What Investment Banks Really Look For
You will usually find tick-box criteria for getting a graduate job or internship within a bank. These filter systems are used by HR departments to filter between the masses of applicants.
Once you get past that initial stage, investment banks will be looking for four key traits within your CV and job application.
1) A strong work ethic
There is nothing more infuriating for an investment bank than a new hire who doesn’t appreciate the hours and intensity involved in the job. You need to make sure you don’t give the impression that you could be one of them.
Firstly, they want to see that you have an understanding of the work environment within a bank and why it appeals to you.
Secondly, they will look for evidence of a busy work life up until this point. A great example of this would be through sustained part time employment throughout university and high school alongside your studies.
This demonstrates self motivation, good time management and most importantly a strong work ethic which will be desired by all teams within a bank.
2) An ability to understand complex topics quickly
Investment banks are busy – nobody wants to explain the same process repeatedly to a new hire. It’s not that they are unsympathetic, but they certainly want to avoid spending that time if they don’t have to.
For that reason, it is essential to demonstrate that you have experience learning new and complex things.
Sometimes your degree choice does this automatically (Maths, Physics), but anything that demonstrates your ability to learn quickly will help to persuade them that it won’t take long for you to make a positive contribution to their team.
3) Social skills
The reality in investment banking is that you will spend more time with your work colleagues than with your own family and friends, particularly at the start of your career. For this reason, it is important for a team to know that they will be able to get on with their new colleague.
A great way to demonstrate this is showcasing any active involvement with clubs or societies – especially if you were voted into a responsible position. A good example of this is captaining a school sports team, or being part of a university committee.
4) Bring a hard skill to the table and spell out how it can help the team
Nobody expects a new hire to perform well straight away, without training. However, if you can bring something to the table from day one that helps convince them you will take less time to train, this will be a very strong reason for them to offer you the position over others.
A few examples:
- Statistical analysis
- Mastery of Excel
- Strong research skills
- A deep understanding of politics
- The ability to code
Most importantly, you need to be able to describe previous situations where you have managed to use this skillset to achieve results.
This will help the hiring manager envision how you could add real value to their team in a short space of time.
In the current economic climate, it will be even more challenging than normal to get onto an investment banking internship or graduate program. The competition for these positions is fierce, and you will need to make sure your CV and job application are as strong as possible.
IndustryCV has reviewers with a senior level background in investment banking, who have experience in the process of making the famously ruthless hiring decisions.
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