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This board is always full of requests for fine tweaks to resumes, everyone hoping that rephrasing this one bullet is going to land them the job they've always wanted.

That's all great, and hopefully we are helping some people, but here's the hard truth that nobody tells you guys: It doesn't really matter.

Your resume will likely first be reviewed by an analyst, who has a stack of about 100 to go through. He'll spend about 15 seconds on you (there are 100 resumes after all, on top of the pitch tomorrow), and here's what he's going to look at:

1.) The name of your school and your GPA
2.) The names of your previous employers, and your job title there
3.) Cursory glace at bullets to "bucket" your experience into one of the following, in descending order of prestige: "Real investment banking", "Sales/Trading", "Wealth management", "Other random shit", or "Waiting tables".

If the above look good, you'll likely go into the "Keep" pile. Otherwise, it's the "While your qualifications are impressive..." pile. Formatting? As long as it's consistent and free of typos, I don't really care.

Turns out its the experience that counts (and sadly, yes, the brand name sometimes), not the actual words on the page.

If you really want to improve your chances, try to network with someone in the group BEFORE they see your resume, that way when your 15 seconds comes, they might actually recognize you as more than "Mid-tier Private School, 3.6, BB IB Internship".

Comments (34)

  • robes's picture

    Quote:
    and here's what he's going to look at:

    1.) The name of your school and your GPA
    2.) The names of your previous employers, and your job title there
    3.) Cursory glace at bullets to "bucket" your experience into one of the following, in descending order of prestige: "Real investment banking", "Sales/Trading", "Wealth management", "Other random shit", or "Waiting tables".

    I've been told that the people reviewing your resume are the analysts/associates who went to your school. Is this true?

    additionally, regarding point 3, does that apply only to IBD or S&T as well? it appears as if the "descending order of prestige" list you've given is geared only toward IBD.

    if one applies to S&T, will the above points given by captk still be valid or do S&T recruiters look for different things on a resume (quant classes, quant oriented work experience etc).

  • swagon's picture

    I appreciate this insight. But, you say to network with someone so they recognize the name on the resume, and you also say that the resume reviewer will likely be a sole analyst...so we are supposed to somehow know who this analyst will be and somehow get in touch with him before he goes through applications?

    Also, another one of your main points was that minor resume details are not a huge deal...that makes sense to me and I agree. Actually, I just posted a resume for review with a very big question: whether or not to include my most recent work experience or leave it out. This could make or break my resume, so please realize that some people are looking to get help on much more than tweaking a couple words.

  • The Phantom's picture

    captk wrote:

    1.) The name of your school and your GPA
    2.) The names of your previous employers, and your job title there
    3.) Cursory glace at bullets to "bucket" your experience into one of the following, in descending order of prestige: "Real investment banking", "Sales/Trading", "Wealth management", "Other random shit", or "Waiting tables".

    1) Non-target
    2) No-name, no-name, BB ("Other random shit")
    3) "Real investment banking"

    FML...

  • monkeyinasuit's picture

    With networking, does it help to speak with an analyst who works in the regional office that is sending someone to interview you, even though they aren't the recruiters themselves?

    My sense is that the analyst who isn't part of the process probably wouldn't go out of his or her way to recommend you, but the conversation would be helpful only to get some specific information about that particular office which you could talk about during interviews.

    I've been speaking with alums over the phone who probably aren't part of the process, am I networking inefficiently given that they probably aren't making the decisions?

  • MoneyKingdom's picture

    I agree. The best bet is to polish up your resume for on-campus recruiting (since they only take 12-15 kids, and they actually read the resumes). If you are just 'mass' applying (as an entry-level) you will most likely be judged on GPA (30-40%) School (30-40%) experience/activities (20-30%).

  • Cornelius's picture

    and then they discuss their recos and give the interviewee names to hr who sets up the interviews.

    ------------
    I'm making it up as I go along.

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    I'm making it up as I go along.

  • Revsly's picture

    For the record, I am sure CaptK meant the 3rd point to be directed at IBanking. If it was S&T, S&T and IBD would be swapped.

    Jack: They’re all former investment bankers who were laid off from that economic crisis that Nancy Pelosi caused. They have zero real world skills, but God they work hard.
    -30 Rock

  • In reply to swagon
    Chim Chim's picture

    swagon wrote:
    I appreciate this insight. But, you say to network with someone so they recognize the name on the resume, and you also say that the resume reviewer will likely be a sole analyst...so we are supposed to somehow know who this analyst will be and somehow get in touch with him before he goes through applications?

    Also, another one of your main points was that minor resume details are not a huge deal...that makes sense to me and I agree. Actually, I just posted a resume for review with a very big question: whether or not to include my most recent work experience or leave it out. This could make or break my resume, so please realize that some people are looking to get help on much more than tweaking a couple words.

    You don't have to specifically know the analyst going through the resumes. You network, and the people you network with will go out of their way to make sure the person who IS going through the resumes "happens" to pick yours for a first round interview (given your resume is half way decent and you are competent) or at least spends extra time on it to give you a better chance.

  • robes's picture

    btw, was captk's advice for FT applications or for SA? Are candidates really expected to have "real investment banking" experience PRIOR to their respective IB gigs? I'm sure some do, but is this common?

  • In reply to Marcus_Halberstram
    Banker88's picture

    Marcus_Halberstram wrote:
    adidas88 wrote:
    just wondering where major falls, if anywhere, in the process

    In my experience in doesn't fall anywhere. Double majors, minors, quadrouple majors... no one gives a shit. Only place it makes a difference is if you have like a 3.4, someone may look at your majors and be like ohh ok, he double majored in Engineering and Organic Chem.

    I hate that while I chose to go to an undergrad business school and study finance and economics with a focus on my career, some douchebag studied biology, then realized he'd prefer to do banking and got an internship through his uncle and is now in the same boat as me. That doesn't fly in any career besides banking. I can't imagine a bio major getting into big 4 accounting, or a finance major becoming an engineer at Intel, but damnit everyone can apply to banking. FML.

  • Sterling Archer's picture

    I concur with all of OP's points. One other thing I noticed in our last round of recruiting was that a lot of people emphasized extracurriculars. If you had a 4.0 and great work experience, some people would still ding you if your only activity was a "member" of some random campus group. For those of you still in your early years of college, definitely try to get leadership positions in legitimate groups. It will look good. (Fraternity President doesn't count.)

  • CaptK's picture

    Sorry to go AWOL on this thread, work has been kicking my ass. Anyway, to answer a few questions:

    robes wrote:
    I've been told that the people reviewing your resume are the analysts/associates who went to your school. Is this true?

    Often the first cut of resume reviews is done by analysts from your school. I think this is particularly hilarious because you never know while you're in undergrad which upperclassmen you'd better not piss off, because they'll end up with the power to ding you later. Yes, I have dinged a kid I knew was a douche from undergrad.

    robes wrote:
    additionally, regarding point 3, does that apply only to IBD or S&T as well? it appears as if the "descending order of prestige" list you've given is geared only toward IBD.

    if one applies to S&T, will the above points given by captk still be valid or do S&T recruiters look for different things on a resume (quant classes, quant oriented work experience etc).


    Clearly my original post was in reference to IB. If you're applying to S&T, doing the same for your internship is obviously more valuable. I don't work in S&T, so I can't speak to what they look for specifically, but I would imagine quant courses and such would be more relevant.

    adidas88 wrote:
    just wondering where major falls, if anywhere, in the process

    I'll go ahead and disagree with Marcus on this one. At least at my bank, I do think major matters a bit. A 3.9 in Communications clearly does not carry the same weight as a 3.9 in Finance. A relevant or "hard" major (which includes Bio, Chem, Comp Sci, Math, etc) can help your case a little - if you're a double major in say, Finance and Math with a decent GPA, it would impress me.

    banker88 wrote:
    I can't imagine a bio major getting into big 4 accounting, or a finance major becoming an engineer at Intel, but damnit everyone can apply to banking.

    Have you ever worked in banking? Let's be honest, at the analyst level, 95% of the job is not rocket science.

    Juwanna Mann wrote:
    One other thing I noticed in our last round of recruiting was that a lot of people emphasized extracurriculars.

    I think this was an anomaly this year because recruiting was so cutthroat. We were inundated with so many resumes that were all excellent, eventually you have to tiebreak based on tiny things. In a normal year, ECs don't really matter that much IMO.

    - Capt K

    - Capt K -
    "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham

  • eric809e's picture

    Capt K's described process seems very similar to the process I've seen.

    It's still important to check for typos and formatting inconsistencies. As an analyst, you get very good at checking for these things and these mistakes make a very easy ding. Easy dings = quicker review process. I also note the mistake so it is easy to recall during the calls to discuss the candidate.

    Stacks of resumes are typically in alphabetical order by last name. If your last name is at the front of the stack, chances are you're going to get a closer read (but also more scrutiny)

    Fit/Personality is very important. I've seen dings for douches at an info session or from college experiences. My favorite ding is calling up my younger sister at a college I recruit at and asking her if there is anything I should know about xyz candidate.

  • HerSerendipity's picture

    Agreed. I've dinged people for idiotic reasons before. Why? Simply because there are 120 resumes for 8 interview spots and we can. If you are active in the recruiting process at your bank (especially for the targets), you will most likely have a school team. This means that analysts/associates are spread out in different groups, so an analyst's read on the resumes may be very different than the associate who is 4 or 5 years out in another group.

    That being said, I used to get together with a few of the other active analysts from my target when resume reviews came around and we went through each one quickly (usually at a dinner break when we were all free). I wouldn't underestimate the power of "well we were frat brothers/sorority sisters/team mates/etc". I'd say our initial names lists were usually 25-30% unknowns (great credentials, major, activities), and 70-75% knowns (knew kid through activities, reputation, classes, etc). We came up with a list and all of us effectively 'voted' on the same kids thus giving us a majority.

    I remember an interviewer once telling me that recruiting is basically the same as rushing for any greek house.

  • TheBenevolent's picture

    Is it true that for the most part reviewers read the last "interests" line on your resume? I am the founding member of my school's chapter of a fraternity (actual fraternity not a pre-professional one), but its the last thing on my resume. I am just hoping people don't skip over it, as you never know!

  • In reply to peanutbutterjelly
    Chim Chim's picture

    peanutbutterjelly wrote:
    With all the talk about resumes, what about cover letters?

    Almost every investment bank requires a cover letter along with the resume. Given what the original poster said, it would seem like to me that cover letters would get even less attention. Is this true?

    Any tips for cover letters?

    To put it simply, cover letters can not help you, but can only hurt you. Yes, cover letters are required with some applications, but are probably just glanced at (if that). Nothing in a cover letter can really "blow" anyone away, because not much (if any) time is spent on it. However, if there is a mistake on it, it can cause you to be tossed out completely. You guys have to understand, there is no "magical" cover letter or resume formula. The goal of your resume/cover letter is to get an interview. Create a cover letter and resume that is presentable, but focus on networking and be social. Like mentioned in prior posts, knowing someone goes a long way for interviews. Focus as much time, if not more on that, than refining every single detail on a resume. Just my 2 cents.

  • larryheard's picture

    I think this is not quite accurate, I know some hiring managers and they don't look at your GPA rather your qualifications for the job you're applying to. Now how to write a resume so that your application will be considered? Just keep it clean and professional. No grammar errors, no I and me statement, and use specific figures when you can. Keep your qualification relevant to the position you're applying to.

    Moderator's Note: Link to spam website removed.

  • In reply to larryheard
    cdkram's picture

    larryheard wrote:
    I think this is not quite accurate, I know some hiring managers and they don't look at your GPA rather your qualifications for the job you're applying to. Now how to write a resume so that your application will be considered? Just keep it clean and professional. No grammar errors, no I and me statement, and use specific figures when you can. Keep your qualification relevant to the position you're applying to.

    I would discount this poster's comments, since it seems just like someone making a plug for their own website. I can't say for certain whether or not larryheard has any experience with banking resumes, but I wouldn't bet on it.

    Put it this way--the more experience you have / the farther removed you are from school, the less GPA matters, and vice versa. For undergrad, GPA is still one of, if not THE best signals of ability. Granted, there are exceptions and mitigating circumstances, but you get the point.

  • MasterChef's picture

    captk wrote:

    3.) Cursory glace at bullets to "bucket" your experience into one of the following, in descending order of prestige: "Real investment banking", "Sales/Trading", "Wealth management", "Other random shit", or "Waiting tables".

    Now, where would a summer internship in Venture Capital fall within these five buckets?

  • In reply to MasterChef
    CaptK's picture

    You don't see it very often, but the "PE/VC" bucket is pretty much on par with "real investment banking", maybe above for a well-recognized firm.

    - CaptK

    - Capt K -
    "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham

  • In reply to Marcus_Halberstram
    CaptK's picture

    - Capt K -
    "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham