If you’re priming yourself to score a dream job on Wall Street after graduation, creating a resume that stands out should be on the top of your to-do list. Competition for finance jobs in the Big Apple is stiff today, even if you attended one of the premier Ivy League finance schools.
In fact there are 13.5 percent fewer jobs in the securities industry today than there were prior to the financial crisis, according to a recent report from the Office of New York State Comptroller.1 So what can you do to ensure that your resume makes it to the top of the pile?
1. Follow one of today’s key resume best practices – include keywords. Regardless of your field, if you want your resume to make it to the hiring manager’s or decision maker’s desk, it needs to get through applicant tracking systems and/or be easily found in search engines.
This means you should include keywords that pertain specifically to the finance position for which you are applying. Pull keywords from the job description and include those in your resume and cover letter, then highlight your skills pertaining to these keywords as well.2
Yes, you should customize your resume for each individual job. That’s one way that successful job applicants get to the interview phase.
2. Keep it professional. For graduates who are seeking careers in finance, you shouldn’t be using your resume to show your cute or funny side. You’re going into finance, not art direction or web design. Wall Street is steeped in tradition and professionalism, and finance recruiters want to see resumes that are presented in a traditional fashion.3
Professional also means no typos or grammatical errors. If you’re not a wordsmith, hire a professional who specializes in finance careers to help write your resume or trade favors with your friend who is majoring in journalism.
3. Start with a bang (albeit a professional one). Once you’ve made it past the applicant tracking systems (or if you have had the luxury of emailing your resume directly to a person), your resume needs to make an impression FAST.
Along with a compelling cover letter, you need to highlight those skills and accomplishments that matter most to the employer (not you) in a summary at the top of the page. The person reading your resume has hundreds more to look at after yours, so if he or she makes it past the top quarter of your resume, consider yourself lucky.
Human resources pros and managers who hire finance professionals will scan your resume to see if you meet the specific job qualifications required, such as an MBA or experience managing a specific type of project. For recent grads with minimal real world experience, highlighting case study or classwork experience that pertains specifically to the job can help keep you in the mix.
This is also the place to show why you’re special. Any significant accomplishments you have achieved, that could impact how you would perform at the finance job in question should be worked into the introductory summary.
4. Include examples of your quantitative and analytical abilities. Wall Street firms want to hire people who know how to handle and analyze large amounts of data. They are looking for problem solvers. Include specific examples from your past jobs, internships or classwork that show how you excelled in these two areas.3
Generalizations have no place in a Wall Street resume. Spell it out.
5. Highlight quantifiable accomplishments. If you have real world job or internship experience in the finance world (or elsewhere), and can show how you contributed to reducing costs, increasing profits, etc. spell out these quantifiable accomplishments specifically.5
Show them the numbers if you want to separate yourself from the pack.
6. Show your passion for the finance industry. Along with your educational accomplishments, how else have you immersed yourself in the financial world? Have you competed in finance case study contests? Do you belong to any finance clubs? Have you helped others with their finances? Have you given presentations or written about finance topics for a paper at school or on your own blog?
7. Education, GPA and the like. This is a no-brainer, but it is a must-have. The school you attended does matter to some firms and hiring managers, as does how well you performed. This is especially true if you’re coming up light in the quantifiable accomplishments section.
Once you’ve created your stellar Wall Street resume, check out the finance jobs available through Doostang. We cater to recent college graduates and MBAs seeking finance careers with the best finance and investment firms on the planet. Visit our website to find your Wall Street dream job today!
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1. DiNapoli T.P., Bleiwas K.B. “The Securities Industry in New York City.” Office of the State Comptroller, State of New York, Report 7-2014. October 2013. Available at http://osc.state.ny.us/osdc/rpt7-2014.pdf. Accessed October 22, 2013.
2. Isaacs, K. “Cover Letter Tips for Finance Professionals.” Monster.com. Available at: http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/cover-letter-tips/finance-cover-letter-tips/article.aspx. Accessed October 24, 2013.
3. “Investment Banking Resume;” “Private Equity Resume;” “Hedge Fund Resume.” Street of Walls website. Available at: http://www.streetofwalls.com/. Accessed Oct. 25, 2013.
4. Sample Resume for a Financial Analyst. Monster website. www.monster.com. Available at http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/resume-samples/sample-resume-financial-analyst/article.aspx. Accessed October 25, 2013.
5. Meade, B. “Five Top Resume Turnoffs.” Forbes website, Feb. 19 2013. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2013/02/19/five-top-resume-turnoffs/