by Brian DeChesare Comments (165)

Copy This Experienced Investment Banker Resume Template to Break In As an Associate

copy_this_experienced_investment_banker_resume_templateI kept getting questions about this one, and I figured we should finish up that series of investment banking resume templates and video tutorials – so here it is.

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to craft your resume if you’re at the MBA level, if you’ve been working full-time, or if you’ve had extensive transaction experience.

Actually, it’s even easier than that: you don’t need to “craft” anything. You just need to copy these templates and modify them slightly.

Don’t you wish you found this site earlier?

Refresher – University Student Template

In case you missed it, here were the major points with the university student investment banking resume template:

  • 3 sections: Education; Work & Leadership Experience; and Skills, Activities & Interests
  • Focus on 2-4 key work/leadership experiences rather than taking a laundry list approach.
  • Use either a project-centric or task-centric format for each work experience entry.
  • Include a summary sentence for each entry, and make sure your other bullets include the specifics followed by the results.

These points apply to any investment banking resume, no matter what level you’re applying for – you just need to make a few tweaks.

The Templates, the Video, and the Tutorial

Here’s the overview video, which covers all 3 of the templates we’re looking at here:

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

And if you just want to read instead, here’s the same tutorial in textual form. We’ll go through each of these 3 templates and point out how they differ from the ones we looked at before.

MBA-Level Investment Banking Resume Template [Download]

Just like the university student template, Education is at the top.

This time, however, it’s greatly condensed – just list your business school and undergraduate name, degree titles, and graduation dates. You don’t need GPA/SAT scores unless the bank specifically asks for them.

Similarly, forget about activities / honors and other trivia and just give them the names and dates.

Work Experience

The Work Experience section should be very similar to the university student template.

The differences:

  • Avoid student activities / volunteer work unless that was your “full-time work experience” – e.g. you did Teach for America for 2 years.
  • Still pick 2-3 work experiences to focus on, but these should be full-time jobs rather than internships.
  • Focus on the most recent 5 years of work experience. If you have more than this maybe extend it to 10 but only do that if it’s relevant – e.g. you were a trader in a former life.

You still need to use a project-centric or task-centric format for each entry and focus on business results as much as possible.

But you should think about 2 additional points if you’re at the MBA-level:

When you enter at the Associate level, banks start grooming you to win clients and bring in revenue one day – so you need to convince them you’re more of a “leader” than an Analyst might.

Exceptions & Special Cases

If you’ve done some type of pre-MBA program related to finance – interning at a boutique, a PE firm, etc. – and the rest of your work experience is in a different field, you should definitely make this prominent, even if it only lasted a few months.

It’s not lying – it’s changing the focus. Spin 101.

If you’ve only had 1 full-time job before business school, just list your last major internship briefly, below the full-time entry, and write 1-2 bullets about it. A work experience section with only 1 large entry looks odd.

What Skills, Activities & Interests?

This section becomes increasingly irrelevant the more experienced you are. You can still include it at the MBA-level, but keep it short and feel free to drop it.

Full-Time Investment Banking Resume Template [Download]

This is almost exactly the same template as the MBA-level one – the only difference is that your Education section can be even shorter and it should be below Work Experience if you’re not currently a student.

Consider removing the last section as well.

Always pick 2-3 key work experience entries over past 5-10 years unless you’re a C-level executive with a 20+ year-long track record, or you have a lot of transaction experience – which leads us into the next section.

Experienced Investment Banker / Private Equity / Hedge Fund Financier

Experienced Investment Banker Resume Template [Download]

The Disclaimer – Read This First

Only use this template if you’re an experienced Associate, VP, or beyond that, and you have dozens of transactions to write about.

If you use this as a sophomore in college, it’s your fault. You will look stupid and not get any interviews.

What’s Different This Time?

This one is still similar to both the university student resume template and the investment banker resume template – with one key difference:

Rather than going into detail on all your clients and deals on the first page, you make a separate page or set of pages for your “Transaction Experience” and follow the same format there.

As with the templates above, Skills, Activities & Interests can be dropped and the Education section should be greatly condensed.

Each entry should consist of a summary sentence and 2-3 others that capture the main highlights from each experience – working with clients, management teams, bringing in business if you’re more senior, or doing analytical work for junior-level entries.

This person is showing more “leadership” at each level by writing about how he/she managed Analysts and Associates, and also highlighting more sourcing and business development at higher levels.

As you move up, investment banking becomes a pure Sales job, so your resume should reflect this.

It’s good to list “Notable Transactions” so that anyone can tell what he’s done at a glance without going to the second page.

Transaction Page

This should follow the chronological order and format of the first page.

The language here is not much different from the Analyst/Associate investment banker resume template – the person still discusses valuation/modeling work and his/her impact on the deal process.

But the focus is different at each level:

What About for Private Equity and Hedge Funds?

Not much is different – if you have an extensive transaction / investment list, you should still list it on a separate page.

Just flip around the language and write about “investments” and “potential investments” as opposed to “deals.”

For the first page, write about your efforts sourcing investment ideas rather than potential clients.

It can be near-impossible to come up with concrete “results” on the buy-side because of the time frame – it might take years for a firm to exit a particular investment.

So don’t feel pressured to always have tangible “results.”

What Next?

Use these templates – just make sure you’ve read the disclaimers first.

You don’t need to follow the exact format and language here – these are intended to give you ideas and guide you in the right direction.

As always, if you’re paranoid about having the same-looking resume as everyone else, just change the font, font size, or other formatting to make it look different.

Up Next

You should now know 95% of what you need to craft your resume copy these templates and use them for your own purposes, from the Analyst-level to VP-level and up.

I may cover examples of specific bullets / language you would use for different industries (marketing, accounting, wealth management, etc.) and do a few “resume makeovers” in coming months.

Any questions?

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.

FIND OUT MORE

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. Hi,

    I have currently been working for the past 2years for one of the major oil and gas companies and now looking to move into the finance world. I am looking at utilising my experiencing of the industry to provide some technical expertise to aid investment decisions. I am unsure where to start looking ? Would you recommend that i undertake an MBA to pursue this career path?

    1. You will most likely need a pre-MBA internship combined with an MBA to move in… or perhaps get lucky and find an equity research team or IB team that wants specialized industry expertise even if you don’t yet have an MBA:

      http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/oil-gas-investment-banking/
      http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-calgary/
      http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/mba-investment-banking-recruiting/
      http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/transaction-advisory-services-to-investment-banking-mba-level/

      Your best bet is to reach out to such teams and see if they want more of a finance background first.

  2. John Raftery

    Hi, I’m just wondering how should I include my intention to complete a MSc in Finance after my undergraduate degree on my CV?
    I want to make it as clear as possible however, graduate schools have not released their offers yet and as a result I am lacking the info required to make it stand out.
    As of now all I have is:
    “Upon completion of my undergraduate degree, I intend to complete an MSc in Finance in one of the EU’s leading universities”
    Many thanks for your help.

    1. Please see our response in the other article where you asked this same question (You shouldn’t list much of anything beyond your suggested sentence until you get admitted somewhere)

      1. Akshay mokashe

        Hi Brian,
        I have seen some of your videos and i have really enjoyed learning new things. I am currently in my final year of engineering from india and i wish to pursue a career in finance field. I have given few exams side by side and have undergone few courses in financial field. I would really like to seek your opinion on 2 things.
        1. How should I present my resume for a financial firm as i am a fresher and with have only the basic knowledge of the field.
        2. Does masters in finance require any prerequisites.

        Thank You.

  3. Hi Brian,

    I am currently a M&A analyst but we have not closed a single deal since i joined last year. The furthest in the M&A process was only to write an information memorandum. I have also did market research, company profiling, 2 pitchbooks, teasers, 1-2 models and several comps.

    I would like to seek your opinion on how I should write my experience in my role as it seems sketchy.

    Thanks,
    YM

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d just say something around the lines of “Conducted market research, drafted pitch books, prepared information memorandum, and built financial analyses such as [DCF, public comp]” I would not worry about not closing a single deal as long as you can talk about what you’ve done.

  4. Banker Sophomore

    Brian, Nicole, Team,

    First and foremost – thanks for your help in the past. Your prep materials had helped me land an EMEA IB internship with a bulge bracket bank in 2012 which I converted to a full time starting in 2014. Prior to IB, I did my MBA from a tier I European school.

    After a year and a half, I am planning to pursue opportunities in buy-side (mid-cap PEs) driven by 1. ability to be able to work on more transactions (than pitches) and 2. improved work-life balance. My banking experience has been largely dominated by pitches so far and as I begin working on my resume to start applying, I would like to check,
    1. How can I meaningfully present my pitching experience to an employer (if possible without boring them to death)
    2. Can I provide references to transactions I am presently working on, which are not public, on a no-name basis
    3. Is there a preference with employers between M&A and IPOs? My transaction experience (incl. ongoing) so far is only with IPOs

    Another reason for moving to buy-side is that I also eventually hope to move on from a purely financial role to an operational role where I can help improve performance of portfolio companies. In your vast experience, is this something you have seen happening often? What impediments do you think I would face in achieving this objective.

    Many thanks in advance,
    BS

    1. Thanks, glad to hear it.

      1. Maybe position each pitch as a “pending deal” and describe the transaction rationale but act like the deal started and then never went anywhere. That sounds a bit better than just admitting they were pure pitches.

      2. Yes, just describe the industry and give a rough revenue or market cap for each company.

      3. For PE, M&A is definitely preferred. But if you have only IPOs, you’ll probably have to use at least 1-2 IPOs. But see if you can include M&A pitches and position them as “pending deals” as well.

      Sometimes people move into operational roles, but companies will be skeptical if you’ve never had operating experience before, and they might not be sure what level to bring you in at… so you should try to get *some* type of operational experience, even if it’s informal/consulting-type work or advising a friend’s company or something, before you move.

  5. Alvin Wong

    Hi there!

    Thanks for the insights and experience sharing. I am from Hong Kong and currently a dealer of both local securities and global futures. I have just over 8 years of experience in local securities and just around 6 months for global futures. Also I have over 10 years of trading my own stocks. My education background include a Master in Accountancy and MBA and studying for the CPA as well. My current job have some exposure in writing research reports (mainly daily market reviews) using Bloomberg and other channels. I am very much interested to become Equity Research Analyst. Your insights gives me some hints and it would be great if you can provide some more specific hits for my specific situation.

    Thanks a lot and keep in touch =)

    Alvin (BigAl)

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps you can work in research for a boutique bank in HK? I think you have decent experience to reach out to people in the industry and see what opportunities are out there. There should be quite a few as certain banks maybe looking to build their HK/China research divisions, but I am not 100% sure

  6. Thanks a lot for the template! I’m currently working in Audit (Big 4) in the UK and applying for Corporate Finance/Transaction Services jobs. Two questions:

    – Is there a way to make audit work Project-centric? Before Big 4 I used to work as a Business Analyst and it’s quite easy to quantify what I did. I’m struggling with audit though beyond standard ‘carrying out audit from planning to completion’. Also, should I include something on the clients I’ve audited? I’m in asset Management, so I’ve worked on BlackRock, UBS etc but I’m not sure if I can mention them by name?

    – where should I include accountancy qualification/CFA as a lot of CF job specifications mention it ( at least in the UK)

    Thanks a lot!

    1. 1) Yes, you can just write about specific clients you worked with. But you’d have to pick more unusual engagements or ones where something out of the ordinary happened or they would ll look too similar. Yes, definitely mention clients you’ve audited and leave out the names if you write something sensitive about them.

      2) If you have enough experience to list CFA after your name, list it at the top; otherwise include it in your section at the bottom on Skills and Interests.

      1. Thanks a lot for your help Brian!

        One more thing i just thought about – I was involved in the audit planning on a small client in my first year – this is something normally reserved for 2nd year and above but I’m guessing someone who’s never been involved in audit won’t know what the big deal is. Should I add short explanation? Perhaps in the brackets? e.g

        – involved in the audit planning on XX engagement (normally reserved for 2nd year associates)

        Thanks again,

        Adam

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes this can potentially help. I don’t think its necessary, but if you want to leave it on there it maybe useful

  7. Hello, looking to break into IB from the S&T side (specifically FX sales). I can spin specific client examples into “deals,” but is it okay to actually mention the client’s name? Or do I just mention “Fortune 500 Company” then explain what I did? Thanks!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      If it is not confidential yes you can include the client’s name.

  8. Brendan McManus

    Thanks for the article, very helpful indeed!

    I’m looking to break into IB from a China angle.

    British 22 year old, Business undergrad first class degree, no solid finance we, currently studying a masters in International Business in China (studying in Mandarin medium- conversationally fluent in Chinese Mandarin).

    Any thoughts on how I could play my ‘China card’ to land a IB job?

    Thanks

    1. Are you looking to work in China, or somewhere else but leverage your experience there? If you want to work in mainland China, it will be very tough but this article may help:

      http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/private-equity-china-foreigner-recruiting/

      If you’re looking to work somewhere else such as HK, your knowledge of the language could be helpful but to be honest they’ll almost always prefer local candidates. So the best way to use that background is probably to return home and use it to sell yourself as “more interesting” and someone who can work with Chinese / other Asian investors interested in acquiring companies and assets in Europe.

  9. Thanks for sharing valuable tips.

    As a recent MBA graduate, I would like to know if it is advisable to include MBA finance & consulting projects in the resume because of the following reasons:

    1. I do not have finance related pre-MBA internship
    2. My professional experience is related to trade and investment development, with some degree of due diligence involved.
    3. Since I have been working for a single company thus far, I do like to add variety and various experience to demonstrate the breadth of my skills and experience, in order to break into IB/PE or mgmt. consulting

    I would greatly appreciate your input and feedback.

    Thanks!

    KSM

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes I’d include such projects.

  10. Hi, I am working as assistant controller for a Private Equity firm and interested in switching to deal side. I have no investment banking experience and my employer only hires experienced associates. Any suggestion how to convince my current employer to change my role or apply for positions at other PE or Transaction Advisory firms?

  11. Johnson

    *Favorite topic alert*

    I saw the FAQ regarding (gulp) GPA rounding, but wanted someone to weigh in on more specific situation – have 1 more semester left, and given classes, GPA should easily be 3.5 (3.45+ then rounded) upon graduation. However, recruiting is before semester will end, and current GPA is 3.401. Would it be unethical/wrong/too risky to write GPA as 3.5?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Tough one. If you’re certain you’ll get a 3.5 I’d write Expected GPA: 3.5 For the application, you can still fill in 3.5 but it can be risky if they ask you for documentations at this stage. However I wouldn’t worry too much about it for now. A 3.5 may prevent you from getting dinged, though there’s a slight risk.

      1. Johnson

        Thanks, Nicole. Wanted to update – just double-checked, and GPA is actually 3.41. A little closer to the 3.45 I need, may make it more acceptable to round. In my experience, few places ask for transcript to verify. Looking at only the banks that don’t request transcripts, they won’t verify GPA during background checks?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          That depends. I can’t say. 0.1 isn’t a big difference so I wouldn’t worry too much about it, though there’s a risk this may come up.

  12. Hi, With a BSc in computer science and a masters degree in IT with innovation and Management Studies, coupled with 3 years work experience in retail, IT and charity industry. How do u suggest i break into the technology section of an investment bank.

    Also which particular CV type and Cover letter format do you advise I use because i noticed none of the ones you posted has an executive summary.

    thank u.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d apply online and email hiring managers of technology divisions at banks.

      You can still use our template format for technology roles. We don’t recommend clients using executive summaries on their resumes to preserve space (unless you have 10 years+ of experience); your work experience should give people a snapshot of your past, without needing to insert a summary section. In most cases you can use your cover letter to give them a snapshot of your skills.

  13. Hi I am a recently graduated (September 2012) in mechanical engineering and I have started working immediately after graduating in an engineering consulting firm. I work as a technical advisor on Project Finance transactions. Although many of my clients are investment banks, I don’t have the actual experience they look for (financial modelling, etc.). I have been applying to tier 1 IB for a year now, and never got an interview! On the other hand, when I apply to engineering companies (blue chip) I often get an interview. Therefore my skill set must not be that bad. Do you have any advice for me? I am trying very hard to get a position in IB (M&A, ECM or Project/Acquisition Finance), sending applications practically every day.
    I am considering doing an MSc in Finance or an MBA (the latter will have to be at least next year due to the 3+ yrs experience requirement), but would these qualifications secure me a position in IB? Will I be too old? Have I missed the boat? I regret not have applied to internships when at Uni.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps your experience is more “palatable” to engineering roles. You may have to gain relevant finance experience to rebrand yourself. An MBA or MSc in Finance can help you retool yourself and open you more doors, though I wouldn’t say it can secure you a position in IB. Since you’re a recent graduate, no you aren’t too old

      1. Good news Nicole, I have an interview with Rothschild!

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Congratulations and good luck!

  14. I have probably read over 20 articles on this site and honestly, I really appreciate the efforts but sometimes get confused with conflicting opinions I read. My questions:

    1. Can someone get into IB/PF/HF without any, ZERO, financial modeling experience? I am more than willing to learn the skill but need some guidance on what to read or maybe look into a good book. Till then I am curious to know if I can break into this space.

    BACKGROUND: An IT Business Systems Analyst who has done a lot of management and technology consulting for Banks and Software firms. I currently make $90k base + benefits.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      1. I think you maybe able to land an internship at a 2nd/3rd tier IB/PE/HF without finance experience with lots of hard work and the right positioning. However, getting a job at an IB/PE/HF, especially as a credible firm, can be more challenging because you’ll be competing against many candidates who have had solid experience (yes financial modeling experience too) in this area. What you can do is to network a lot, and hone your modeling skills.

      You may want to check out:
      http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/networking-investment-banking-jobs/
      http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/networking-into-investment-banking-marathon-not-sprint/
      http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/network-investment-banking-5-simple-steps/
      https://breakingintowallstreet.com/ – if you want to hone your modeling skills

  15. Hi, have been in trading for 3 years and im a degree holder from e&e engineering.would you please advise on how to break into ib? Currently have cleared cfa level 1 as well. Thanks

  16. Aiswarya

    Hi,

    I am an Engineering Graduate currently working in IT industry. Am very much interested in a career in Invest Banking but i don’t have any relevent experience. How can i work for this? or is it mandatory to have MBA for such a career?

  17. Thanks for this – very useful! Quick question: at what point is it OK for your CV to spill over 1 page?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      When you have > 8 years of experience. It will still be good to have an abbreviated version of your version then too.

  18. BanditPandit

    Hi Brian,

    I’m working at a bulge bracket through a temp agency and want to update my resume. On my resume, I would rather list the BB as my employer even though technically I’m employed by the temp agency. Do you think this is something I could get away with?

    Thx

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Are you working for the bulge bracket then? What are you doing for them?

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