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Resumes are the pieces of paper that recruiters are going to use to determine those people whom they want to interview. Nothing more or nothing less. Therefore, it is important that you organize and highlight your strengths. You should have several people proofread it and comment on its presentation. Your personal contacts in the field of investment banking or your chosen field are the single best resource to use for improving your resume. Career counselors, such as those at the UA Career Center, can also help with the review process.

Your final resume should be professional, efficient, and effective. Do not go for any unusual presentation of your resume. This is not to say you should refrain from listing unusual work experience or skills on your resume, just don't use colored fonts, etc. Your goal is to NOT have your resume go immediately into the round file (trash can). Therefore, you want your credentials to stand on their own when documented on your resume.

Sending your resume is only the first step to getting an interview. After you have your resume in the investment bank, you will then call and contact them persistently until you get an interview. Thus, don't stress out if your resume is really nice, but not spectacular, even after you and others have worked on it for several months during your job search.

The important thing to remember is that it will take you many tens of hours of reviewing and revising to properly develop the final version of your resume. But once you have your resume done then you can concentrate on the other aspects of job hunting.


The first step in developing your resume is to read the book called What Color is Your Parachute?. This book is one of the most valuable job search resources for any career. Among other things, it explains resumes and how to assemble the needed information. Basically, before beginning your resume you first need to organize your work experiences, scholastic achievement, and extracurricular activities.

Just Resumes (book) There are several resume books available at local bookstores that contain examples of resume formats for many careers. A good one is Just Resumes: Second Edition by Kim Marino. Basically, just look for any recently published book with a lot of resume examples.

NOTE:  Even though this particular book has a lot of really good resume advice, I disagree with the couple of cover letter examples. The

letters use weak structures like "...look forward to hearing from you" rather than more confident phrases such as "...I will call you".

The University of Alabama Career Center also has an excellent book called the
Job Search Manual that contains resume examples, among other things. It is a handbook about subjects ranging from resumes to interview trips to job offers.
UA Career Center Job Search Manual

Once you have all your information together and a style of resume that you find appealing then make a preliminary resume.

When you have a resume, get as many people to review it as possible. It is especially important that you get professionals in your chosen field to review your resume. Listen closely to their advice and work on areas they have questioned. Repeat the revision and reviewing process until you have the perfect document - perfect grammar, vocabulary, organization, and visual appeal on the right paper. Even though it is "perfect", you should continue to slightly revise your resume throughout your job search.


Investment banks sometimes scan resumes for storage in a database. Some resume books will tell you how to make your resume generate a lot of hits when certain keywords are used to search the resume database. However, if your resume is optimized for database searching then it seems like it becomes less optimized for human readers.

There are a couple of easy steps that can make your resume good for computers and people alike. Use white, ivory, or light gray paper with easy-to-read fonts such as Arial or Times Roman. Limit your use of italicizing and underlining. Use a healthy spattering of industry jargon but not too much. It always seems that experts are more selective in using jargon than those who are novices.

Besides, remember that your strategy for job hunting is active rather than passive; you will not depend on being picked from a line-up through database searches.


If you have a favorite style of resume, then, by all means, use it. However, I have converted the resume format that I used during my job search into two generic resumes for your use (the information on the resumes is fictitious). These are the final documents that my review and job search processes produced. Expand and modify them as much as you need. Don't feel like you must use this resume format. I've flipped through the resume books for various Ivy League schools and have seen a number of variations.

The important things to remember when designing the format of your resume are:

  1. Make it sharp
  2. Present your skills and experience professionally

The resumes were written in Word 97. The documents are divided into two columns immediately after the name and address sections. The only difference between the standard resume and the New York resume is that the New York resume has two address sections, the hotel's address and a home address.

Note that both resumes were written to be geared toward analyst recruiters at investment banks. If you need a resume for another field, look for examples in the resume books found at most bookstores.

Standard Resume
"In New York" Resume


The Objective of the resume is pretty generic, but it covers the stated purpose of most analyst positions.

The Qualifications section of the resume highlights the best points of your resume. Try not to just duplicate information, but rather integrate your objective and the background presented in the rest of the resume.

Please note that the bulleted lines in the templates are separated by empty lines of size 2 font to help visually delimit each Qualifications item. Use this form of spacing to line up items in both columns. An even better format would be to use tables and spacing after lines. Unfortunately, at the time of my job search, I did not know about these techniques.

The Education section identifies important items, such as your major, grade point average, honors, and extracurricular activities. Bulleted items work well here since most of your lines are high-impact but short.

The Experience section is one of the most important. Get a lot of help from other people when trying to describe your positions in strong, but understandable, language. Use as many numbers as possible in this section and your resume as a whole. Things like "cut costs by 60%", "saved $4,000", and "improved productivity by 25%", when combined with an explanation, work well. Be prepared, however, for questions during your interviews about how you arrived at these figures.

The Additional section is where you can put interesting things about yourself. Include the countries that you have traveled extensively, team sports you enjoy (not solo ones since you want to exude "team player"; golf is an exception), and anything else interesting.


The information in the following section may be different from what you already think. That is OK, just be sure to develop a resume and have it reviewed by as many people in your chosen field as possible.

  • Unique things on resumes catch recruiters' eyes. This means that one or two extraordinary events, awards, skills, or roles of leadership can have a place on your resume. The purpose of unique things on your resume is to use the recruiters' curiosity to start a conversation leading to an interview date.

  • Emphasize leadership activities on resume.

  • Place education above work experience to show that you are currently graduating.

  • Put your resume on one page. I have struggled with this one for years. One page, two pages, one page, two pages, one page... It is much easier to have a high-impact resume when the information is visually together. Adjust the paper margins (no less than 3/4 inch around) and fonts (no smaller than size 10) to fit your information on one page. You are trying to achieve a balance of presenting all your strengths with adequate explanations while not loading up your resume with incoherent junk.

  • Put References on a separate sheet. There is no need for "References Available Upon Request" to be placed on your resume anymore; this is now implicitly known. Download this Word 97 example of a reference sheet for guidance.

  • Condense a long list of honor societies down to "Member of Five National Honor Societies" or a similar phrase to free space on your resume.

  • Use two columns on your resume. One column will contain your section labels and work dates while the other column will contain your information.

  • Use a "Qualifications" section to highlight and integrate the information presented on your resume.

  • Print the final versions of your resume on good paper such as 100% cotton, 20-lb. white paper with watermarks. You can buy this paper at Wal-Mart in Tuscaloosa or Staples in New York.

  • A good rule to follow when developing your resume (or in your whole job process):  if more than one person comments on something positively, such as the responsibilities of your current job, then be sure to keep it on your resume or even emphasize it. If more than one person comments negatively on something, then be sure to follow their aggregate advice and change the negative item.

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