Resume Cover Letter - For Investment Banking Jobs

A resume cover letter is a sales letter that lands you interviews. Stop writing it the hard way. Here are the two key elements for a job application letter unique to any investment banking positions: short and precise.

Investment bankers never have time to read long cover letters. They usually spend 20 seconds on each of them. Therefore you have a very tight word count and every word should add value.

Though a resume cover letter has to be short, you do need to get across a lot of messages in order to make the hiring manager wants to see you. Here is a formula.

A 20-second cover letter must answer all these questions precisely:

1. What are you doing?
2. What do you want to do?
3. What are you able to do?
4. What do you want the reader to do?

In my 12-years’ life as a headhunter for investment banking jobs, here is one of the most classic cover letters that I have read. I have re-phrased it in order to groom it up and protect the author’s privacy.

Trader Positions

Hello, my name is Anna Maria D’Souza and am currently trading live Asian markets for a $1 billion hedge fund in London. I am willing to relocate given the right fit and opportunity. In a nutshell, I have my own book as well as do some facilitation whenever I am needed. I have experience in a variety of products ranging from cash, options/derivatives, CB's, etc.

Please let me know who I should talk to in order to pursue opportunities.

Believe it or not, this cover letter generated three replies within five minutes, even without attaching a resume.

Obviously, this classic investment banking resume cover letter is from an experienced trader. What if we are a beginner or have less experience? Can we do something similar? Yes. Just copy my formula and answer the four questions I have set.

Here is a draft, assuming I am a fresh graduate. As nowadays almost all cover letters and resumes come through email, I have therefore omitted the traditional letter format.

Entry Level Analyst Position

Hello, my name is Anna Maria D’Souza. I have just obtained my master’s degree from the Yale University. My focus was on financial engineering and economics. I am looking for an entry level analyst position. I have been a quantitative analyst intern at Goldman Sachs and have a good understanding of the US and Asian markets.

I have attached my resume and would welcome an opportunity to meet you. Please contact me on 12345678 or email amd(at)email(dot)com

Remember, in a 20-second resume cover letter, every word counts. Every word should add value. Never write long sentences, such as ‘I take the liberty to submit my resume’ or ‘I would most appreciate it if you would call me for an interview’.

What if I am replying to an ad? Well, easy, this is going to be even simpler.   Something like this is sweet, short and attention grabbing.

I believe I have the qualities and drive that you are looking for in your advertised position of Equity Analyst in Please find attached my profile and resume for your reference.

I look forward to discussing my attributes and experience with you in detail.

You may not believe.  Bankers had too little time but too many cover letters/resumes to read.  When they read a cover letter or resume, their first step is not to look for a super star, but mistakes.  They disqualify you by spotting mistakes and your letter will go to the 'no' file.  The shorter you write, the least chance you'll make mistakes.

Need help to write your cover letter in an appropriate tone? Visit Jimmy Sweeney's website on
Amazing Cover Letters.

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