Facts about Banking Cover Letters

There are tons of banking cover letter tips out there, along with templates that guarantee to earn interviews for you. If you analyse these tips and templates, they are all in and around a few points. Let’s take a fast track going through them.

Your cover letter won’t gain any attention. HR people may read it, but they don’t make hiring decisions. Analysts may read but for a very different reason: They simply want to look for mistakes.

Short is better than long.  Bear in mind your objective is ZERO MISTAKE. The less you write, the fewer chances you’ll make mistakes.

Get a Second Pair of Eyes to do Proof-Reading. Attention to detail is one of the earliest differentiators between an underperformer and a rockstar. If you misspell “investment” as “investmetn” without caring to do a spell-check, then you may probably also forget to convert Canadian dollars into US dollars. As a matter of fact, analysts & associates are harsh gatekeepers, and cover letters are an excellent way to sort applicants into “In” and “Out” piles.  You may not find any mistakes on your cover letter after reading it a hundred times. However a fresh pair of eyes may spot something immediately.

What Exactly to Write on Your Banking Cover Letter?

It’s a matter of [3 Why’s].

  1. Why this company?
  2. Why this particular role and business area?
  3. Why you?

According to Citi, these are what they expect from student cover letters.

  1. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the program you are applying to;
  2. Mention the networking events you might or have attended with Citi. However, ensure they are referenced professionally and have relevance to your application;
  3. Remember to highlight the achievements that have made you exceptional;
  4. Demonstrate your commercial awareness by showing your understanding of the financial news and current affairs. However, avoid copying and pasting the information from the internet;
  5. Make sure to double check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Attention to detail is vital;
  6. Formal writing style is best, not exceeding 1 page in length.

Try to weave these 6 points into the 3 [Why’s] and make it half page or 300 words.

Bottom line:  Spend time in improving your GPA, rather than spend time in improving your cover letter. Your GPA is guaranteed to be the first thing people look at on your resume.



7 Tips for Investment Banking Cover Letters

Want to write a good investment banking cover letter in no time? Here are 7 tips for you.

First of all, consider the readers – bankers. They are short of time, short on attention and not in the mood to find out details of your life, as what they want to see are supposed to be listed on your resume…your school, your GPA, your internship. So what should be written on a cover letter and how?

1. Short Strategy. Short cover letters immediately command attention, because bankers can read them in seconds. If you want your investment banking cover letter read, make it readable…make it short.

2. Be Personal. Start with the recruiter’s name (if you have it). Absent that just write “[Bank Name] Recruiting”. Never write “to whom it may concern”.

3. 2-P Strategy (2 paragraphs only). Sounds crazy, but true! Paragraph 1 – “role you are applying” + “Why that bank”. Paragraph 2 is all “About you”. “Short Strategy” again, no lengthy paragraphs and no non-sense please. Finally a “Warm Regards” sign off with your name. And these are all you need.

4. A killer first paragraph. You want to cover who you are, what you’re studying (including school, year, and possibly major), any relevant experience (e.g. IB internship) and what you’re applying for specifically. Wrap up with a mention of a person you know from the bank and why they’ve convinced you this is the bank for you.

5. “Why You” Second (and final!) paragraph. Mention education achievements and any leadership position at college (e.g. IB club leader). Follow up with your major work achievement/experience. Relate both achievements to how they’ve readied you and increased your passion for banking.

6. Make No Mistakes. Bankers love mistakes on your investment banking cover letter, because it means they don’t need to bother scheduling you in for an interview…you’re out. They’ll simply move on to another cover letter, as they have too many letters to read. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you. A fresh set of eyes will always find new problems. You can get your friends, and ideally an actual banker to review your cover letter.

7. No-nonsense Strategy. Avoid “I can start…”, “I want to do IB to learn…” and “I’ll ring you on Thursday to discuss further” …

If you’ve been sending cover letters to investment banks without many responses, imply these 7 strategies and see the results.