As an investment banker, you know how to sell at a high level, but do you know how to sell yourself? That’s a whole different game, but you've come to the right place for help with a winning investment banker resume.
If you know it's time for your next career move, Resume.io has got you covered with ideas, inspiration and advice on wide-ranging job search topics. That includes more than 300 occupation-specific resume guides and resume examples, along with cover letter writing tools and a whole host of expert resources for professionals in all fields.
The tips and tricks in this investment banker resume writing guide are backed by adaptable sentences from an investment banker resume example. We’ll be covering these topics:
- Role and job outlook for investment bankers
- How to write a personalized version of your resume for each different position that secures the interest of recruiters
- Best format for structuring your investment banker resume
- Optimizing the impact of each resume section: header, summary, employment history, education and skills
- Professional layout, design and formatting tips
What does an investment banker do?
Investment bankers are employed by banks that help clients and businesses to raise capital and facilitate financial transactions. It’s your job to advise clients and help them make decisions about investment opportunities. This sometimes involves analyzing the risk of mergers and acquisitions. Your clients rely on you to prepare reports and models to educate them and facilitate an understanding so that profitable decisions can be made.
You also help your clients to raise money to continue funding their operations or when they execute expansion plans. With economic uncertainty comes added risk, but also added opportunity. Some industries are thriving and looking to expand, while others are trying to hold on. In either case, you have the skills to help and the tenacity to work the hours necessary to land the big deal.
Investment banking has a rough reputation for long, demanding hours that result in a lot of burnout. But some employers are beginning to realize that long hours don’t necessarily mean productive hours. In fact, the average hours that investment bankers work has dropped over the past few years, but you’ll still be working well more than 40 hours a week.
Why? According to Mergers & Inquisitions there are three key reasons:
- When clients are paying huge fees, they expect excellent and speedy service
- The constantly shifting landscape of deals makes planning very difficult
- As an investment banker, you must own all aspects of the deal; there is no divide and conquer.
Average weekly hours for an investment banker top 70, while the average hours for other careers has dropped to about 30, according to eFinancialCareers.
Opening the door to investment banking hiring
Investment banking jobs are highly coveted by job seekers because analysts start out earning $100,000-$150,000 a year. If you have Wall Street banking on your mind — but of course, New York is not the only place to secure an investment banking job — you have two choices for setting out on your career path.
- Financial Analyst: This is the way to go if you want to start working directly out of undergraduate school, but you need a high GPA and you probably need to get it at a highly regarded university, since that is where most recruiting takes place.
- Associate: At this level, you need an MBA. Even if you are already working for a bank, you will likely be required to go back to school if you want to move on to being an investment banking analyst.
Your excellent GPA is just the beginning of what you need to get started as a financial analyst or associate. You must have impeccable Excel skills since you will be doing detailed financial modeling. You should also be proficient in Powerpoint, since you will have to present those models to senior bankers.
Ideas for your investment banker resume can come from these writing guides and resume examples in resume.io's accounting & finance category:
- Finance-director resume example
- Senior-accountant resume example
- Bank-teller resume example
- Accountant resume example
- Loan-officer resume example
- Loan-processor resume example
- Bookkeeper resume example
- Auditing-clerk resume example
- Banker resume example
- Compliance-officer resume example
- Financial-advisor resume example
You need at least one internship under your belt if you want to nab a job as an investment banker.
The global investment banking workforce has decreased from almost 58,000 in 2015 to 49,000 in 2020, according to Statistica, which attributed the decline to the global recession brought on by COVID-19.
You may set your sights on a bulge bracket bank, or one of the world’s largest and most profitable banks. There is no set list, but they are commonly known to be Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and UBS Investment Bank.
You may think of those as the gold standard, however, the investment banking job market offers other opportunities. Boutique banks may specialize in a product, an industry vertical, or small or mid-sized deals and clients.
How to write an investment banker resume
Shine a light on your analytical and sales skills as you prepare for your next step. You’re already on your way to crafting an investment banker resume that includes these sections:
- Employment history
Thought and care should go into an eye-pleasing header design that clearly identifies who your resume belongs to, your occupation and contact information.
Before elaborating on how to write the summary, employment history, education and skills sections, one at a time, here is some general advice for ensuring your resume scores high on all counts, and is actually read in the first place.
As an investment banker, you’re certainly not shy, so show potential employers that boldness in your resume!
You want to work for the best, whether it be a bulge bracket investment bank or a boutique bank, and someday move on to a private equity firm, or other investment company. To do that, your investment banker resume needs to show an understanding of what your prospective employer seeks.
Applicant Tracking Systems: You’ve Got This Beat
Most companies use one of the hundreds of applicant tracking systems (ATS) available today. These software systems provide human resources with a way to analyze and sort the hundreds of job applications they receive. While there is no single way to ensure that your resume makes it to the hands of a recruiter, there are some helpful hints to guide you.
It doesn’t matter how engagingly written your profile is if no one reads it. That’s where your ATS-beating strategy comes into play. Here are our tips to ace the ATS challenge:
- Understand how banks hire investment bankers and what the ideal candidate brings to the table
- Use keywords from the job description throughout your resume and especially in the summary and skills sections
- Make sure your formatting is clean and optimized for the online application system so it can be easily read by the algorithm
You’re an analyst, so you will have no trouble using your skills on the job descriptions you read. Avoid stuffing your resume full of keywords (or trying the trick of typing keywords in white in the background since sophisticated ATS will catch that). Instead, strive to organically include the important words and phrases from each job listing. Make the ranking algorithms work for you!
Make sure to use exact wording from the job description to increase your chance of passing the ATS. For example, if the job listing specifies “financial models," you should avoid writing “financial modeling” instead.
Choosing the best resume format for investment bankers
The chronological resume format is ideal for structuring most resumes, regardless of occupation. It provides the most straightforward overview of your career highlights in the employment history section. It may very well be ideal for your investment banker resume too.
But if the position you’re pursuing would be a radical career path departure, or your job background has not followed a linear path of employee positions, you might want to consider other resume format options. Some professionals who have worked independently in consulting positions or in some other freelance capacity might opt for a functional resume emphasizing specific skills, projects or client niche markets. Others implement a hybrid (combination) resume format by incorporating some chronological and functional resume elements.
Now let’s get specific about your professional resume.
Resume summary example: Analytic and personable
The very first section of your investment banker resume — the summary — is where you'll be able to let your personality shine. Since you may be in a client-facing position, your communication style and persuasiveness count!
So take advantage of the little bit of freedom that the summary (sometimes called profile or personal statement) allows to express your professional character, style, philosophy and accomplishments. Let the adjectives flow ... within reason, of course! Your summary is much more than just that. Instead of merely recounting your career, you should think about how you can best demonstrate your value-added strengths.
You have three to five sentences to explain who you are and what you can do. Think of one or two of your biggest career successes and tout them. Use dollar amounts! After all, your job is to identify great deals that will make big money for your clients.
Without exaggerating, portray yourself in the best possible light with strong, action verbs and personality adjectives. Make sure you describe your communication style and your ability to work long, hard hours.
Try to incorporate some of these top personality traits of an investment banking analyst or associate, according to the Corporate Finance Institute, into your profile:
- Highly ambitious
- Polished and presentable
Here is an adaptable investment banker resume summary sample to help you model your own:
Insightful Investment banker with several years of experience in high pressure environments, working to successfully analyze financial records and identify promising investment opportunities and potential problems. Superior skills in auditing and accounting and the ability to effectively manage customer relationships and provide beneficial investment services.
Employment history sample: A record of success
Of course, your winning investment banker resume should effectively demonstrate your ability to provide excellent financial counsel and services to clients and companies. But that is just the beginning. The employment history section must tell recruiters why you are an excellent candidate and what you will bring to this prospective employer. Remember, their job depends on bringing banks the best and brightest.
Build the employment history section by considering what each of your jobs taught you and how you can demonstrate those new skills. Consider enumerating all your achievements. Gather as many details as you can. While you are at it, make sure you have all the data you need to complete your resume, such as accurate dates of employment and reference information in case you are asked.
Here are some verbs you may consider using in your descriptions to give them more weight: verified, persuaded, identified, maximized, captained, launched.
As you develop each bullet point in your job descriptions, be sure to showcase your ability to do research, write reports, and aid clients in making the best decisions possible. Do not simply list job responsibilities. Tell recruiters what problems you faced, what actions you took to solve the problems, and what the results of your actions were, quantifying with numbers wherever possible.
Use reverse chronological order to begin listing your most recent position first and work backwards until you've included all jobs relevant to an investment banker position. Remember to use powerful action verbs and mention job specific accomplishments or knowledge that prove you are an excellent candidate.
Here are the top five global investment banking sectors, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- Utility and energy
Below you will find an example of an employment history section for an investment banker resume.
Investment Consultant, Kaygar Abu Bank, Dallas
December 2014 - August 2019
- Effectively seek client relationships with long term interest and advantage.
- Monitored markets and adjusted client strategies as needed.
- Served as a critical and effective team member in the brokerage division of fiduciary and private banking services.
- Helped to establish and nurture key relationships with fixed-income clients.
- Helped to grow client base to top 8% in less than 8 months.
Analyst, Gichaw Bank, Miami
November 2012 - November 2014
- Worked with Senior Directors to evaluate and improve strategy and overall financial efforts for the firm's growth.
- Carefully evaluated security solutions and aspects of retail markets.
- Analyzed financial records and statements to identify positive investment opportunities.
- Advised business entities in all financial endeavors.
- Effectively consulted with clients to identify financial growth and financial impairment factors.
Financial Analyst Intern, Morgan Stanley, New York
January 2011 - October 2012
- Assisted superiors with marketing research and business presentations.
- Provided superiors with thorough market research necessary to target new business.
- Assisted senior bankers with management of capital markets transactions.
- Designed and presented financial models to depict financial growth and identify capital raising scenarios.
Investment banker resume education example
The education section of your investment banker resume is very important. Some professions can significantly downplay the education requirements, but this is not one of them. Investment banking is one of those careers where your GPA counts! Make sure that if you are proud of your academic record, recruiters know it too.
Many investment bankers have undergraduate degrees in finance or another business area, but these majors are not necessities, although a bachelor’s degree is. Many investment bankers have degrees in economics, math, and computer science. Although an MBA is not necessary to begin your career, it is likely that you will need one to advance.
You also have the option of becoming a chartered financial analyst through the CFA Institute. List any certifications you have earned or courses you have taken that are related to your career. If you have more than a couple, consider adding a separate section.
If you have a bachelor's or master’s degree, there is no need to list your high school experience. You may also consider adding an accolades section if you have earned recognition for your work or an affiliates section if you are active in finance and banking organizations.
See a formatted investment banker education example below:
Master of Accounting, Manhattan College, New York
August 2009 - December 2011
- Graduated with High Honors.
Bachelor of Finance and Accounting, NYU, New York
August 2005 - May 2009
- Graduated suma cum laude.
- President of the debate team.
CV skills example section: A touch of your talents
The skills section of your investment banker CV is a curated list of your key corporate finance abilities. You need to target this section directly to the job listing, so use your analytical skills to figure out what to emphasize for each employer.
Technical abilities are a great thing to include in your skills section. According to Business Insider, one of the biggest trends in today's investment banking industry is the use of AI to confirm or help an investment banker with their predictions.
Make a “master list” of all your skill sets in investment banking (and adjacent professional areas) by brainstorming any ability, skill, or attribute you use at work. You may want to keep soft skills (interpersonal) and hard skills (knowledge-based) in separate categories. You can further categorize skills as they relate to communication, organization, leadership, financial analysis, presentation, sales, financial services and more. Then for each version of your resume, choose a customized mix of soft and hard skills that best fits the specific job opening.
As an investment banker, you work on the sell-side of the industry. But don't overlook any buy-side skills you have to offer, because employers like to see that you understand all parts of the financial transaction. Consider any desirable skills that distinguish you from other candidates. That includes the ability to speak Mandarin or another language frequently used in banking.
See an example of an investment banker skills section below.
- Strong Analytical Thinking Skills
- Portfolio Management Skills
- Quantitative Skills
- Mutual Funds and Hedge Funds
- Strategic Planning
- Regulatory Compliance
Now that we’ve discussed all the elements of your resume, let’s go over the first impression: your design and formatting.
Resume design and formatting: Look your professional part
Organization, perfection and reader-friendliness are your goals in an investment banker resume layout and design. From your choice of font and margin size to graphic details, you'll want to follow basic formatting guidelines to make sure hiring managers can quickly find all the information they are looking for. Since this is the one place you may be able to add color or another design element to your CV, we suggest taking the time to ensure your resume format is clean and professional.
If you don't have time to put together a perfectly formatted resume, our expertly-designed resume templates can help. Simply choose the design most appropriate for your potential employer and customize it to your exact needs. For investment bankers we recommend our Professional template designs.
- Keep it clean with plenty of white space and one inch margins
- Make your contact information stand out at the top of the page
- Proofread your resume so that your spelling and grammar is impeccable
- Use more than two different fonts on one resume
- Include too many colors, pictures or graphics
- Write in a font size larger than 12 point or smaller than 10 points
Remember that hiring managers see hundreds of resumes. If they can’t easily find what they are looking for, it’s on to the next candidate.
Make no mistake
Innocuous typos and small grammar mistakes missed out of fatigue and lack of attention are still the #1 reason that recruiters or managers reject resumes. Never send your resume without asking a friend or colleague to proofread it. Editing your own work is almost impossible. Alternatively, use a resume builder or text editing app that has a vigilant spell-checker function. Test out Resume.io's builder tool for free!
Key takeaways for an investment banker resume
- Use your sales skills to create an elevator-pitch style profile that piques the interest of recruiters.
- Curate a blend of your highest level soft and hard skills.
- Choose your words carefully: use action verbs and professionally descriptive adjectives to help you stand out.
- Put your analytical skills to use as you place keywords and phrases strategically to help you beat the ATS.
- Use Resume.io resources — including the builder tool and field-tested layouts to create an impressive, expertly designed resume.