by Brian DeChesare Comments (136)

Private Equity Resumes

NOTE: While this article is still relevant and has great information, if you’re interested in private equity resumes you should review the following template and video tutorial to see exactly how to write one:

“I really enjoy it,” he says, folding his arms and lying back in his chair with a contented grin. “I’m in [private equity] because I like to be excellent and to win.”

Steve Schwarzman, Fortune Magazine Interview

If you want to be like Steve here and become King Of Wall Street, your first step will be tailoring your resume to get those private equity interviews and break into the industry.

Sure, you did a great job with your investment banking resume. You got into a top group on Wall Street, or even if you didn’t, you at least managed to land a job at a boutique investment bank.

But if you want to be King, you have to think about your resume once again.

And with private equity recruiting season having just started, I figured a discussion of private equity resumes would be a good way to start the week.

In many ways tailoring your resume for buyside jobs is similar to crafting the perfect investment banking resume.

But it’s different in one critical aspect: you have to focus entirely on your investment banking experience rather than trying to be inclusive of everything else you’ve done.

Sure, for MBA admissions or jobs outside finance, show the whole picture. But for private equity jobs, your investment banking and deal experience are all that matter.

Private Equity Resume Structure

About half your resume should be comprised of your current investment banking job. Minimize your pre-banking experience. Yes, they will cover this during interviews, but the purpose of a resume is to get your foot in the door.

Education should be at the bottom of your resume now (unlike with investment banking analyst resumes), and the top of your resume should start with your contact information and then immediately jump into your Work Experience, starting with your investment banking job.

Writing About Your Investment Banking Job

Start this section with one or two brief sentences about your overall responsibilities and the types of deals you’ve worked on thus far. You could also include information on any special projects that were not deal-related but nevertheless contributed to the firm in some way.

There should be three key pieces of information you relay in this introductory sentence:

  1. Number of deals worked on
  2. Types of deals worked on – M&A (sellside and buyside), IPOs, Follow-Ons, Convertibles, Debt
  3. Skills gained – LBO modeling, accretion/dilution modeling, DCF skills, valuation

Once you’ve picked this as your summary, you need to decide on deals to write about and then go into detail on your transaction experience – this is the heart of your private equity resume.

Choosing Your Deals

A VP-level banker once told me that “it would be difficult to get a private equity job without closed deals on your resume.”

Nothing could be farther from the truth. When private equity firms recruit in between the middle of your first year and beginning of your second year, they don’t expect that everyone will have closed deals by then. Some analysts never even close deals at all!

When picking deals to write about, what you personally contributed to the deal is more important than the size or “prestige” of the deal. Yes, it’s nice to have $50 billion M&A deals under your name, but if all you did was a simple valuation or basic research for the other team members, don’t make it a focal point of your resume.

Always lean toward picking the deals where you learned the most and were the most unusual vs. choosing larger deals that were pretty standard and didn’t give you much unique experience.

For private equity jobs, also try to write about M&A deals rather than capital markets transactions – what you do on a daily basis is much closer to M&A than anything else. Debt might be ok to write about as well, but avoid IPOs and Fairness Opinions (FOs) if at all possible.

Writing About Your Deals

Let’s start with how you should not write about a deal:

How NOT To Write About A Deal

  • $5B Sale Of Company Y To Company X
    • Drafted Offering Memorandum and Management Presentation and tracked status of deal with potential buyers
    • Managed due diligence process between Company Y and different buyers and responded to all inquiries

The two items listed here would be expected of any investment banking analyst working on a sellside M&A deal. That’s what you as an Investment Banking Analyst do – you write the sales documents, maintain buyer logs, and send documents to interested parties.

There’s nothing here that makes me think, “This deal looks like a great experience!” And it commits the cardinal sin of not being results-oriented and specific.

The Right Way To Write About A Deal

You need to focus on what was unique about the deal. Did you influence the negotiation process somehow? Did an analysis you created result in a lower/higher price or get new buyers interested? Did you analyze the market in a way that led to more interest or a better price?

If you can’t think of anything unique to write about, pick a different deal. Sometimes it just isn’t possible, and there are many generic deals that are not good material to talk or write about.

Here’s how I would re-write the example above:

  • $5B Sale Of Company Y To Company X
    • Worked directly with CFO to build complex operating model of company involving 40 different properties across multiple states
    • Created market analysis showing favorable trends in casino construction despite subprime-related problems; led to 2 private equity buyers remaining in the auction process until the final round

It is still the same length as the previous attempt, but this one is about 500 times better. It shows what you did that was specific to the deal, and what the results of your work were. And it skips the generic points that are part of any sell-side M&A process.

Writing About Unannounced Or Dead Deals

This is fine. Just don’t mention any names or anything that could be tied directly to the specific deal. You’ll more than likely have to do this anyway when applying for private equity jobs.

Sometimes this can be tricky if it’s a very large or well-known deal that everyone has speculated on but has not been announced yet (e.g. Yahoo / Microsoft before the bid became official). In these cases, avoid mentioning specific numbers or dollar amounts and instead use percentages to make sure you’re not disclosing anything confidential.

Parting Thoughts

Successfully tailoring your resume for private equity jobs is similar to creating a successful investment banking resume. Be specific, quantify, and focus on results. Focus on deals, whether announced or unannounced, and what you contributed that was unique to each deal.

And for even more details and the actual Word document template, see the article and video tutorial below:

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. Hey, quick question. Why should we avoid equity deals like IPOs? Thanks in advance for your time.

    1. Because recruiters want to see modeling experience for PE recruiting, and IPO deals involve little modeling.

  2. Should you put your most recent internship as the secondary work experience even if that internship was with the same company that you currently work at full time?

    1. You should probably combine the internship and your full-time work experience in that case.

  3. Patrick Bateman


    In terms of the content of the PE CV, you say that IB work experience should be at the top and take up 50% of the page, education at the bottom. Does this mean that Positions of responsibility and Interests, Skills and Hobbies should go before education? Or are these sections even appropriate for the PE CV?

    Many thanks,

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes IB experience should be at the top if you’ve already graduated, and should take over 50% of resume. I’d put education in middle assuming you’ve already graduated, and the rest below education.

  4. Hi Bryan, I’ve interned at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse previously, but only in Private Wealth Management where I did mostly research on equities. Would you say I stand a chance at getting a PE position in Blackstone? Do you have any sort of advice to share on how I could possibly tailor my experiences to suit that of a PE candidate? Many thanks.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Having experience in IB (at a BB) would help you most if you want a role in Blackstone. If you’ve had any deal/valuation experience you should emphasise that. PWM + Sales aren’t exactly useful to junior PE roles unless you’re talking about fundraising roles.

  5. Hi Brian,

    could you tell us a little more about how to have a seemly professional email?

    I think that is important, but still unclearly.

    e.g. is that good to use, especially for us come from non-English speaking country. My English name is John, and my passport name is Yun SONG. I am not sure which combination is professional one.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes, your format is fine. I’d probably use something like

      1. thanks Nicole :)

      2. Would having an English alias make a difference in applications?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          50/50. I’d say it can make a difference depending on the rest of your application. I’d have one though, to show that you’re international.

  6. Hi I interned at a pe firm, where I wrote precedent transactions, trading comps, fact sheets for the companies our pe firm already own. It was more like an update and maintenance of financial documents. How do i put this on my resume?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d just say something along the lines of “Maintained and updated precedent transactions, trading comps, fact sheets for portfolio companies”

  7. Hi,

    I am curious as to how many transactions should be listed on your P/E resume.

  8. This is great

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Thank you!

  9. Hi,

    I’ve been working in a top tier investment bank in London as an analyst in FIG. I am currently a year 3 analyst (up for associate promotion in a few months) and am yet to work on any deals. I have worked on one failed deal and my responsibilities were very minimal and that of a year one analyst (no modelling or in depth analysis)

    What advice can you give me with regards to moving into PE and what I can actually put on my CV? Is this a feasible option or should I apply to another investment bank and take a lower position?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think its a safer bet to gain more experience in IB first before moving to PE. Your deal experience may not be sufficient for some PE interviews. If you could stay at your current bank and transfer to a different group and gain more experience this maybe a better option, versus taking a lower position at another bank.

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