Resume Preparation

General Resume Preparation Hints

Resume Preparation for Investment Banking Analysts

General Resume Preparation Hints

Preparing Your Resume

Your resume is one of the most important tools in your career search strategy. It is often the first image of you that employers will see. It serves as a marketing device for your job candidacy. You should take great care in preparing your resume, paying attention not only to the content but also to formats, grammar, and spelling. The goal of a resume is to stress the strengths and accomplishments that set you apart from others seeking similar employment opportunities, and to get you that first interview.

It is recommended by most recruiters and career services offices that your resume be only one page. For those of you with multiple years of experience, this may be difficult. You must remember to delete anything from your resume that is not relevant to the position you are seeking. When describing your job responsibilities, highlight the most important accomplishments and skills. It is quality, not quantity that employers will notice.

Suggested Sections

Career Objective - This section is optional. Only use a career objective when you can state precisely the type of job you are seeking and the specific skills you can bring to this position. It tells employers that you know exactly what you want. Otherwise, leave the objective off your resume and use the cover letter to customize your contact with each employer. An exception to this rule regards changing careers when it is unclear from your resume the field you wish to move into. It is still important for you to state precisely the career you are seeking and how you can contribute to this new field.

Professional Summary/Profile- This section provides an opportunity for an experienced candidate to express personal and professional characteristics that he/she offers to a company. These highlights can appear in a short paragraph or bulleted form, and can be changed depending on the company, position description, and your career goals. It gives the reader a quick list of criteria that establishes a "fit" for the position.

Education - List post-secondary schools in reverse chronological order. Include the school, the city and state in which each school is located, the degree you earned or will be earning, the year the degree was/will be finished, your major and minor areas of study, and your grade point averages. Use comments to clarify or highlight relevant educational information. Other education, such as company-sponsored schools, study abroad, military schools, and seminars may also be included.

Experience - Be sure your information is in the present tense if you are currently employed and past tense if you are no longer with your last employer. In reverse chronological order, list the jobs you have held describing your responsibilities and accomplishments. Include the company name, the city and state, the position title(s), and the dates you were employed in that capacity. Use action words to illustrate what you did and your personal attributes, emphasizing teamwork, responsibility level, analytical ability, creativity, problem analysis, problem solving, and accomplishments (a list of action words is attached to give you some ideas). Use quantitative and concrete illustrations of results and contributions (e.g., sales, percentage increases, people managed, promotions, etc.) You can list military experience in this section, or create a separate section for Military Experience.

Activities/Honors/Skills/Publications - You can arrange these sections the way that best emphasizes your attributes. In this section(s) you should include membership in student organizations, scholarships and other academic honors and awards, community-related activities or awards, volunteer activities, membership in professional organizations, and publications in journals or newspapers. You may also want to list skills that distinguish you from other students, such as a unique computer skill or fluency in non-native languages. The information in this section should be relevant to the position you are seeking.

References - We recommend you create a separate page for your references that can be included depending on the application situation. Make sure the people you list are aware they have been included and are able to give you favorable recommendations. It is not necessary to put "References Available on Request;" employers know you have references and will ask for them when you become a finalist for the position.

It is up to you to decide how to structure the order of the various sections. Some choose to put education at the top, and others want to emphasize work experience by placing this section at the top. Whatever you choose, remember to make your resume reader-friendly. If the reader has to search for the information they are seeking, your resume is ineffective. The ultimate goal is to market yourself in the most positive light.

The Important Five

Your resume should not only give the reader an idea of your job skills and responsibilities, but should give them a feeling of how much you have accomplished and your value to the company and the position. There are at least five areas you should consider when describing your contributions: Analytical Ability, Intellect, Leadership Potential, Communication Skills, and Achievements/Accomplishments/Results.

Phrase your job responsibilities and duties as accomplishments in a results-oriented manner. It is the key to making a resume the best it can be. Use numbers, percentages, dollar signs, and before-after comparisons to quantify your results.

Good: Responsible for the daily operations of plant
Better: Management of plant operations led to a 20% increase in productivity; the 2nd highest in plant history

Good: Supervised team of 20 programmers on project
Better: Supervised 20 programmers on project that finished early and under budget

Good: Decreased customer complaints by 10%
Better: Implemented a customer service program that decreased customer complaints by 10%; a decrease of 5% more than during any of the previous 24 months

The Electronic Resume

Before you begin sending resumes electronically or through the Internet, you must first find out the format the employer can and will accept your resume. Many employers are hesitant to open attachments because of possible computer viruses. There is also the headache of equipment or software incompatibility - for example, having to convert MAC documents to PC documents and vice versa. Read the job posting carefully to determine the format the employer would like to receive your resume or send a preliminary e-mail asking them.

E-Mailing Your Resume
If the employer will accept attachments, the body of your e-mail should be your cover letter, and you should send your resume in an attached MS Word file (the most universal format). If the employer will not accept attachments, you must paste the resume into the body of your e-mail. When you have finished your cover letter and "signed" your name, you should insert one or two spaces and indicate the start of your resume with [begin resume] or "BEGIN RESUME." After the last line of your resume, you should indicated the end with [end resume] or "END RESUME."

Regardless of whether you send your resume as an attachment or as part of the body of the e-mail, you should send it as a plain-text document, in what is also called DOS or ASCII file. You will need to create a "scannable resume" which will serve your purpose, whether or not the company utilizes document scanning technology. Your cover letter and resume should not be sent to the employer as separate messages; they should go as one unified e-mail message.

Sometimes you will be asked to submit your scannable resume by mail or fax (although faxed resumes are more difficult to read). You may also be asked to submit your resume to an employer's website directly.

The Scannable Resume

Many companies are now using document scanning technology so they can eliminate the process of passing your paper resume around to different offices. This technology allows the company to scan your resume into a database that is available to all managers who might be seeking new employees. It also allows the employer to enter key words into the search engine of the database in order to view only those resumes that meet specific requirements.

The first thing you need to accept when creating a scannable resume is the fact that it will not be a creative, "attractive" document. It is plain, yet functional. The company will greatly appreciate a readable, content quality resume over a resume filled with fancy type that isn't scannable into their system.

The content of your scannable resume should be the same as your word-processed resume - highlight your skills, accomplishments, education, honors, and work experience. As opposed to the traditional resume though, it must be formatted in plain text, without any fancy type or graphics.

Formatting Tips for the Scannable Resume

*All text should be left-justified; name, address, titles, etc.
*Eliminate all bullets, graphics, bolding, italics, underlining, highlighting, and tabs
*If you must use "bullets," use asterisks (*), pluses(+), or dashes(-)
*Avoid page or section borders and boxes
*Do not use any columns or tables in your resume
*Be sure all text lines contain fewer than 65 characters
*Use all capital letters in section headings instead of bolding
*Use a standard type size and font - Courier or Times New Roman; 11 or 12 points
*Once it is saved, check your scannable resume for spacing or margin problems and stray characters
*Do not use colored or textured paper if you are mailing a scannable resume
*If mailing the resume, send in a flat envelope without folding. Do not staple multiple pages
Many companies will list the specific guidelines for submitting resumes to them through the mail, web, or e-mail. For best success with each particular company, you should closely adhere to these guidelines.

Key Words in a Scannable Resume

Think about the skills and requirements of the job and determine what key words an employer might be seeking in a resume. As opposed to the traditional resume where we focus on action verbs, the scannable resume must focus on key nouns and phrases that might be used as search terms.

Use terms and familiar industry acronyms. If you are applying for an accounting position, you will need "certified public accountant" as well as "CPA" on your resume. It is wise to use both the abbreviation and write out the skill, task, etc. (i.e. CAD and computer-assisted design). You might consider adding a "key skills" section to your resume that will allow you to use more of the words, phrases and jargon with which employers are more familiar.

Action Words

 Accelerated  Contracted  Fabricated  Manipulated  Restored
 Accomplished  Contributed  Facilitated  Marketed  Retrieved
 Accounted  Controlled  Familiarized  Measured  Reviewed
 Achieved  Coordinated  Fashioned  Mediated  Revised
 Acquired  Corresponded  Filed  Motivated  Scheduled
 Adapted  Counseled  Focused  Negotiated  Screened
 Administered  Created  Forecast  Observed  Secured
 Advised  Critiqued  Formulated  Operated  Selected
 Advocated  Dealt  Found  Organized  Served
 Aided  Debated  Generated  Oversaw  Simplified
 Allocated  Delegated  Guided  Originated  Sold
 Analyzed  Delivered  Headed  Participated  Solidified
 Applied  Demonstrated  Hired  Performed  Solved
 Appraised  Designed  Identified  Persuaded  Specified
 Approved  Determined  Illustrated  Planned  Staffed
 Arbitrated  Developed  Implemented  Predicted  Started
 Arranged  Devised  Improved  Prepared  Stimulated
 Assembled  Diagnosed  Improvised  Presented  Streamlined
 Assessed  Directed  Indoctrinated  Prioritized  Strengthened
 Assigned  Discovered  Influenced  Processed  Stressed
 Assisted  Dispatched  Informed  Produced  Structured
 Attained  Displayed  Initiated  Programmed  Succeeded
 Audited  Distinguished  Innovated  Projected  Summarized
 Balanced  Distributed  Inspected  Provided  Supervised
 Based  Documented  Inspired  Published  Supported
 Budgeted  Diversified  Instituted  Purchased  Surveyed
 Built  Drafted  Instructed  Questioned  Synthesized
 Calculated  Drew  Integrated  Recommended  Tabulated
 Catalogued  Earned  Interpreted  Reconciled  Taught
 Chaired  Edited  Interviewed  Recorded  Trained
 Clarified  Educated  Introduced  Recruited  Transferred
 Classified  Effected  Invented  Reduced  Translated
 Coached  Eliminated  Investigated  Referred  Traveled
 Collated  Enabled  Involved  Regulated  Treated
 Collected  Encouraged  Installed  Rehabilitated  Trimmed
 Communicated  Engineered  Judged  Reinforced  Uncovered
 Compiled  Enlisted  Launched  Reorganized  Updated
 Completed  Established  Lectured  Repaired  Upgraded
 Composed  Evaluated  Led  Represented  Utilized
 Computed  Examined  Lobbied  Researched  Validated
 Conceived  Executed  Located  Resolved  Visualized
 Conceptualized  Exhibited  Maintained  Responded  
 Conducted  Expanded  Managed    
 Confronted  Expedited      
 Consolidated  Explained      
 Constructed  Expressed      
 Contained  Extracted      



We are providing a guideline for the Investment Banking Analyst who is preparing a resume for the second time in his or her career. We encourage you to use whatever tips or suggestions you feel are relevant to your personal situation. While certain resume layouts and language used will be similar when comparing your resume to others, it is important that your resume have your "own unique personality".

The main objective of the resume is to get an interview with a firm that interests you. This is accomplished by selecting relevant content and then visually displaying it. Content and layout are both important. Content includes three areas:

Product and transaction experience
Academic accomplishments

The layout directs the reader's attention to the most important items. Directing the reader's attention is accomplished by using various tools, including:

Type size
Different enhancements
Positioning of information on the page


Personal Contact Information

Name - should be bold, with a type size at least two points larger than the main body of the resume. It can be all upper case or a combination of upper and lower case.

Mailing Address - Use non-bold type with the same size as the main body of the resume.
Telephone Numbers - include the telephone number where you can be reached most frequently. If you have concerns over confidentiality, then include a home or mobile number. You should make sure voicemail is available.
Email Address - if you have a work and personal email address, use the personal address for confidentiality.

Current Employer Experience

If you are seeking a career opportunity with another employer, start your work experience section with your current position. Be sure your information is in the present tense if you are currently employed and past tense if you are no longer with your last employer.

Proper Listing Format

Company name - should always stand alone in bold upper and lower case


CS First Boston
Technology Group
Financial Analyst

Skills and Product Experience

As an Analyst, you have developed certain skills generic to the position. These skills should be organized together in the same part of the resume. The most common resume includes an introductory paragraph illustrating the skills you have developed. Most of the people who will interview you know you have developed these skills. They will be concerned with how you have used these skills on the transactions in which you participated.

Examples of these skills, with various wording include:

(Please note that for your current position, verbs should be in the present tense. For previous positions, use the past tense).

Developed and analyzed financial statements

Performed extensive financial valuation work

Performed qualitative and quantitative acquisition alternatives

Performed discounted cash flow analysis

Provided merger analysis

Interacted with senior management teams

Conducted due diligence

Performed comparable company analyses

Analyzed IPOs and follow-on equity offerings, public company buy-side and sell-side opportunities, and exclusive sales

Developed and enhanced financial models

Interacted with senior management

Drafted offering memoranda and prepared investor presentations

Developed financing models to reflect industry trends

Developed innovative alternative capital structures for company management

Transaction Experience

This is an important section of your resume. It will be a very important focus for most of your interviews. Prospective employers want to know:

  • Who were the participants (if publicly announced)?
  • How important was the role you played?
  • Did the deal happen or not happen? If it did not happen, why not?
  • Was the deal a successful one?
  • What did you learn from this deal?
  • How has the transaction performed since the deal closed?

Only list the deals about which you can knowledgeably answer questions. Include transactions that you worked on which may not have closed. Be sure not to disclose information regarding any transactions that might compromise confidentiality. Use a phrase to set this section apart, such as:

Selected transactions include:

Representative transactions include:

You should definitely use tools to add visual interest to this area, including:

Bold print

If you finished at the top of the Analyst class or have been the Analyst recruiting coordinator for your undergraduate school, you should include this information after you have covered the skill set, product experience and deal sections. We recommend using italics to highlight this information.

Work Experience During College

This section is important because it will most likely be an interview topic. If you had a leadership role in an organization or on an athletic team, stress those items.


This section should have only one or two pieces of important information per line and have layouts similar to the following:

Stanford University
BS in Mechanical Engineering, May 2005

You should also include your GPA and SAT/GMAT scores, if they were impressive. Optional items should include honors, leadership activities, foreign study and activities.

Stanford University
BS in Mechanical Engineering, May 2005
SAT Math: 750; SAT Verbal: 720; GMAT: 760

Senior Thesis: List title of thesis
Honors: National Merit Scholarship
Leadership Activities: Senior Class Vice President


This section is important because it provides insight into your personal interests. It provides some topics that might be used as subjects to discuss as you begin your interviews.

You should include four or five interests such as running, art, golf, volunteer activities, etc., language skills (including your level of proficiency).

Typographical Recommendations

Below are typographical recommendations:

  • Select a conservative font, such as Arial or Times Roman
  • Select a font size between 10 and 12 points
  • Your name should be in upper case bold
  • Category topics (Experience, Education and Personal) should be bold and left justified
  • Use a line to separate personal data and the rest of the resume
  • Chronological timeline is left justified and not bold
  • Location of your experience and education is right justified and not bold
  • E-mail address entirely in lower case
  • Use bullets SPARINGLY, or else their overuse can dilute their effectiveness

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