Who Reads Your Investment Banking Resume

Want to write an investment banking resume? Before doing do, there are two questions you want to ask. (1) Who reads your resume? (2) How your resume is being read?

Knowing answers to the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘when’ questions will greatly help you write an effective investment banking resume.

How Bankers Read Your Resume

There are plenty of resume tips out there – and even investment banking resume templates, but are they really what you need? Well, banking resume is a unique type of resume that not a normal professional resume writer will be able to help.  You would need someone from inside investment banking to help.

  1. Who actually takes time out of their busy day to read what your resume?
  2. When will they read your resume?
  3. How much time do they spend on reading your resume?
  4. What bankers look for when reading resumes?

Who Reads Your Resume?

At the initial screening stage, analysts will read your resume, if you’re applying for an analyst position.

If you’re from a “target school” that many banks recruit at – then analyst alumni from your school will review your resume.

Otherwise HR might just hand it off randomly to whoever ‘has the bandwidth’.

Likewise, for associate positions, associates will review your resume if you’re applying for an associate position. Once again, alumni from your school will do it if they’re available.

They’ll then decide who will be interviewed.

When Do Bankers Read Your Resume?

Last-minute. Bankers rush around hours, they will only select interviewees minutes before deadline.

How Long Do They Spend Reading Your Resume?

30 seconds. As Anna writes on her Investment Banking Resumes blog, you have a golden 30 seconds to impress the analysts reviewing your resume.

With thousands of resumes received each year, no one has time to spend scrutinizing every last detail.

What Bankers Look For In Resumes?

Mistakes – In the first place, they won’t look for qualified candidates. Instead, they look for mistakes, even the tiniest ones, to disqualify candidates.  If this sounds something new, you may need to adjust your mindset to accept this fact.  That way they can quickly set 3 quarters of the resumes to the ‘no’ file.  Only if your resume survives through this stage, your other content will be read with a little more attention.

Names, GPAs – they look for university namesemployer names, and GPA. Be sure you make all these stand out by making them bold. I have come across some hiring managers who are not interested in candidates with GPA lower than 3.5. Although it could be a matter of individual preference, but if you don’t list yours, you will be assumed as doing very bad. So unless you are really bad, please include it on your resume. On the contrary, you don’t have to include your GPA if you have already a few years of experience, unless your score is exceptionally high.

So having a brand-name university and brand-name internships helps a lot – as does a good GPA.


Bankers also pay attention to your Interests because it’s at the end and therefore easy to skip to.

Reading resumes is a boring job. At the end of the day, they don’t want to bore themselves further and want to interview ‘interesting’ people.  If space permits, yes, do list your interests/hobbies and keep it short. Avoid cooking or bird viewing. Include football team member or club financial secretary or any other activities that will grant you credit on leadership, team building and achievements.

How Many Time You Should Revise Your Resume ?

Knowing about the ‘who’, ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘when’ elements of reading an investment banking resume, will you still care to edit your resume hundreds of times? It’s just not worth it because bankers spend so little time reading it.

Use an appropriate template, make 2 or 3 rounds of edits to create a finished draft. Get a second pair of eyes to proof read. That’s it.

Your time is much better spent networking.  Network with bankers, avoid HRs.

Closing Thoughts

Bankers spend barely any time reviewing your resume, but you need to have a good one to get interviews.

So use one of the templates offered on this site, focus on the 2 or 3 key experiences you want to highlight, and get another pair of eyes on it before you submit anything.

After all, you only have 30 seconds to impress.

Still want additional help? Contact someone from Inside Investment Banking to assist.