Private Equity Resumes and Buy-Side Resume Templates
We’re going to continue our series on investment banking resume templates and go through how you should write about investment banking experience in this article.
You can actually use a similar template for anything in finance, whether you worked on the sell-side or buy-side.
But you can’t use it for everything.
Who Should Use This (or a Similar) Template:
- Students who have had banking / finance internships (you will need to make some modifications, e.g. put Education at the top instead).
- Current Analysts and Associates.
- Anyone in other front-office finance roles who is now looking for something else within finance.
Who Should Not Use This Template:
- Anyone applying to business school – for that you want to present a more “balanced” picture of what you’ve done.
- Older, more experienced people – if you have worked on 20+ deals you will need a separate page for listing everything. This usually only happens at the VP-level and above.
- Anyone working outside finance or anyone interested in moving to something outside finance – the Peace Corps doesn’t care if you know what EBITDA means.
The Template, The Video, and the Tutorial
As before, here’s the template in Word and PDF format:
And here’s the overview video:
(For more free training and financial modeling videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.)
And here’s the same tutorial in text format:
What’s Different In This Version
Actually, a lot of this is the same as in our university student template: the area at the top with your name and contact information, the overall format of the resume, and format of each work experience entry (name and position left-aligned, location and dates right-aligned, summary sentence, etc.).
- The Order – Work Experience on top, Education below that and Skills/Activities/Interests below that. Note: If you were an intern and are still in school you should keep Education on top.
- The Focus – We are focusing much more heavily on your investment banking experience and have cut back on the rest.
- For buy-side recruiting, or even moving to another bank, this is all they care about 90% of the time.
- If you’ve had a banking internship, your full-time interview questions will be either technical or focused on your internship – or both.
Yes, you can include previous internships and jobs as well but you should make your banking experience take up most of your resume.
If you’re an intern returning to school, it’s fine to leave in previous internships but I would not devote as much space to them.
About the Banking Experience
You should give 1 or 2 summary sentences, and then go straight into your deal experience (or if you worked on the buy-side, “Investment Experience”).
The summary sentence should:
- Give the number and types of deals you’ve worked on.
- Say that you completed valuations, models, due diligence, research, and client presentations (or anything else – add and subtract from here as needed)
Research and qualitative items are OK to include but try to focus on clients / deals / technical work because those are what interviewers care about.
If you didn’t work on deals (if you were an intern) or didn’t do much substantial work, there are ways around it – which we’ll get into below.
Picking Deals / Clients to Write A <pbout
Once you have your summary sentence, you need to decide WHICH deals / clients / investments to write about.
If you were an intern, this is easy: take what you can get. Unless you were a miracle summer analyst and somehow worked on 10 transactions, you can usually point to a few major projects.
For those working in banking full-time, it’s more difficult to decide what to write about.
- Aim for between 2 and 4 deals total – just 1 looks strange, and more than 4 is excessive to get your points across. In THIS template there are more than 4 deals, but that’s because I wanted to give you examples of how to write about different deal types.
- Try to have a mix of “high-profile” or larger deals that catch recruiters’ attention (e.g. Microsoft / Yahoo) and deals where you contributed something more substantial (this one is more relevant for full-time bankers).
- M&A / Restructuring deals are better to write about than IPOs or other Equity-related deals. Debt Financings can be ok depending on what you did. Anything “unusual” like divestitures, distressed sales, etc. is also good to write about and talk about in interviews.
See Also: Private Equity Resumes for more on this topic.
It’s not the end of the world if you’ve mostly worked on IPOs. Despite rumors to the contrary, you can get into PE without having M&A or Leveraged Finance experience.
Whether or not a deal was officially announced doesn’t matter: just replace company names with industry descriptions (“Biopharmaceutical Company”) for unannounced transactions.
What to Do If You Don’t Have “Real” Deals
If you don’t have many “official” deals, you should turn whatever you did during the summer into “pending” or “potential” deals.
The more that happened, the better, but as long as you did something you can write about it as if it were a potential transaction.
Were you doing research on companies for a client or prospective client? Sounds like a “Potential” Buy-Side M&A deal to me.
Did the CEO approach you and ask your team to pitch for the business? Did you do a valuation and research potential buyers? That’s a “Potential” Sell-Side M&A deal, even if you didn’t do much more than the pitch book (if you’re paranoid, you can label this type of experience a “Pitch” instead).
You don’t need to list “deals” if it’s too much of a stretch – in that case, just go with a summary sentence and a few more descriptive bullets on what you did.
Writing About Deals
Within each entry, list the dollar/Euro/other currency amount – estimating if you don’t know for sure – and list the company that you were representing first.
“Media Company’s Acquisition of Software Company” would imply that you represented the Media Company on the buy-side.
Use “Potential” or “Pending” for deals that haven’t been announced or closed yet, and only give the names if it’s publicly known.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This advice assumes that you actually have some closed deals. If you have worked on several deals but nothing has closed yet, it’s best not to draw attention to that fact – so you should leave out this “Pending” or “Potential” language and act as if everything is “ongoing” (and be ready to outline the next steps in the process).
Aim for 1-2 bullets for each deal – if you can summarize it with 1 bullet, do that, but if you need more than that you could split up what you did into “qualitative” and “quantitative” parts and use a 2-bullet structure.
I’ve mentioned the “Specifics; Results” structure before and the same applies here – but you need to be careful about what you write:
- Focus on modeling or valuation work if possible in your “specifics” segment – due diligence or other qualitative work may be ok as long as you can make it sound good in an interview. Try to link anything qualitative to how it was used in the transaction.
In the template here, the banker is using the buyer list he created for the Restructuring deal as the “specifics” and then giving the “results” by writing that it was used in Chapter 11 proceedings to show that the price was fair.
(“Fair” may sound ridiculous to you if you haven’t worked in finance before, and it would take me about a page to explain the term here – but for now just keep in mind that the work he did was used in court proceedings, which makes it good to write about.)
- The level of detail for each deal depends on how much space you have and the rest of your resume. If this is your first and only full-time work experience, be as detailed as you can, but if you have lots of other solid entries then you don’t need to write a Wikipedia page about each entry.
In this template, the banker has gone into detail on some deals and hasn’t written much about others – which is fine.
- Be very careful about your “results” for each deal. If you write something like, “Negotiated 10% lower purchase price,” you’re going to get called on it in interviews because Analysts and Associate don’t “negotiate” anything (except for food prices at closing dinners, maybe…).
If your work impacted the deal, that’s fine – but be careful with your wording and make sure that you frame the results as you having “supported” the senior bankers.
Also, don’t feel pressured to include false “results” – if all you did was create a presentation, just write that rather than pretending you made $10 million for your firm.
What to Do If…
Here are answers to some other common questions:
You’ve Had Multiple Investment Banking Internships
You can still include the other internships, but cut back on how much you include, and keep the focus on your current or most recent one.
You Had Experience in Private Equity, at a Hedge Fund, or Something Else Outside Banking
Still include a summary sentence but write about “Selected Investment Experience” instead and list the investments / potential investments you worked on.
Focus on modeling, due diligence, and how your work impacted the deal process (if that’s what happened).
See the video for more detail and an example of how to do this.
You Can’t Fit Everything On One Page and You Don’t Live in Australia
Decrease the font size, cut out experience, or do whatever it takes to get it on 1 page. 2 pages is still not appropriate in most regions, unless you have dozens of deals and need separate page(s) for them.
You Didn’t Have Any “Real” Deals
The Rest of the Resume
Again, it’s fine to leave in other Work Experience but you shouldn’t focus on it quite as much – which is why this section has been reduced here.
Education should be shorter if you’re working full-time – no one cares that you were on the Dean’s List. GPA and standardized test scores are fine to keep in. If you’re still a student, you can keep this section more detailed.
Skills, Activities & Interests should also be shorter (it’s named differently here as well) because people care even less what activities you were in once you’ve been working for awhile.
Again, students can keep this section more detailed but don’t go overboard.
So that’s a quick overview of what’s in this template and how to use it – please do not just copy this blindly unless you want to get a lot of questions you can’t answer in interviews.
Use the basic format and style and adapt it to what you actually did.
Note: Also, I assume no liability in case this template does not, in fact, get you into KKR.
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10 Investment Banking Internship “Don’t”‘s: How Not To Screw Up
I’ve given some internship tips in the form of a summer intern success guide and an avid reader gave some tips from his firsthand experience, but it’s often easier to give advice on what not to do (as with fashion).
Without further ado, here are the top 10 summer intern gaffs I’ve observed, both at my office and from friends’ stories.
This list applies to both Summer Analysts and Summer Associates – your role is the same, except Associates will get a bit more responsibility.
1. Argue with me over something financial/modeling-related
I see this more with Summer Associates than with Summer Analysts. Look, I understand you learned a lot about finance and accounting in business school and know all sorts of concepts that I don’t.
I also understand that you have several years (or more) of work experience and know a thing or two about how to perform well in a corporate environment.
But if you haven’t done investment banking before, you don’t know how we do things and you probably don’t realize the difference between what you learned in school and how financial work is done in the real world (corners are often cut).
Last year a Summer Associate spent 30 minutes arguing with me over how to calculate foregone interest on cash in a merger model and I said, “Yes, your way is correct but it makes a difference of less than 0.01 and would take time to change, which is why we don’t do it.”
So don’t even think of starting a debate.
2. Call me late on a Friday or Saturday night with non-urgent questions
Not that I’m bitter or anything, but this one always happens to me, and usually interns are at fault. If I’m out on a Friday night, I don’t want to be bothered with questions on Excel shortcuts or anything else that can wait until the next day (or next week).
Sure, ask questions when I’m around, but don’t go out of your way to contact me at odd hours unless it’s truly urgent.
This also brings up another point: within the Analysts at a bank, you generally want to ask questions of 1st Years first before going to 2nd/3rd Years.
Especially if the 2nd/3rd Year in question is leaving shortly.
3. Dress better than me, especially on your first day
I’m not going to lie; I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to clothing, especially compared to some other bankers out there.
Although it’s actually pretty easy to dress better than me, you still don’t want to come in wearing a $5,000 suit and gold watch on your first day.
Every office has a different culture, but most places will think this is really odd… it’s much better to wear standard business casual attire that doesn’t raise eyebrows.
Save your good clothes for when you start full-time or get a promotion.
4. Be overly enthusiastic – it’s just creepy
Look, attitude is very important as a Summer Intern… you want to be eager to learn and help Analysts save time on projects.
But there’s such a thing as being too enthusiastic as well. It would be pretty weird if I gave you an assignment that required you to pull an all-nighter and you were happy about it.
Even if you are somehow happy to pull an all-nighter, it comes across as fake and people will assume you’re lying.
5. Fail to invite me out drinking or to social events
The best part of having summer interns is that some are actually cool to hang out with. My life as an Analyst is usually pretty mundane: Excel, PowerPoint, research, rinse, wash and repeat. Having summer interns provides a great break and a chance to get to know new people.
Usually firms spend a lot of money on summer recruiting events and such, so if there’s an event/party/outing and you don’t let me know about it, I’m going to be annoyed.
Forget about just saving me time, enhance my lifestyle and you’re golden.
6. Say you’re too busy to get coffee
Similar to #5 above but from the opposite side. As Analysts, Starbucks is our lifeblood. So when we go out for coffee for 5-10 minutes and invite you to come along and you say you’re too busy, a couple things come to mind:
1) I know you’re probably lying because I give you work and determine how busy you are.
2) I think you don’t want to hang out with us and are not going to fit into our group.
Unless you have a true fire drill and really need to send something important out (unlikely as an intern), you have time to grab coffee.
7. Pretend that your internship is longer than 8-10 weeks
Personally, I am extremely nice to summer interns and rarely give them annoying work unless I’m so busy that I can’t finish everything myself.
Some Analysts have a different philosophy and as soon as they get summer interns, they turn into “Managing Analysts” and start giving all their underlings the dumbest work imaginable.
It’s unfortunate if you end up in this situation, but also keep in mind that your internship only lasts a matter of weeks – a lot less than 2-3 years. So no matter how bad you have it, it’s not worth complaining about because it’s over and done with quickly.
8. Hook up with other interns/analysts/secretaries
This one may cause some controversy, but I think it’s a really bad idea to get involved romantically with anyone else at your office, especially as an intern.
Friends have done this before but typically it’s at the end of the internship; otherwise there’s just too much risk of bad things happening and offers getting revoked.
Don’t think you can keep anything like this a “secret” – there are no secrets in an investment banking office.
One time when I was interviewing for buyside jobs, somehow not only my entire office but also multiple other offices found out and asked me how it went afterward.
If something as small as that becomes the talk of the Analyst class, you can guess how quickly news of a rendezvous with your MD’s secretary will spread.
9. Show up to work with a hangover
Control yourself when drinking and going out with other interns/Analysts. If you do anything really stupid (e.g. getting violent with an MD while drunk), your chances of getting an offer are pretty much 0.
Similarly if you show up to work with a hangover (or are still drunk), people will notice.
If you ever have to think about whether or not to do something, you shouldn’t do it.
10. Badmouth the firm/office to anyone else
This one actually came up this past year. One of our top summer analysts did very well and got an offer, but decided banking was not for him and went into another field.
That’s perfectly fine and I respected his decision. But then I find out he was going around to others interviewing at my office and telling them not to work there and such just because he personally didn’t like it.
The world of finance is very small and if someone knows something, chances are everyone else knows it too.
Openly badmouthing a firm or office to others is just unprofessional and pretty much ensures you’ll have no chance of working there in the future (I know, I know, you don’t want to, but still…).
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How To Dominate Your Investment Banking Internship
Nye: Learn everything you can, then get the hell out of there before it’s too late.
Ellen: How exactly will I know when that is?
Nye: Ah. That’s for another walk.”
You get an investment banking internship for 2 reasons:
Keep these 2 points in mind, and you’ll pass with flying colors.
Fail to remember them, and your internship will resemble the Hindenburg.
Attitude – Make It Good
Always be eager to learn and do as much as possible.
You’d be surprised how many summer analysts try to leave “early” every day – 6 to 7 PM – when the full-time analysts are there until 2 AM.
If there’s an opportunity to take on a new project, take it.
If there’s a chance to help someone with something, do it.
You do have to strike a balance between being proactive and being annoying, but it’s definitely better to be too enthusiastic than not enthusiastic enough.
You’re only in this for 10-12 weeks – you can sleep when you go back to school.
No, You Don’t Know Everything
Some interns – especially at the MBA-level – come in and pretend they know everything about accounting, finance, and investment banking already.
News flash: if you haven’t done this job before, you don’t know anything about it.
One time an intern said he was an Excel whiz and then didn’t know the Alt + E + S + T shortcut (used for copying styles in a spreadsheet, one of the most common shortcuts in banking).
That statement is key to your career in investment banking – you never want to brag about yourself.
Set expectations low, and then blow them away.
Don’t Screw Up
Or if you do, make sure it doesn’t happen again.
When I’ve already pulled 3 all-nighters in the same week and have been scolded by multiple senior bankers in the span of 10 minutes, the last thing I want to do is fix a company’s revenue projections going from $4 million to $400 million to $40 million in 3 consecutive years.
Always print out and check your work before submitting it – and in your first few weeks, always give it to another summer intern or to a full-time analyst to look at briefly.
It’s better to take too long and get it right vs. finishing quickly with all the wrong numbers.
Service With A Smile
I strongly disliked a summer analyst once.
He was flaky, he kept screwing up his work, and it took him forever to do anything.
But he did one thing right: he was always smiling.
No matter how many all-nighters I made him pull, how much menial work I made him do, or how sleep-deprived he was, he was always smiling.
Analysts are are skeptical of the Smiling Summer Analyst, but senior bankers love such performances.
Eagerness to learn is important, but constantly showing your appreciation is even more important.
So learn to act.
Party With Us, But Don’t Come In With A Hangover
When someone asks you to go to lunch, go.
When someone invites you out, go out – tops down, models and bottles.
Hang out with and get to know everyone you can – but don’t go overboard and come into work with a hangover.
You need to be sober to get a full-time offer.
More on Summer Internships
For even more on investment banking summer internships, check out these articles, tips, and day-in-the-life stories:
- 10 Investment Banking Internship “Don’t”‘s: How Not To Screw Up
- How Summer Interns Get Full-Time Offers
- So, What Will I Do As An Investment Banking Summer Analyst (Besides Get Abused)?
- The Investment Banking Summer Intern Success Guide: Yes, You Better Get My Coffee
- Tips From A Former Summer Analyst And Soon-To-Be Full-Time Analyst
How Do You Get an Investment Banking Internship?
Read the rest of this site, of course – especially all those articles filed under recruiting.
Resume templates, interview questions and answers, networking, and more – you just have to look.
And if you’re looking for even more detailed strategies, check out The Networking Ninja Toolkit for tips on landing interviews at all types of banks.
You’ll get cold-calling templates, email templates, sample informational interviews, and more.
Then, once you’ve got interviews lined up, sign up for The Investment Banking Interview Guide to get hundreds of questions and answers, sample interviews, and everything you need to land offers.