How to Write a Cover Letter for Entry-Level Finance Jobs, Part 2 of 2: Include the Right Stuff

How to Write a Cover Letter for Entry-Level Finance Jobs, Part 2 of 2: Include the Right Stuff

If you will be applying for entry-level finance jobs or finance or accounting internships in the near future, you should include a cover letter with your application and resume. As we mentioned in part one of this two-part post, writing a cover letter isn’t exactly brain surgery, but it’s important to do some solid research about the companies you are targeting, present the letter in an appropriate style and include a few key items to make a good impression.

In the second installment of this two-part post, we’ll discuss the presentation and content of your finance job cover letter.

If you’re applying for an internship or entry-level position in finance or accounting, your cover letter and resume should be professional in tone. As with any type of career, you need to present yourself in a fashion that reflects the industry you are pursuing.

The finance industry and the people who work for finance companies are steeped in professionalism and old traditions. Your cover letter and resume should reflect this. In addition, typos and grammatical errors can land your application in the trash before a hiring manager even has the chance to read it. So review your cover letter (and resume) closely before you submit it.

You should also “make your case” in one page or less, because most busy recruiters and hiring managers won’t make it past the first couple of paragraphs unless the cover letter highlights key qualities that they desire in a candidate.

Review the job description closely, then include pertinent, quantifiable accomplishments that pertain specifically to the job in question. Candidates seeking out finance careers are plentiful, so you need to look like a star.

It’s also important to stay on point. Achievements that don’t apply to the finance jobs you are considering can typically be left out. Items that need more explanation can usually be presented better during the interview phase.

So what should you include in your entry-level finance job cover letter, and where?

1. Your contact information. If you’re creating a word document, follow standard letter style with your contact information up top and in your closing paragraph. For email body cover letters, contact information in the closing paragraph should suffice.

2. Your current status, the job for which you are applying and a brief but compelling explanation as to why you’re a good fit. You need to make a big bang out of the gate so incorporate these key items in your opening paragraph.

3. Who and what you know about the company. If you have any company contacts mention them here and explain how you met them. Follow up with why you want to work at XYZ Company. This is where your research really comes into play, and it’s a good place to show your passion for the finance industry and this company specifically, which is important.

4. A bulleted list of quantifiable accomplishments if possible. Include specific, quantifiable accomplishments that pertain to the company’s goals, and avoid other achievements that don’t apply to success for this position (too much information). You can derive these stats either from previous work experience, class work, finance case study competitions, scholarly papers, volunteer work, etc.

5. A strong closing paragraph that reinforces why you would be an asset. Summarize your accomplishments here and explain why you’d be a good candidate or asset to the company. Then follow up with the best way to reach you (your contact information as noted above, phone and email address should suffice).

6. Keywords drawn from the job description throughout. Both your cover letter and resume should include keywords throughout that are derived from the job description and are tied specifically to your qualifications. Keywords play a key role in your cover letter and resume making it through applicant tracking systems, so don’t skip this step.

If you’re ready to pound the pavement and find the finance career of your dreams, Doostang can help. We specialize in helping recent finance and accounting graduates and MBAs find accounting and finance jobs at top accounting, banking and finance firms. Visit our website to search jobs and learn about the wide range of services that Doostang offers.

Photo Source: Shutterstock


Isaacs, K. “Cover Letter Tips for Finance Professionals.” Available at: Accessed October 24, 2013.

“2013 Corporate Recruiters Survey.” Report 01. Graduate Management Admission Council, 2013. Available at Accessed Oct. 28, 2013.

DeChesare, B. “The Investment Banking Cover Letter Template You’ve Been Waiting For.” Mergers & Inquisitions website. Available at Accessed Oct. 30, 2013.

“Example of a covering letter for a graduate finance traineeship.” University of Kent website. Available at Accessed Oct. 30, 2013.

“Investment Banking Resume;” “Private Equity Resume;” “Hedge Fund Resume.” Street of Walls website. Available at: Accessed Oct. 25, 2013.

Survey Shows Job Opportunities Growing for MBAs, Master’s Grads

Survey Shows Job Opportunities Growing for MBAs, Master’s Grads

A recent survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) revealed a growing number of businesses have hired or plan to hire MBAs and other business master’s graduates in 2013 as compared to 2012. GMAC partnered with the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) and the MBA Career Services Council (MBA CSC) for the survey, which yielded responses from 900 employers in 50 countries across the globe.

For those seeking careers in finance, the numbers are promising. Worldwide, 75 percent of businesses expected to hire MBAs in 2013 (compared to 71 percent in 2012) and growth was also expected in hiring of candidates with master of accounting (38 percent in 2013, up from 34 percent in 2012) and master of finance (43 percent in 2013, up from 41 percent in 2012) degrees. Bachelor degree graduates saw a 1 percent decline in projected hires, down to 74 percent in 2013.

U.S. and Asia-Pacific Project Strong Growth, Europe Flat

When you look at estimates from region to region, demand for MBAs in Asia is projected to kick up from 54 percent last year to 61 percent in 2013 – a 5 percent increase. In the U.S., 85 percent of businesses projected that they would be hiring MBAs in 2013 – up 3 percent from 2012.

Similar increases were expected for the specialized master degrees in accounting, finance, management and other business master degrees in the U.S.

Master of Accounting: 35 percent 2012/40 percent 2013

Master of Finance: 35 percent 2012/41 percent 2013

Master in Management: 36 percent 2012/39 percent 2013

Other Business Masters: 42 percent 2012/50 percent 2013

The number of available jobs for MBA graduates by company was also expected to increase. In other words, more businesses were expecting to have more MBAs on staff this year, along with other master degree talent – with the average number of MBAs per business growing from 11.4 in 2012 to a projected 14.6 in 2013.

Understanding Organizational Goals Could Give You the Edge

If you’re hoping to land one of the desirable entry-level finance jobs at a premier finance or banking firm, you’ll probably need more than an MBA or other specialty master degree to get hired. Top candidates do their research, and you should learn as much as you possibly can about the business goals of the firms to which you are applying.

Distinguish yourself by demonstrating how your talents will help the organization achieve or surpass its goals.

The GMAC survey also provided insight into employer efficiency and growth goals. In its survey report, GMAC wisely pointed out, “Strategic hiring decisions are often signaled by organizational goals.” This is key for up-and-coming graduates who seek entry-level accounting jobs and other finance careers.

How does your degree and background qualify you to make a contribution to the achievement of these goals? Demonstrate this to prospective employers to gain an edge over other candidates.

In the U.S., organizations surveyed listed these goals as most important:

Efficiency: 68 percent are looking to improve performance and productivity.

Growth: 61 percent are looking to expand the organization’s customer base.

Other efficiency goals included: reducing costs (50 percent); improving customer service (44 percent); and overcoming economic challenges (30 percent).

Other growth goals included: launching new products or services (51 percent); expanding geographically (37 percent); diversifying the organization (34 percent); completing or integrating a merger (16 percent).

Things are looking up for MBAs and master degree bearing college graduates who are entering the finance world, but competing for the best jobs takes work. Doostang specializes in helping talented MBAs and finance and accounting graduates stand out from the competition. Visit our website to learn more.

Photo Source: Shutterstock


“2013 Corporate Recruiters Survey.” Report 01. Graduate Management Admission Council, 2013. Available at Accessed Oct. 28, 2013.

7 Must-Haves of a Wall Street Resume

7 Must Haves of a Wall Street Resume

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

This means no pretty paper or wacky fonts. Clean, black and white, period. Consider these financial analyst and investment banking sample resumes from Monster and Street of Walls respectively.3,4

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!

Photo Source: Shutterstock


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 Accessed October 22, 2013.

2. Isaacs, K. “Cover Letter Tips for Finance Professionals.” Available at: Accessed October 24, 2013.

3. “Investment Banking Resume;” “Private Equity Resume;” “Hedge Fund Resume.” Street of Walls website. Available at: Accessed Oct. 25, 2013.

4. Sample Resume for a Financial Analyst. Monster website. Available at Accessed October 25, 2013.

5. Meade, B. “Five Top Resume Turnoffs.” Forbes website, Feb. 19 2013. Available at:


Accounting Jobs Rank High on 2013 UC San Diego HOT Careers List

Accounting Jobs Rank High on 2013 UC San Diego HOT Careers List

One of the biggest challenges for college grads is to find a job when they don’t have experience working in their field. In the February 2013 issue of the Monthly Labor Review, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 12.6 percent of recent college graduates under the age of 30 were unemployed, and lack of real world experience often holds them back.1

This factor isn’t necessarily true for all occupations, though. The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) recently released a report that would help college students identify career options that required a minimal need for supplemental experience or education. In its report, “HOT Careers for College Grads and Returning Students 2013,” the school compiled a list of “HOT Careers” that took into account the ability to secure a job after graduation with little on-the-job experience or an advanced degree.2

UCSD refers to this factor as “bridgeability,” and it is based on “whether a college graduate could bridge into a career with one or two years of study or reskilling.”

The school also considered four other factors in their evaluation, including:

Current rates of employment.

Projected growth for jobs in the field.

Median wage for jobs in the field.

Typical work environments in the field.2

These four factors could each contribute up to 25 points to the total score of 100. The “bridgeability” factor then came into play. If the occupation in question didn’t fit “bridgeability” guidelines, it didn’t make the list.2

How Did Jobs in Accounting and Finance Fare?

If you’re a recent college graduate looking for an entry-level accounting job and a role as an accountant or auditor is your goal, congratulations! Accountants and auditors fell under one umbrella and landed at No. 4 on the list, with a total of 67 points. Careers focused on software development (71.4 points) and market research analysis (69.5 points) topped the list.2

For graduates looking for entry-level finance jobs, two occupation categories also made the HOT Careers list. Financial analysts ranked No. 11 with a total of 57.7 points and Securities/Commodities/Financial Services Sales Agents came in at No. 14 with 54.6 total points. Both of these finance careers ranked high in median wage, with each scoring 20 points, but the current levels of employment weren’t nearly as high as for the accountant/auditor category.

Why Are Accountants and Auditors So “HOT?”

The accountant/auditor occupation ranked the highest in points across all occupations listed for current rates of employment with a score of 22.5. According to the UCSD report, 1,129,340 people in the U.S. were employed in these occupations at last count and growth rate for the field is strong with a rate of 16 percent projected by 2020. Finally, accountants and auditors can expect to see a nice growth in salary as well, as the mean salary (presently $71,040) has increased by close to $10,000 in the past three years.

If you are preparing to launch a career in finance or accounting, your prospects are brighter than many other fields. Across the board, the number of open positions remains high, pay rates are competitive to high, salary growth estimates are solid and opportunities for career advancement abound.

For recent college graduates in accounting and finance, the “bridgeability” factor is also working in your favor. And if you’re looking to secure one of the more coveted positions in finance or accounting, Doostang can help give you the edge. We specialize in helping recent college graduates with bachelor degrees and MBAs stand out from the competition.

Photo Source: Shutterstock


1. Spreen, LT. “Recent college graduates in the U.S. labor force: data from the Current Population Survey.” Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review. 2013 Feb. Vol. 136, No. 2. Available at Accessed Oct. 24, 2013.

2.  DeVries, H., MBA; Baru, S, Ph.D.; Shapiro, J., Ph.D. “HOT Careers for College Grads and Returning Students 2014,” (special report). 2013. UC San Diego Extension. Available at Accessed Oct. 24, 2013.

New York State Comptroller’s Office Reports Slow Growth in Securities Jobs on Wall Street

Slow growth in Wall Street securities jobs

In its October 2013 report “The Securities Industry in New York City,” the New York Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) revealed sluggish job growth in the city’s securities industry as compared to employment growth in the private sector overall.

During the economic recovery, job growth in the entire private sector in New York City (NYC) has been strong, with twice as many jobs added than were lost during the recession, or 335,000 jobs. The securities industry hasn’t faired nearly as well, in fact less than 1 percent of jobs added were in securities, or 2,300 jobs. Overall, the OSC estimates that there are 13.5 percent fewer securities jobs in NYC now than there were prior to the financial crisis.

Reorganization and Streamlining Slow Job Growth

The New York OSC doesn’t expect rapid growth in securities employment any time soon, and predicts that the securities industry will continue to adopt a reorganization and streamlining mindset as it attempts to manage ongoing regulatory changes and a recovering economy.

Of the 2,300 securities jobs that were added, many were in specialized areas such as risk management and regulatory compliance (no surprise).

So if you’re hoping to launch your career in finance at a Wall Street firm in the near future, focusing on these specialty areas may increase your odds.

Economic Impact of Securities Industry in NYC Still Huge

While the outlook for securities jobs on Wall Street may be cautious at the moment, the industry itself has been profitable. According to the report:

In 2012, the securities industry earned $23.9 billion.

In the first half of 2013, the industry earned $10.1 billion.

And if you’re fortunate to be among those employed on Wall Street, you’re still averaging a significantly higher income than employees in other sectors. Granted, income levels took a hit during the financial crisis, but compensation is nearing the peak levels experienced in 2007 (an average salary of $401,500 was reported for that year) before the economy took a turn.

In 2012, the average salary for NYC securities employees was $360,700 – more than five times that of employees working in private sector jobs outside of the securities industry ($69,200 on average). Keep in mind that NYC is the worldwide headquarters of the finance and securities world, and some of the highest-paid securities employees are based in the city.

Nonetheless, while only 5 percent of private sector jobs are in securities, the industry accounted for 22 percent of private sector wages earned in 2012.  And the economic impact doesn’t stop there.

Increase in Securities Jobs Leads to Job Growth Elsewhere

Along with earning a sizeable income, high-paid workers, regardless of where they live, can help boost the economy simply because they have more disposable income and spend more money.

As it relates to securities careers in NYC, the OSC estimates that this translates to jobs added (or lost) in other industries:

One job created (or lost) in the securities industry = two jobs added (or lost) in other industries.

Clearly, the securities industry in NYC plays a crucial role in the city and state’s economy. Only time will tell when the growth in jobs in the industry will accelerate. If you’re looking to jump-start your finance career with an entry-level finance job on Wall Street, be prepared.

You might consider focusing on the specialized regulatory and risk management niches to get you in the door faster, or give yourself the edge and contact Doostang. We specialize in helping top finance and accounting grads and MBAs stand out. Visit our website to learn more.

Photo Source: Shutterstock


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 Accessed October 22, 2013.

Survey Shows Promise for Women Seeking Top Careers in Finance while Men Still Dominate

Promise for Women Seeking Top Finance Careers

Some intriguing highlights from a new survey of chief financial officers were released in advance of the October 2013 Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA) Annual Conference held in Indianapolis. One of the key findings shared was that many CFOs believe there are more career opportunities for women in finance and accounting than ten years ago.

The survey was conducted by staffing firm Robert Half,® and results were based on interviews with 2,100 CFOs from “a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets.”1

Improvement in the Past 10 Years Seen by 42 Percent

Specifically, the firm asked CFOs, “Compared to 10 years ago, in general, are there more or fewer opportunities for women to advance through the ranks in accounting and finance?”1

The responses broke down as follows:

Significantly more: 12 percent

Somewhat more: 30 percent

No change: 53 percent

Somewhat fewer: 3 percent

Significantly fewer: 1 percent

Don’t know: 2 percent

(Responses total more than 100 percent due to rounding.)1

Based on these results, 42 percent agreed that growth opportunities for women seeking an accounting or finance career have improved in the past 10 years. While this news is positive, more than half of the CFOs surveyed have seen NO change. Therefore, it seems as though women have a way to go before closing the gap on the number of high-level positions held in the finance and other industries vs. men.

Men Still Earn More than Women

It’s no secret that across all industries, men still earn more money than women. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men – and this number hasn’t budged in the past decade.2

Women are also under-represented in top-level positions and partnerships at accounting firms, according to research conducted by the American Institute for CPAs (AICPA). Only 19 percent of partners in CPA firms are women. This is a 2 percent decrease from the 21 percent reported in 2011.3

New Grad Finance Opportunities Abound for Both Sexes

While the struggling economy has made it difficult for many new graduates to find work in their chosen fields, recent finance and accounting graduates have plenty of opportunities to consider.

Recruiters in the finance and accounting industry are always looking for good talent – both for entry-level finance jobs and for positions that require more experience. It all depends on what you want to do, whom you want to work for and where.

If you’re willing to take a position at a smaller, private firm you could have an easier time finding that first or second job. On the other hand, if you aspire to work for one of the larger, elite firms – you will need to work hard to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

Where you attended school, which degrees and certifications you have acquired, your grades – these things are all important. But the competition for the best entry-level accounting jobs and finance gigs is stiff. Focusing on areas of specialty; finding great mentors; and building and working your professional network all need your attention if you want to rise to the top.

At Doostang, we are committed to helping you stand out from the competition.  To find out how we have helped other candidates land the accounting and finance positions they were striving for, check out Doostang success stories. To learn more about our services and process, visit our website and sign up today.

Photo Source: Shutterstock


1. “Career Paths Improving for Women In Finance And Accounting,” (press release). Menlo Park, Calif.: Robert Half® Finance & Accounting; Oct. 15, 2013. Available at Accessed Oct. 18, 2013.

2. Adams S. “Are Women Catching Up in Pay?” Forbes website,; April 9, 2013. Available at Accessed Oct. 18, 2013.

3. El-Ramly, Y. CPA/CITP. “Women’s initiatives: A strategic advantage.” Journal of Accountancy website,; September 2013. Available at Accessed Oct. 18, 2013.



How to Secure a Job Before Graduation


There are few things more stressful that figuring out how you are going to support yourself after you obtain your degree in finance. Stepping into the so-called “real world” is a frightening task that many often feel unprepared for. Lack of planning ahead of time can cause your career to start off on the wrong foot, so it’s important for you to take control of your future before it’s here. Therefore, be sure to follow these next few tips to help you land your first job and kick start your finance career before you take that walk across the stage!

Follow your passion

You’re never going to be motivated enough to find a job if you’re looking in all of the wrong places. Avoid choosing to apply for a position because of factors such as the salary, hours or the impression that the job may be easy. You do not want to get trapped in a finance career that you never wanted to be a part of in the first place; you may have a passion for finance, but specifically for accounting rather than investment banking.

The first job after college is the perfect time to pursue your passion with the degree you worked so hard for, so think outside the box with what you can do with your education and knowledge. Don’t shy away from a position because it’s an internship, it’s unpaid, has a low hourly salary, or if the road to your dream job seems too difficult from there. Starting your finance career is all about finding out if a certain career path within the industry is right for you.

Attend career fairs

Many finance professionals can say that their first job after college happened because of attending one of their university’s career fairs. While it was most likely an entry level job at first, they would probably agree that if it wasn’t for that first position, they wouldn’t be as successful and happy as they are now with their career.

Finance career fairs give you a chance to speak with employers, get your resume out there and show them in-person why you would be a great asset to their company. Career fairs also help you build worthwhile connections that don’t just help you land your first job, but may even help you in your career some time down the road.

Contact alumni

An entry level job doesn’t come easy, especially when it would be your first job after college and you haven’t built a solid base of professional connections just yet. An easy way for you to gain connections is to reach out to the alumni of your university. Many companies are attracted to candidates that obtained an education from an institution which they know is extremely credible. They have pride in where they received their degree and love having that in common with their employees.

LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are just a few of the outlets you can take advantage of to find finance professionals that attended your university. Therefore, make getting your first job a little easier on yourself by not being afraid to connect with people you’ve never met that are in the career field you desire to be in. The worst thing that could happen is that they don’t respond.

Many current professionals will say that getting your first job before you even have your diploma is one of the most satisfying and rewarding feelings you will ever have during your finance career. Even though the pay of an entry level job is most likely not what you’re hoping for, it is the experience that truly matters. Build up your resume one position at a time and you’ll get to that dream job you’ve always wanted.

Are you a recent graduate who was able to find a job before graduation? Please share with us how you approached your job hunt!