PURPOSE OF YOUR RESUME
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.
DEVELOPING YOUR RESUME
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
||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.
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
RESUMES THAT CAN BE SCANNED BY
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
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
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
The important things to remember when designing the format
of your resume are:
- Make it sharp
- 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.
"In New York" Resume
SECTIONS IN THE RESUME TEMPLATES
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
- 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.