I know that this question has been done to death, but I was just wondering what you guys considered the do's and dont's of answering this question.
Walk Me Through Your Resume Question
"Walk me through your resume" and "tell me about yourself" are the two most common first questions in an interview. Almost every call and in person interview will include a variation of this question. It offers the interviewer the chance to look at your resume and offers you a chance to tell your story. Since this is the interviewer's first impression of you - it is important to have a cohesive story to tell and to be confident in your delivery.
This should tell the interviewer the story of why you are sitting in front of them - so it should follow a narrative. IE you should be able to walk from your home town / high school to the college you are at then to how you became interested in finance / investment banking / etc and then why you are sitting there in front of them today. Along the way, you should include a bit about your other involvements at school / socially to show that you are not a dynamic person with interests.
Points to Cover In your Answer
- Hometown / Home Country
- School and Major - and why you choose them
- Why You Got Interested in Finance / Field
- Involvements / Interests
- Previous Work Experience
Things to Emphasize
Make sure to highlight any previous experience you have in the industry or relevant clubs. If you have an interesting story about how you became interested in finance - be sure to include that.
Things to Avoid
You should never bring up any negatives during this time in the interview. Don't address your weak GPA, a lack of an internship, or gaps on your resume. This should be a time you use to sell yourself - don't open up any holes.
Make sure that your talking points are within the window of relevancy - in college - you should no longer be talking about HS by the time you are a second semester sophomore as you should have enough experience in college to speak about. However, the window of relevancy increases as you progress in your career.
Most importantly - do not ramble. You should be quick and concise. While practice is important - you need to make sure that you do not sound too robotic.
Tell Me About Yourself Answer Length
The length of your story is somewhat dependent upon the stage you are at in your career. If you are an undergrad interviewing for a SA role - your answer should not be longer than two minutes. Typically a good target is 1.5 mins.
If you are an investment banking analyst interviewing for the buyside - your story might be closer to 3 minutes as you give an overview of your background, college, and full time experience. In the end, if you feel like your speaking for too long - you probably are.
Sample Answer - "Walk Me Through Your Resume"
My name is Rachel Harding and I'm a freshman Finance major at Penn State University originally from Allentown PA. I originally became interested in finance in high school when my father taught me about his own personal investing. Something about it really sparked my interest and led me to want to pursue finance in college which eventually led me to Penn State University as I was attracted to the honors program as well as the business school with its strong finance program known for the Nittany Lion Fund and Wall Street programs. When I got to Penn State I got involved right away in the investment society and eventually interviewed for and was accepted into the Nittany Lion Fund which is Penn State's $x.xx million dollar student run investment fund.
Through that experience, I connected with a variety of alumni who helped me visit the trading floor of Morgan Stanley. After that experience, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in sales in trading due to the dynamic and exciting nature of the trading floor and my interest in the markets.
Learn more about how to answer investment banking interview questions in a separate post here.
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