Investment banking is notorious for being one of the toughest jobs to break into after college. Why? The sky-high pay of course. The finance industry is one of the highest paid sectors.
First year investment bankers can easily net six-figures after their bonus at some of the large bulge-bracket banks. Within a few years, that number can skyrocket to upwards of $500k.
The competition can be brutal though. You’ll be competing against students from some of the top ivy-league schools who can be very intelligent and well connected. So how can you stand out and best position yourself to become an investment banker?
Try using these three tricks below:
#1) Get Relevant Experience
What’s the most important thing to have your on resume when applying for investment banking jobs? Not your school. Not your GPA. It’s relevant experience.
Investment banks want to see that you have relevant experience doing the type of work they’ll expect you to do on the job. Things like financial modeling, financial analysis, M&A work, valuation, etc. Having that real world experience is what can separate you from the competition.
So while investment banks won’t care about your summer sales job like this:
They love to see relevant experience like this:
An investment bank would much rather hire someone that they know can hit the ground running from day one, versus someone that would require weeks of training. This guide on how to become an investment banker lists a bunch of creative ways to get this type of experience, including their analyst program.
#2) Network, Network, Network
What’s the easiest way to break into any job you want? Networking. This is especially true with investment banking. Top investment banks receive thousands and thousands of resumes per year.
Normally, you’ll apply online and have your resume run through resume scanning software. If you’re lucky enough, your resume will make it through the scanner and get into the hands of someone in the HR department. If you’re really lucky, your resume will make it past HR and actually get in the hands of someone in the investment bank that actually can impact whether or not you get hired.
It’s a long painful process, and your odds of making it through all of that are slim to none. Now what if you had a great networking conversation with someone high up in the investment bank that passed your resume along to HR and told them to bring you in for an interview? That’s much more effective!
Even if you don’t have the best background, networking is always the easiest way to become an investment banker. University students looking to get an investment banking job should really be spending the majority of their time networking with people in the industry who can help get them that ‘in’.
#3) The Spin And Bankify Trick
So let’s say your late to the game and don’t have that relevant experience to add to your resume. What can you do? Utilize the spin and bankify trick. Essentially, you need to emphasize a little and make your resume seem as analytical and banking based as possible, using specific examples and results.
So, you want to:
- Spin and bankify your previous experience to make it sound more analytical and financial based
- Utilize specific examples
- Highlight results
Take a look at this example:
Software Development Intern, Cell Phone Company
- Developed cell phone applications for collecting demographic and user/revenue data in team of 3 and investigated new web technologies.
- Presented findings to CEO.
Boring right? That just tells an employer you did absolutely nothing finance based over summer. Now let’s use the “spin and bankify trick” to improve your resume writing creativity:
Technology Consultant, Cell Phone Company
- Recommended development budget of $100,000 to CEO based on analysis of ROI on similar projects in the past.
- Worked in team of 3 to design applications for analyzing demographic data; optimized revenue per user for mobile software and made recommendations that led to 20% higher RPU.
Why is this better?
- The Title – “Technology Consultant” sounds more related to finance than “Software Development Intern,”
- Recommendations and Analysis – You recommended specific numbers here and analyzed the financial returns of previous projects – just like what you do in real finance.
- Results – At the end you have a tangible, monetary result: a 20% higher revenue-per-user number.
Learning how to become an investment banker and execute on those tasks isn’t easy. It often takes much more work that trying to get any other ordinary finance job. Even if you don’t come from an ivy-league university or don’t have a perfect GPA, it’s still possible. Get some relevant experience, network hard, and you’ll have no problem breaking into investment banking.
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