Our guide to a top-notch CV fit for a bank.

Your CV is the very first impression your potential employer will get of you. Think about this, investment banks receive thousands of CV’s on a yearly basis. Given this number the selection process is brutal – it has to be, or the HR teams will soon become over-whelmed. Any errors or things that just don’t seem to add up on your CV will result in immediate elimination.

Speaking from my own experience, I recently interviewed a candidate for a job at the investment bank that I work for.
I was given his CV a couple day’s ahead of his interview, immediately I found myself getting slightly annoyed – the chronology of his career to date did not add up. I thought that I would give him the benefit of the doubt and allow him to clarify a few points that I had picked up on during the interview.

The moral of this story is that he unwittingly had already put himself on the back foot with me.

During the interview we spent a good fifteen minutes working through his work experience because it became apparent that he was confusing himself with his explanation. Don’t forget banking is a highly pressurised profession and therefore time is precious, and you don’t want to be wasting your interviewer’s time because you haven’t put in the effort to get your house in order before the interview. Nothing is more frustrating to bankers than this – so be warned. I am sorry to be savage, but honesty is important and only honest insights are valuable to you.

That said, I do want to help you prepare a top CV and avoid creating bad impressions the next time you submit your CV for a job.

Here are a few tips:

1. Consider a one-page CV, it’s a snapshot of who you are not an autobiography. Banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan prefer one-page CV’s.

2. Be concise, as with point 1 if you are going to create a one-page CV – cut the crap. If it has nothing to do with the job you are applying for or doesn’t tell the reader anything about who you are, leave it out!

3. Look over your CV, spelling errors are unforgiveable. If there are holes in your CV prepare an answer, be honest! Does your CV read back smoothly? Does it make sense?

4. Talk through your work experience, not too much remember you are trying to fit it all on one page. Make sure the dates make sense, if they don’t and you are lucky enough to make it to the interview, you’ll spend precious time explaining yourself instead of talking about how awesome you are.

5. Detail your education, you worked for you achievements so there is nothing wrong in highlighting them.

6. Highlight your relevant skills, your interviewer wants to get these ASAP!

7. Talk a bit about your passions outside of work, this will tell your interviewer something about the type of person you are. This is becoming increasingly important when banks recruit new team members.

8. Study, study and study your CV you need to memorise it. Don’t read back your CV to your interviewer…alarm bells will soon ring in their head if you do.

9. Tweak your CV based on the job your applying for – there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to CV’s.

Remember, as a document your CV should evolve as you do. Ask friends and colleagues to read through your CV and provide feedback. Keep changing and updating it, even when you are in employment to make sure you always have it up to date – who knows when you might be asked to apply for that promotion.

Follow our tips and the rest – piece of cake!

Look out for some of our other blogs to help you prepare for a job interview.

By Sanu – Founder, CheekyLittleCareers