Should I list this as an experience (if so, under work experience or leadership experience?) Or should it just be a phrase on the bottom beside “Activities”?


    1. Depends on how much other experience you have… if you have little to no formal work experience, sure, you can list it as a work experience entry on your resume. But if you already have 1-2 solid internships, it’s better to list it at the bottom under Activities.

      1. Also, should I mention that I sought out my prof at the beginning of the semester for this side project (not for marks) or is that just something for the interview?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes you can include that if you choose.

  10. Hi there!

    I am a sophomore majoring in economics at a target school looking for an investment banking internship this summer. However, I currently don’t have any experience in finance, which I assume is a turn off for most firms. I regretfully did not participate in extracurriculars freshman year. This summer I went to Chinese study abroad program to enhance my Chinese skills. What do you recommend I do in the upcoming year so that I might have a chance in getting an offer this summer?


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Join an investment/finance club, and take on a part time internship in finance if possible.

  11. Hello Brian & Nicole

    Thanks for all these awesome resources. I am a recent graduate with bachelors in Finance and actuarial science. I had a few questions:

    1. My experiences are mostly regarding customer service, entrepreneurship and assistant management of a small business. The only thing that relates to finance in my experience is my participation as an analyst of Heavy Machinery sector for the Investment society at a non-target university in Texas. How much space do you think I should give to this experience compared to others.

    2. In the resume I noticed you purposefully omitted MS Office skills. Is it necessary to do that? I had also used Bloomberg and SAS. Do you think I should mention these or omit them?

    3. I also noticed you did not include any qualitative aspect of the student like claiming to be disciplined and/or other similar qualities. Do you think it is a good idea to add any of these or are they inherently assumed of all students or they would not judge them from the resume but from the interviews?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      1. I’d say around 30-40% of your resume since you don’t have other relevant experience
      2. Yes I’d list Bloomberg and SAS
      3. Yes I think such qualities are demonstrated through references and interviews so we don’t think there’s a need to list them on your resume

      1. Thank you Nicole for responding. It helps a lot. Based what you have said and what I have done I elaborated the Investment society experience as:

        • Used Bloomberg to analyze and import data to MS Excel for further analysis
        • Selected suitable criteria based on the industry to build a model to evaluate each company’s performance
        • Compared the performance with the market to decide to retain, long or short the stocks from the portfolio
        How do you think I can make it sounds more profound IB business-like and what type of lingos I could use to make it better?
        Thanks a million!

        1. M&I - Nicole

          I’d talk about the investments/stocks you chose, what kind of analyses you did (i.e. you can elaborate on compared the performance) and what your analyses showed.

  12. Would you say that recruiting for a bulge bracket bank in Singapore is relatively similar to stateside? I go to school in California but would like to opt for a bb in Singapore. Thanks

    1. There are quite a few differences, though not necessarily in the recruiting process itself:

  13. Hi Nicole, I have a phone call with the MD of investment banking at a bulge bracket (thanks to your networking tips) coming up soon. It is not an interview but rather an informal chat regarding an inquiry about an ib analyst position at his bank, are there any particular ways you would recommend I steer the call? Thanks for your help

    1. I don’t think you need to worry about too much – make sure you can articulate why you want to do banking, read up on recent deals the bank has done, and ask him questions on anything the bank has advised on recently. Most students do not take the time to properly research deals the bank has worked on, so this can set you apart.

      1. Is it possible for MD’s to directly hire? I am aspiring for this to happen down the line with him

        1. M&I - Nicole

          They can have a say, but no it still depends on hiring needs and the team’s perception of you. Of course, if he likes you your chances maybe significantly higher but MDs usually don’t directly hire candidates.

  14. M&Abhi

    Hi Brian, I am a third year from a non-target school (UC Santa Cruz) and I am vying for an investment banking analyst position next year. I wanted to know how good of a chance I had to break into investment banking. For my experience I have an Assistant Manager position at a restaurant, a quantitative analysis research associate position at ThermoFisher Scientific and am currently an M&A Legal Analyst at a large corporation. I am a law major and am currently taking a financial accounting class online with a GPA of about 3.6. My M&A experience largely revolves around financial due diligence work as well as analyzing valuations, often done by firms like JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank. Do you think I have a good chance of breaking into the industry?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think your experience can be useful given your DD and analyses work you’ve done. I think you have a 50/50 chance of breaking into the industry, and I’d focus on boutique/smaller banks to increase your chances. You may also want to transfer to the M&A department in your corporation and move to a bank from there.

      1. M&Abhi

        How about BB banks? Would I have a shot through networking or even just applying online? One large concern is my non-finance background but I think I have effectively spun my resume to focus mainly on the financial aspects and quantitative skills. Is there anything else I can do to prove to banks that I am capable with numbers or is it simply a matter of chance? I really appreciate your feedback. Thank you!

        1. M&I - Nicole

          I’d say networking through LinkedIn and your connections would be the best bet. For BB banks, the application procedure is pretty standard so if you have a high GPA, target school background, plenty of extracurricular activities, and relevant experience this will help. Otherwise I’d try to connect with alum who work at BB and see if they can introduce you to more contacts at BB and improve your chances. You can prove that you’re capable of numbers with your grades etc but this isn’t the only and most crucial thing banks are looking for; they’re looking for people with relevant experience. You can still apply online to BB but I’d focus on smaller banks first.

          1. M&Abhi

            Just one last question! So I have a connection at Houlihan Lokey but going by a lot of people’s insight, Houlihan has extremely technical interview questions. I believe that I’d be able to more than sufficiently prepare for these questions but are banks which require a lot of technical knowledge going to opt for finance majors instead? Thanks again

          2. M&I - Nicole

            It depends. Some do prefer finance majors but I wouldn’t worry about this and apply to the bank anyway.

          3. M&Abhi

            Thanks Nicole! Your advice goes a long way :)

  15. M&I,

    I have two experiences, directly related to banking, listed on my resume; the most recent was an official internship with a BB and the other was an unofficial experience where I was mentored by an individual rather than a company.

    What would be the most appropriate and professional way to title this unofficial experience?

    Thank you.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      It depends on what you’ve been doing with the mentor. I’d focus on the tasks you’ve done and the results you have achieved, depending on your responsibilities.

  16. Hi, I’m from the caribbean where there’s no target school or any great opportunities for investment banking. I would like to get an internship with a BB bank.

    Unknown school – double degree accounting and economics – high gpa

    Work experience
    I do not have any relevant work experience.
    I was thinking of applying for an internship with a big 4 firm in transactions & restructuring because the big 4 are the only big-name firms on the island and also because of the relation of transactions & restructuring to IB.
    Do you suggest another service?

    Extracurricular activities
    Student Council – Vice president
    There is not many student clubs at my uni so I was thinking of starting an investment club and get a leadership role.

    I was thinking of doing the breaking into wall street courses for the lack of experience in IB.

    Will my plans help me get a summer internship abroad with a BB bank? Are there any other suggestions?

    I also want to network with bankers abroad and possibly go on a weekend trip to meet.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes, if you don’t have any experience, your plan of “applying for an internship with a big 4 firm in transactions & restructuring because the big 4 are the only big-name firms on the island and also because of the relation of transactions & restructuring to IB” would help. I’m not 100% sure if your plan can get you a summer internship abroad at a BB but having some experience will improve your chances. And of course weekend trips will help.

  17. Hi, I’m trying to break into ER and I wanted to ask if I should focus more on my research writing competition(which involved dcf modeling & spreading comps)and independent investing(using fundamental & technical analysis) as they are the most relevant experience in finance that I have rather than my internship as a legal intern doing administrative work in the top 10 commercial banks in my country? Should I list the internship last? Thanks!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes I’d focus on your research writing competition and independent investing experience. Yes I’d list your internship at the bottom and spend most of your efforts on your analytical skills.

  18. Hi M&I,

    First of all, thanks for the templates and endless amounts of information on this website. I recently bought the IB networking toolkit and interview guide and they’ve been a great help but I have some questions on how to differentiate specific activities on an IB resume.
    I am the vice president of the case competition club at my school and currently have it listed under College Activities and Leadership. Under that i have events such as out of state travel competitions.
    I see here that the JP Morgan investment banking case competition is listed under Work & Leadership experience. I have participated in a KPMG consulting case competition that was external to my schools club and won second place. Should I list the KPMG consulting case competition in a different section of my resume or should I include it under the Case Competition Club since they are similar?
    Not exactly sure what will put me in a better perspective to prospective employers and could really use some insight.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      It depends on how much space your resume has. If you don’t have enough space on your resume, I may group them together. Otherwise I may separate the experience. I don’t think you need to worry too much about this. I don’t think it will make too big of a difference. Please let us know if you have other questions.

  19. Thanks for article and templates! What is your opinion on mentioning a work experience you WILL have by the time you would start whatever you are applying for. For example, I have accepted an offer for a semi-brand name finance internship (F500 life insurance company, Financial Representative Intern is job title) for next semester. Is it okay to put this in work experience with an asterisk by the date and then list what your responsibilities will be? and then, if my other work exp is relatively unimpressive, is it okay to put this first in the work experience section?

    1. You can do it, but you need to indicate that it’s expected future experience and hasn’t actually started yet. Yes, putting it first is fine but don’t go into much detail on it since it hasn’t happened yet.

  20. Hi M&I,
    I have been out of school for two years in a teaching program but have no real financial experience. Although not relevant, the experience on my resume is high quality. My biggest concern is my GPA (around 3.2). Through networking I have gotten in touch with and maintained contact with people at several middle market, boutique, and bulge bracket banks. Without finance experience, is it mandatory to include GPA on a resume even with several years of other work experience? Would not including it at this point seem bizarre/hinder my chances?
    Thank you!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      No, many people include their GPA and they may ask you to fill it in during applications. You can choose to exclude it, if they didn’t specifically ask for it on applications

  21. limited working proficiencies* in Arabic and French

  22. Hi M&I,

    I am a rising senior at a target school with a GPA just above 3.45 (major finance and minor in economics and international business). I’ve had 4 internships through my undergrad years (2 of them international: one in europe and one in the middle east). The summer after my freshman year I interned at a European investment bank with an office in NY (not bulge bracket, more middle market). I also interned as an oil and gas summer analyst at a research and consulting firm, a VC firm in the Middle East and at the OECD headquarters. I also have limited working experiences in Arabic and French. I am looking to apply for bulge bracket firms in the fall and I am worried that my lack of IB experience and my GPA. What is your advice?

    Thank you very much for your help. Your website is very useful!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d network a lot and try your best to boost your GPA if you can. Your previous experiences can help, and I’d leverage your network from such experiences if possible.

  23. Hi Nicole/Brian,

    Thank You so much for creating such a amazing platform for IB aspirants.

    I have just completed my MBA (Finance). I am seeking an internship program to get experience in financial analyst job. I have no real time work experience but I have excellent command over corporate finance, Valuation (Public and Private companies) and Excel. Unofficially I did valuation for dozen companies for value investment and even I made handsome money by doing so. Could you help me that how can I present above skills and knowledge in MY CV.

    I would really appreciate your kind help.
    Thank You

    1. M&I - Nicole

      You may want to highlight experiences where you’ve used your valuation skills. If you’re interested in CV services, please go to

  24. I am a 17 year old currently in my first year reading English Literature at the University of Leeds in the U.K. I have little relevant work experience (Administration at a Golf Club for 5 months and then working in the pro shop for a further 2 months), good academic results from school, and am track to get a good grade at University.

    I would like to land an Internship or even insight week at literally any bank I can just so I can have something on my résumé that would make bankers think seriously about employing me.

    Have you any advice on what I could do to make them notice me at the moment without previous finance experience?

    Thank you for your time

    1. *on track

    2. M&I - Nicole

      If you can gain some experience, even at clubs in school, that may help you. If you don’t have any previous finance experience it can be hard to spin your resume. You can still discuss your work experience and focus on the impact you’ve made. With the above being said, you’re still very early in the game so I wouldn’t worry too much.

  25. I noticed that the case competition was used as a work experience, Should I do the same thing for workshop such as training the streets – investment banking bootcamp?

    Bryan Fong

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes you can do that and put that under Finance Training or something along those lines

  26. Hello,

    I’m a Masters student at UK target-school without any banking internships. I do have previous experience in Real Estate Investment working in my Family’s business, but no brand names.

    I was wondering if I could include the events I have attended which are branded. For instance – a Financial Markets Conference sponsored by all the major banks. Or a ‘skills informational session’ delivered by BlackRock at my school. Can attendance to these events be included in my resume?


    Anas B.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes you can

  27. Hi,

    I’m aiming for a IBD summer internship but I did a trading internship this summer – back then I thought I wanted to be a trader and completely changed my mind after this internship.

    Now I’m trying to bankify my trading internship on my resume but I rly dont know how to.

    What I did apart from fetching coffee:
    – summarized key daily news and macroeconomics data that might affect interest rate markets (i’m interning at rates desk);
    – booked the trades for three senior trades on my desk;
    – compiled derivative desks day end commentaries and sent them to the trading floor
    – initiated a detailed report on a new financial product and distributed it to the sales team so they can refer this report when talking to clients
    – random admin stuff like update their holiday calendars for the next 10 yrs

    As you can tell,
    it doesn’t look that technical and it’s really hard to use NUMBERS to show the RESULTS, which I know, is the key.

    Any insight would be helpful!!!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps you saved time/costs/efficiency and you can list that (i.e. 2nd bullet point)

  28. Hi,
    I graduated from top UK university last year and starting a Master in Finance at top school in the UK this September. Have a previous internship in back office for top american bank (GS/MS/JP…). and spent the last year working for another bulge bracket…doing the same(not very happy I ended there)
    I was in the Financial Reporting function both times dealing with accounting stuff only. Literally…even posting double entry journals in the systems from time to time.

    How can I make this sound even remotely related to finance and banking? My work had nothing to do with modelling, the market environment etc. The closest to analysis and modelling was the review of the PnL & BS of the company itself.

    I am struggling to bankify the experience for my CV.

    Any advice?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      This experience is not be directly relevant to front office IBD roles. Perhaps you can focus on the accounting and analytical skills you’ve gained. Remember to quantify your impact (i.e. how you saved costs) if possible.

  29. hey great site by the way.
    I was wondering what is more prestigious. informal work experience at a bank where you did usual crap like fetching coffee and work shadowing someone or another amazing company in a completely different field to finance but you had real responsibility?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think the bank name maybe more relevant to finance roles. You can always try to spin your shadowing experience. While your experience in a different field maybe useful, it may not be relevant to finance.

  30. Hi Brian,

    You mentioned that it’s okay to avoid listing your work experiences in chronological order–Is this generally acceptable for someone who graduated from university 3 years ago? My work experiences thus far have not been impressive due to the recession, and would like to put my leadership/internship positions in college (very heavily finance related) at the top of my resume. Please let me know if this is fine.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      You can do that though I think its best to list your work experience first because employers will doubt why you’ve changed around the chronological order.

  31. I will be a senior at a non-target University of California in the orange county area. I’m hoping to break into a BB iBank or top middle market firm. These are my work experiences so far
    2nd year summer – small middle market ibanking summer analyst
    3rd year school year – corporate finance intern at F500 company
    This summer I’ll be working at another middle market ibank as a summer analyst. Should I forgo this internship and apply to the NY School of Finance if I want to land a job at a top tier bank?
    Also a note, my GPA is only at a 3.3 range.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think your summer experience should help with your goals. I’m not quite sure if forgoing your summer internship for NYSF is a great idea. While the program offers candidates experience at an investment bank, private equity firm, venture capital fund, or hedge fund, it isn’t guaranteed that you will land a job at a top tier bank. If your GPA is 3.3, you’ll probably have to network quite a bit and get your name out there this summer.

      1. Dear Brain
        I m 32. I have been working as a general manager in medical clinic for 7 years. I don’t have any IB experience. I m going to start a top MBA course from this Sep. Do you think I should do the 15/07-23/08 NYSF internship. Or should I wait for now and do a autum session next year after I graduate from my MBA course.
        Which way do you think it gives me a better chance. Thanks a million.

        1. M&I - Nicole

          I think you can wait and do it next year so you can do your internship right after the course.

  32. Hello Brian and Nicole,

    I´ve a question regarding how deep you must go in extraacademic merits, for example, if I recruited a lot of people for a business event in the university,

    Would it be ok just to mention that I was the one who recrutied most people of all the recrutiers or should I remark the achievement with the specific numbers/percentage? (I´m struggling with the space, otherwise I wouldn´t think twice)

    Do you think that would be an impressive enough merit to include in the CV?

    1. If you don’t have space, leave it out. Otherwise you could include it.

  33. Spring Weeks seem to be quite important in the UK, especially when someone has little work experience. How would you portray these experiences on a CV?

    You can’t take a project/results approach, as that’s not what they are! But more presentations, shadowing, extremely great exposure to the industry.

    What would you suggest?

    “Learn about FX trading – exposure to . . .” etc?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      You can just list them at the category below your education under Internship Experience and use our M&I format:

      [Firm Name] [City/State]
      [Spring Week Intern] [Month, Year – Month, Year]

  34. Sorry for adding another comment, but I wanted to add onto my previous question. I’m trying to “bankify” my PWM internship, but since I have a vague memory of the terms my supervisor used and did not know what a lot of them meant, I’m having some trouble.
    I want to say:
    -assisted a team of advisers and client service associates with maintaining client data and creating performance reports for high net worth individuals
    -took charge of creating monthly cashflow reports for about 50 clients

    what kind of words or phrases should i use to bankify this experience?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      What you listed is decent, though you’ll have to focus on the analysis you’ve done (i.e. what kind of analysis have to done to create the reports and what did your analysis show?) and quantify your impact. The words you’ve used are decent.

  35. I’ve downloaded your template and wanted to ask: is it worth listing study abroad on your resume? Would you list it as a bullet point under XYZ University, or separately? If I list it separately, is it okay to only write the name of the school since one semester of study abroad does not give out a GPA or honors?

    By separately, I meant:
    Home university name (in bold)
    -GPA, Honors, Coursework

    Study abroad university name (in bold)

    Thanks so much.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes you can list your study abroad experience on your resume, and not list your GPA/honors. What you listed is fine.

  36. Hi Brian,

    One quick question, I am currently working in a Corporate Advisory division and has been working for 6-7 months, under Corporate Banking. I have assisted my senior manager in providing market analysis, due diligence for M&A deals and of course pitching presentations, but valuations or financial modeling. So question is, am I considered as someone with experience or not?


    1. *But no valuations or financial modeling.

    2. M&I - Nicole

      Yes you are considered as someone with some experience – more experience than a fresh grad and will still be considered a junior (first year analyst in an IB). If a bank (most IBs do) specifically wants someone with solid valuation experience, you may have to start building up your financial modeling foundation before applying to such roles. You’ll have to convince your interviewer that you have solid valuation skills despite your lack of financial modeling experience. Chances are, if the interviewers really like you, you might start off as a first year analyst given your lack of valuation experience.

      1. This helps a lot. Thanks for the input Nicole!

  37. As a career changer, albeit with an MBA, I have been told by an MD that gaining a certification in Financial Modeling or Valuation would help with some of the technical requirements that could be inhibiting me. The modeling course you guys offer looks fantastic, but is there an appropriate way to weave this into the resume/interview process? Thank you, love the site

  38. I m 32. I m networking for a intern at present. I m also going to do my MBA at LSE in London this Oct. Should I put this on my resume. Thanks

  39. I m networking for a intern at present. I m also going to do my MBA at LSE in London this Oct. Should I put this on my resume.

  40. I am appying an internship at the present. Just because I m going to do MBA in a target school later this year should I highlight this. Or am I better off just concentrate on Magnify tiny but relevant experiences. Many Thanks

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Highlight any finance experience you have and yes maybe you can list your MBA school

  41. Besides having a Bachelors in Finance and serving 1 year as student government president in college I have no relevant work experience. How would I spin working 6 years as a sales consultant at an auto
    dealership? I negotiate deals, make recommendations, and process the paperwork to secure loans. Is this enough?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Best if you have experience in finance but if this is the only experience you have you can spin that

  42. I have gone through the financial modeling training program (BIWS Premium). Where should I mention that on my resume.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Bottom of your resume under Certifications

  43. Matthew Shuck

    I just read your pdf and noticed that as far as the resume part goes I have nothing that can be reasonably spun to sound like banking experience, I’m not going to request your service for free but if you have 2 minutes to quick skim my resume would you mind helping? (I’m sorry I work at a very low end job and $300 is two weeks of my pay that I need to just survive)
    Well I do currently have a 2nd interview at a completely unrelated “professional” job coming at the end of this week, and that (may) offer something to work with if I would take the job but it would just push the search back a year (and being as I just graduated with my undergrad it feels like a critical time)

    Thank you for any assistance or for reading.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think the article should provide you enough information.

      1. Matthew Shuck

        I have read the article (along with the large majority of the website, still reading when I have available time) but my degree is in something so obscure that it is unrelated, and my most recent (and relevant) job experience is working at 1 of those horrible part time stock shelves retail jobs (with no ability to word it so it sounds like it deals with making money or sales) but because of how my work/school lined up I was unable to spend time volunteering or any other beneficial bonuses.

        My current best lead for a job is through networking *yay networking* a major bank (noninvestment but at least still financial experience)

        1. M&I - Nicole

          If you can find someone in the industry who can take you under his wing this will help your career big time!

  44. Hey,

    Great article. I just have one question. For various reasons I have no work experience at all (literally nothing). I have lots of ECs and have done some volunteering though. Do you think that I could swap the work experience section for extra curricular activities section and just list it all there? Thank you so much.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      In your case, yes because you wouldn’t have any work experience to write about otherwise

  45. Bhaven Mistry


    How can I present my work experience at an insurance company that I did for a week when I apply for spring weeks and internships at IBs? There, I shadowed some underwriters/actuaries, shadowed a broker for a day, and spent a morning with an underwriter in the Lloyds Building in London. Is there a good way that I can link it to the skills I’ll need at an IB? Many thanks

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes. Talk about skills you acquired and what you did there.

  46. Brian,

    On my resume, I want to place emphasis on my year of study abroad in China and also the fact that I have a knowledge of various languages. To make this stand out, would you recommend I include an “International Experience and Language Capability” section on my resume, in addition to the ones you outlined on the sample CV? Thank you in advance.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Sure, or you can just highlight your experience at the bottom of your resume under Skills, Activities & Interests (We change the title of this line around a/c to candidates’ resumes)

  47. Hi Brian/Nicole,

    I have a quick question regarding work experience on the resume section, and would be grateful for your advice.

    I am doing a Master’s in Business and while I do not have internships in finance, I have spent the past year contacting companies and doing business research projects for them using research from my course that is relevant to finance and specifically tailored to those companies, which in some cases has been sponsored by such clients. On my resume, how would you recommend I list this? Under a heading of “Independent Consulting Projects” or something similar?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes you can list them under this heading

  48. lady zee


    I just wanted 2 know,what would happen if I put ‘none’ under work and leadership experience when applying for an internship.would that work negatively against me or is it fine?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes it will work negatively against you. I’d suggest you to leave it blank.

  49. lady zee

    I’m really grateful for your helpful Nicole.Thank you!

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