Investment Banking Resume Template for University Students Who Want to Land a Banking Job

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investment_banking_resumeI get a lot of questions on how to structure your resume, how to write about your experience, what to focus on, and how much to write.

Rather than writing a giant Q&A on all these topics, I’m going to give you a resume/CV template that you can just copy and modify for your own experiences.

But I’ll Have the Same Resume as Everyone Else!

No, because only 0.1% of those who see this template will actually download it and use it. Don’t overestimate the competition.

And even though this site is well-known, only a tiny fraction of those interested in investment banking have visited it.

If you are worried, just modify the formatting and use different fonts, spacing, or margins.

Now let’s get on with the template and video:

Investment Banking Resume Templates [Download]

Note: You should always submit your resume in PDF format unless they tell you otherwise.

Here’s the tutorial video:

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

And if you don’t like to watch or can’t watch, here it is in text:

Overall

Notice how this is very compactinvestment bankers only spend 30 seconds reading your resume, so you want to hit on the key points rather than overloading them with irrelevant information.

Avoid 0.25″ margins and size 8 font unless you absolutely can’t fit everything – try to use 0.5″ margins at a minimum and preferably at least 0.75″ (like you see here).

Decreasing the font size is better than decreasing the margins if you need to fit more information on the page – but again, you should make sure everything you include is both necessary and useful.

We have 4 main sections: the Header, Education, Work & Leadership Experience and Skills, Activities & Interests.

All the entries are right-aligned for the dates and locations – to do that, you go into “Styles” in Word and create a New Style with right-aligned tabs (just watch the video to see how to do this, it’s really hard to explain in text).

1 Page Only, Please (With Some Exceptions…)

Before anyone mentions it – yes, I know Australia is an exception to this rule and resumes there often go on for 2-3 pages even for entry-level positions.

For the rest of the world, however, it’s a much safer bet to stick to 1 page unless you are applying to Managing Director-level positions (and if you’re reading this website, that is probably not you, though I’m sure some MDs do read).

Header

Center the header, make sure your name is in bigger font than the rest (so they remember who you are), and write your address, phone number and email address right below that.

There’s not much more to it than that – keep it short, don’t include stars or symbols, and please, keep photos of your pet rabbit off your resume (I’ve seen all of the above before…).

There are some regions where it’s acceptable to include your own photo here, so go ahead and do that if it’s common practice.

Note: Never include your picture on your resume in the US, even if one of your “interests” is “professional modeling.”

Education Section

If you’re still in university, this should always be at the top – I can’t think of a good reason why it would be anywhere else.

The key points: where you go to school, what your major is, graduation date, and GPA/SAT score. Honors, Relevant Coursework, and Research are actually all optional, but they’re good to include if you have something business/finance-related to write about.

You absolutely need to include your GPA, even if it’s “bad” (below 3.5) – otherwise they will think it’s “really bad” (below 2.0). SAT scores are more optional, but I would leave them in if they’re over 1400 in the old system or over 2100 in the new system.

If you’re outside the US, you would write your grades in your own system here – in the UK, for example, you might write “Earned 2.1 cumulative average.” Class rank is also fine if you don’t receive official “grades.”

If your GPA is poor then you can “hide” it by also listing:

  • Major GPA
  • 2nd/3rd Year GPA (this is more of a stretch and only works if you can show a strong improvement trend)

You can also list study abroad or summer program experiences here – these should be included as separate education entries if you have the space.

Don’t include high school unless you just got to college and have no real experience yet – or unless you went to a top school with a lot of alumni in finance (Andover / Exeter in the US).

Don’t include clubs, activities, or certifications here – those should be in one of the 2 sections below this instead.

Work & Leadership Experience – The Rule of 3?

You should aim for between 2 and 4 major work experience entries. Don’t make a laundry list of all 27 different clubs you’ve been in, because there’s no way you had major accomplishments for all of them.

Think about what a banker reading your resume would want to know – here are a few examples:

  • You had an internship at an asset management firm and then at a hedge fund – and you also started your own business fraternity. Each of these should be an entry, and you should devote most of your space to the internships.
  • You worked at a boutique bank over the summer, and have spent 20 hours/week on a Varsity sport at school – these should be your major entries (yes, sports are fine to list under “Work & Leadership Experience” but in this case you definitely want to focus on the boutique bank).
  • You were in 4 clubs at school and also had an internship at Goldman Sachs (in any group). DO NOT write about each of these as if they were equal – Goldman Sachs is exponentially more important than your clubs, so spend half your resume on GS, pick the 2 activities where you contributed most, and write a few lines about each of them.

Together or Separate?

You’ll notice I grouped “Work Experience” WITH “Leadership Experience” here – that’s because you probably have a few internships and also a few activities you spend a lot of time on. Grouping these together under one heading saves space and makes your activities seem more like “work experience.”

But let’s say you had 4 investment banking internships (summer and part-time) – in that case, I would probably just call this section “Work Experience” and focus on the 3 most recent ones.

If you’ve had absolutely no real internships or other work experience, you should still call this section “Work & Leadership Experience” to give the impression you did.

Structure of Each Entry

There’s this idea floating around that you should have 3 work experience entries, and then 3 bullets within each one of them – in principle this sounds reasonable, but in practice it can be difficult to include exactly 3 bullets for each entry.

The better way to approach this: decide on a Project-Centric or Task-Centric structure for each entry, and then write everything based around one of those.

In both cases, you start out with a Summary Sentence stating what you did and the major results of your work (if you know them).

For an investment banking internship, the Summary Sentence might be “Worked on 3 live deals and created valuations using public company comparables, precedent transactions, and DCF analysis; worked with clients to develop management presentations and Executive Summaries.”

For a marketing internship, the Summary Sentence might be “Worked with 2 major clients in media & entertainment industries and developed advertising campaigns to promote new seasons of top-rated network TV shows.”

Project-Centric

The Project-Centric structure starts off with the Summary Sentence and then goes into “Selected Project Experience” (or “Selected Client Experience” or “Selected Transaction Experience” or “Selected Investment Experience”).

Use the Project-Centric structure for:

  • Investment banking/private equity/hedge fund experience
  • Consulting (any kind)
  • Anything else involving specific clients or companies – equity research, wealth management, law, accounting, etc.

Pick the 2 or 3 best projects (for internships, these will likely be the ones you did the most work on) and then give a single bullet or two describing what you did for each one (more on that below).

Listing just 1 project or client looks weird – but don’t list 8 different projects either, as you want to focus on the most relevant ones.

If you’re listing these for an investment banking internship, you should use titles such as:

  • Pharmaceutical Company’s Potential $150 Million Acquisition of Biomedical Devices Company
  • Technology Company’s $250 Million Initial Public Offering

For anything on the buy-side (PE, HF, VC), you might use:

  • Potential $1 Billion Investment in Manufacturing Company

And for experience outside finance, you would use similarly descriptive titles and avoid naming specific companies unless whatever you worked on was announced to the public.

Task-Centric

The Task-Centric structure is not that much different – we still have a Summary Sentence at the beginning, but we separate the work by tasks and responsibilities rather than by specific projects or clients.

This format is best for part-time jobs (you worked as a sales rep at Radio Shack one summer – not your “part-time job” at Lazard), activities, and anything else outside finance – like research or engineering.

If you can re-position what you did to make it sound like specific projects then you should definitely do so – but if it’s a stretch, don’t bother.

Kevin said this doesn’t work as well for management consulting, but it definitely helps with finance because bankers look at it quickly and say, “Aha! It looks like they worked on deals!”

Ready, Fire, Aim: How to Properly Structure Your Bullets

Each bullet you write on your resume needs to do 2 things:

  1. Say, specifically, what you did. Numbers are good, as is the proper lingo. “Valued client using DCF, liquidation analysis, and public company comparables” is better than “Valued companies.”
  2. Give the results of what you did – and yes, I know that you don’t always have them. Numbers are good, but even something qualitative like “Resulted in private equity firm proceeding with additional due diligence” is better than nothing.

The order here doesn’t matter that much, so go with whatever sounds more natural – if you give the specifics first you should use a semicolon to separate it from the results.

If you go with the results first, you should use “by” to separate each part, as in “Supported senior bankers’ effort to negotiate 5% lower price for client by creating merger model to analyze best-case, average, and worst-case scenarios.”

If you have an extremely lengthy description, then it’s fine to include the specifics all on one line and then make a separate line for the results.

Skills, Activities & Interests

Surprisingly, this is the one section where you see the greatest number of mistakes and outright silly writing. Let’s start with the list of common mistakes:

  • Leaving it out entirely (only do this if you’re much older).
  • Going on for too long (10+ lines).
  • Failing to list useful/interesting Skills, like Language abilities, and instead listing every single club you were in since age 5.
  • “Fluent in English” – Except your resume is already in English, so I’d be really concerned if you didn’t know the language…
  • “Proficient in Microsoft Office/Excel” – This might have been impressive in 1992. Not so much today.

Keep this section simple and list any language proficiencies first, followed by technical skills (real ones, like programming languages), and then you can list your financial modeling/CFA courses next, followed by a line or two on more minor Activities, and then your Interests at the end.

This is a more subtle point, but when you’re picking your Interests try to list interesting Interests. Don’t just write “Running” – write that you “Competed in marathons in 13 countries across Europe and North America.”

Even though this isn’t “work experience,” the same strategies hold true – be specific, focus on what’s memorable, and try to go in-depth with only a few areas rather than giving a laundry list with minimal details.

See Also

If you’re not a university student, don’t despair: just look these other resume templates and tutorials:

Objections

“But wait,” you say, “this resume is too [boring / narrow / insert other negative adjective here].”

That’s nice, but the purpose of a resume is not to show off your artistic skills or creativity.

It’s to win the attention of time-strapped bankers and land interviews.

Yes, the design above may not be “stylish” but it’s effective and makes it very easy for bankers to quickly assess you.

As mentioned above, there are regions such as Australia where resumes / CVs are more personal and go on for several pages.

I don’t want to get in a debate about cultural differences – it is what it is, and the template above works great for the US, Europe, Asia, and most other regions outside of Australia.

Still Need More Help?

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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.

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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632 Comments to “Investment Banking Resume Template for University Students Who Want to Land a Banking Job”

Comments

  1. Patrick says

    Brain,
    Quick Question. I worked as an Analysts in a Capital Markets group at a large mortgage originator this summer. While there I go the chance to work with their in house M&A group and worked on a simulation model they give to all their new hires. I built out the entire model based on the assumptions they wrote out and came up with an appropriate valuation of the target company.

    Can I list this on my resume as experience I gained during the internship, or will it be frowned upon since it wasn’t a “live deal”?

    Thanks,
    Patrick

  2. Saad says

    <>
    Does this mean that a CV should not be stylish ? For after all a “stylish CV” can be even easier to read then what you’ve shown us.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      “Stylish” is a subjective term. And I think people would be interested in a simple and easy-to-read layout with robust content – this is what our template offers

  3. Smore LMon says

    Hi everyone, I’m currently a junior in a semi-target college looking for a ibd internship. I’m doing a double degree (B.S. Business administration; B.A. Computer Science) with a music minor and I got a problem when I try to list them on my resume:

    I try to fit them into one line with sth like
    Dual Degree: B.S. Business administration; B.A. Computer Science, Minor: Music with Expected 2015 right aligned.

    But it seems to be toooo crowded in a line.

    I’m wondering if there’s any better way to list this?

    Also, ppl always find it strange that I receive a B.A. in CS and a B.S. in Business — that’s just because CS is a degree from liberal arts college.

    ALSO, I managed to receive a cumulative GPA of 3.91 for both majors.
    Should I just list cumulative GPA: 3.91? Will the recruiters KNOW that this is a cumulative GPA for both business major and cs major? Do I even need to bother listing my major GPA, which, btw are all almost 4.0.

  4. Anas says

    Hello ,

    Thanks for sharing the template with us. In case we do not have any work experience, can we make a skills based resume? Are banks skeptical about the skills based resumes?

    Thanks

    • M&I - Nicole says

      If you don’t have any work experience, you may want to list your education and club experience. Listing your skills may potentially help in your case though I’d try your best to gain as much experience in clubs as possible

  5. Gary says

    Hi,

    Should I include my BB BO experience on my resume
    for S&T and IBD?

    I’ll be working this winter although just for a month in IBD division unpaid though- how much do you think this will help me in terms of experience coming from no background?

    Should I emphasize this just 4 wk experience much more than my previous internships that are big brand names but one is oil&gas(28wks) and the other is a BO in BB(10wk)

  6. J.T says

    Hi Brian,

    I’m from the UK looking for a banking/equity research internship. You said leave your CV to 1 page for the BB banks what about the smaller boutique banks/equity research firms could you make it 2 pages? due to the fact that theoretically they will have more time to view your CV.

    Thanks

  7. Joshua says

    What are some ways a FIRST-YEAR university student can prepare, accumulate relevant experience, and reach an internship with an investment bank?

    Furthermore, How might a first-year student learn the skills necessary to work in boutique or smaller I-Banks that require recruits to have the necessary skills without training?

    Thanks in advance,
    Joshua

    • M&I - Nicole says

      It is challenging for most first year students. It is best if you have some sort of personal connection through family and friends. Bank won’t expect you to have the skills though taking courses http://breakingintowallstreet.com/biws/ will help. If you sign up on our email list, you will receive free tutorials on our courses.

  8. Mike says

    I’m not going into investment banking, but I am an accounting major. I like the format of this resume, and the cover letter as well. Is there anything specific I need to change besides just talking about accounting?

  9. Joey says

    Hi Brian, I must say I am greatly enjoying your articles – tons of good advice here. I’m also a customer of your online financial modelling program. Anyway, I’d much appreciate if you could share some insight with me. I work as a financial advisor in the retail banking at a Canadian bank and my job duties range from recommending day-to-day accounts to selling credit cards and mortgages and setting up a savings/retirement plan for clients to recommending mutual funds. Have you had, by any chance , ever heard from anyone who made a career change from working in retail banking to investment banking? How they did it and what was their value proposition?

    Thanks!

    Joey

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Joey, thanks for your comment. I haven’t heard of anyone who transitioned from retail banking to IB on my end. This doesn’t mean that you can transition from retail banking to IB, but I think this may require a bit of planning given the difference in skills required for the two. I think most who are interested in transitioning to IB after retail banking go through a target MBA/masters program, though readers may have other thoughts.

  10. Joey says

    Hi Brian,

    Can I use this template for university students if I’ve only graduated about a year ago and worked full-time for about a year in the retail banking division at a bank?

    Thanks

    Joey

  11. bstudentt says

    is that bocconi a top ten univ in europe for i bank…how is seen? could Simeone make me a top ten ranking among university in europeo? thank u :D

    • says

      Yes, it is, but in Europe generally the UK-based schools give you the best chance of working in London, which is the biggest financial center there and therefore has the most opportunities. Places like Bocconi are better if you want to work in the country in question.

  12. Tom Barber says

    Hi Brian two questions,
    During my last semester a tragedy struck my family and this affected my marks, is there anyway to address this because this was well beneath my standard. Secondly I am currently on exchange at KFBS at UNC and a lot of these courses have been really helpful especially teaching me financial modeling and linear programming is there anyway I can accentuate this because courses that focus specifically on excel are non-existent in Australia

  13. Gopal Raj Kumar says

    what investment banks want is a person capable of writing new business and someone with provable connections. It is why dildoes like princes and princesses, ex cabinet ministers, prime ministers and presidents get jobs as investment bankers.

    If you are innovative you can become a centre of influence and demonstrate to your prospective employer your ability to become a catchment area for them.

    University pedigree is often also a plus but not always. Rich and influential people send their children to the top 10 universities. So too do the poor who have brilliant children if they are able to secure scholarships.

    Today it is about writing business. We do it with large pools of small ticket clients and pool their funds with their consent into a feeder. They bother us less and give us greater flexibility with their portfolios.

    If you are looking for that “lifestyle” then go groveling to the street. If you want quality references then hey ask.

  14. Syrym says

    Brian, Nicole, and the rest of M&I team,
    You guys are awesome !
    Thanks for providing such a fantastic support !
    Reading articles on this site, I found out more than searching other sites combined.
    Thanks one more time.

  15. Patric says

    I’m at the tail end of B-school (last class). And as a part of our program, we consult with a local business. This project is extremely extensive and comprises about 80-90% of the semester. We meet with the CEO and other executives for discovery interviews and correspond afterwards via email for additional information. We’re left to our own devices for the most part and only given direction by the professor. So, as you can see, it’s truly a project that “we” created. As a result, I have A LOT of information on it that I’d like to include in my resume, but I’m not exactly sure how to include it and where. Also, should I include the name of the company?

    Thanks again for all your help

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes you can. I’d focus on the tasks you’ve been involved with as well as the impact you’ve made. Around 4 bullet points should be enough

      • Patric says

        Great! Thanks. Also, I was looking at a few banks I intend to apply to. I noticed that I wasn’t sure if I should apply as an experienced hire (as I have about 4 years of full time professional work experience), or as a graduate associate. Which would give me a better shot at getting in while still getting the proper training? In addition, I noticed that a few of the positions didn’t formally say “investment banking associate”. They would say something to the effect of “debt allocation associate” or “capital markets associate”. Is this still all IB just in different divisions, or something else? Thanks again. Can’t express how helpful your site is.

  16. Julio says

    Hi Nicole,

    I noticed “Career objectives” was not included. What is your thoughts on this? Should I include, “Career obective – Investment banking”? And one other question. My cumulative GPA is 3.37 and my major (business) GPA is 3.71. Should I ‘hide’ my major GPA? Include both? Or else?

  17. AMS says

    Brian,

    Given your fondness for GPA-related questions, I figured you’d be the perfect person to shed some light on this issue I’m having (I get that there’s no “right” answer and it’s simply semantics, but I’d like to hear what people who’ve been in the industry think):

    My GPA isn’t terrible (3.4/3.5), but being at a target school with many of my peers much higher in GPA, it’s been a bit of an issue through the recruiting process. I’ve even had some even tell me “explain your GPA” before asking or saying anything else. I have a solid explanation for it — I worked 40+ hours per week my first 3 years (community college) and then 2 jobs/20 hours per week since I transferred — but I think all things considered, it’s still been a bit of an issue.

    I’m using your resume template, so my GPA is the first line under education. Do you think it would it be a fapaux to write something like “GPA: 3.4 / 4.0 while working X hours per week” instead of just “GPA: 3.4 / 4.0″?

    I hate to be “that” guy, but I would definitely appreciate some help on this and would like to hear what others think. Thanks!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes you can do that though they may still ask you that in interviews. I don’t think you can “get around it” – just make sure you’re able to give a solid answer why, demonstrate your knowledge and passion in finance (to compensate for your GPA) and present yourself well in interviews. Focus on other aspects that will make you look like a better candidate.

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