In a previous column, we talked about what to do once you’ve gotten an interview. For this entry, we’re going to go back and talk about the step that gets you into an interview in the first place: writing the perfect resume. Red Unida can connect you with as many job listings as you are qualified for, but without the right resume you won’t even get a foot in the door. Which is why we’re going to give you some helpful advice on how to make your resume stand out and get the results you want from our service.
If you’re looking for a senior level position in the financial industry, you’ve been through the resume-writing game before. Even so, you can’t just brush off updating your resume as a formality, especially if you’re taking the initiative and not waiting to be recruited into your next position. Your next employer and their headhunters are already out looking for and wooing potential candidates, and if you’re approaching them you need to make sure that your resume catches their eye and gets them interested enough in you to move with the recruitment process.
We’ll forgo going into detail on the most basic and obvious resume mistakes, like making sure your resume is clear of typos and not filling it with information that isn’t true (ESPECIALLY if that information is easily verifiable). Suffice it to say, all the basic steps you took on your first resume should be taken on your new one.
Aside from making sure that you didn’t misspell anything and that all the information is correct, what else can you do to make sure that your resume gets chosen out of all the other applicants? The key is to make it stand out. Remember, you are not going to be the only qualified candidate applying for a position. Your resume has to pop out of the crowd.
There’s a rule of thumb that gets told to new job seekers in the financial industry: the person reading your resume will spend 30 seconds or less reviewing it. The time spent considering senior level applicants may be longer than that, but the principle is the same. Your resume needs to stand out immediately. A person who has to review multiple applications and fill a senior position ASAP isn’t going to scour every one to find diamonds in the rough. They’re going to be looking for candidates who make an impression at first glance. Investment bankers are busy people. Hunting down personnel isn’t their first priority, and they’re used to making quick, last minute decisions.
All this is to say that what your resume should emphasize is why you are different from all the other candidates. You have a list of transactions you’ve worked on and deals you’ve made, but so does every other qualified applicant to the position. A history in the financial industry alone isn’t going to make you stand out; it’s just the base requirement.
More than that, your resume should make clear exactly what you contributed. Why did you working on an account get a better result because you worked on it? What did you do to get the trigger pulled on a deal that you believed in that then succeeded beyond expectations? How does your work experience not just show a history in the industry, but a history of success? When you have only a few words to work with, this isn’t always an easy thing to do. It’s a good thing then that you already have all the experience you need to know exactly what will stand out. All that experience you’re counting on to get you your next job will give you an eye for what other investment bankers will be looking for.
Consider the following: if your resume belonged to someone you’d never met and you had only thirty seconds to decide to put it aside or not, would you schedule an interview? Using the same eye you’ve developed that’s let you pick the right deals and make the right calls on transactions, does your resume look like a winner to you? When you’re searching for a new position, you are the product on the market that gets invested in or left behind.