With an ever-increasing number of candidates intending to pursue a banking career, it has never been more competitive and demanding for fresh graduates, and it’s never been more important to write a great CV. Drive, ambition, a high degree of financial literacy and a clear understanding of the industry are key for getting into banking, and this needs to be the focus of your approach.
1. Name-drop your schools – banks like good schools and universities, particularly Oxbridge. They like the good education standards and they like the networks that they provide. If you went to a top University, make sure it’s highlighted in your profile.
2. Have great qualifications – anyone without a 2:1 and strong A levels is very unlikely to get past stage one. You need to be able to demonstrate that you are a grade A student and type A personality, and of course you’re going to need excellent results in relevant subjects.
3. Extra-curricular focus – the banks’ first cull will get rid of everyone without good grades, and quite a few for having typos. Once through, everyone else will also be academically excellent, so you need to make sure you stand out with extra academic or extra-curricular achievements. Do not be shy of including prizes, particularly high grades and relevant projects.
4. Use the right keywords – an IB CV needs to be targeted to get past computers as well as people. Applicant tracking systems do most of the early work these days, so if your CV doesn’t contain the right kind of keywords for your chosen position, you’ll struggle to get on shortlists. Research the area and find the most relevant phrases.
5. Find your USP – what’s your differentiator? What do you have that sets you apart from the competition? Standing out from the crowd in whatever positive way you can is crucial.
6. Triple check – typos will mean disqualification. Studies suggest 97% of hiring managers will reject a CV with two typos on it – make sure yours isn’t one of them.
7. Bulleted achievements – Powerful active verbs in the simple past tense are easy to read and exemplify a clean, uncluttered and decisive approach. Use bullets, make it easy to read and focus on tangible results.
8. Use relevant detail only – avoid unnecessary filler, focus on scope, context and scale. What did you do? What was the outcome? Make sure it’s clear to the reader how you’ve added value.
9. Show motivation and ambition – enthusiasm and passion is mission-critical to your application. Make sure you can demonstrate a longstanding interest in your field and convince the reader that this is what you’ve always wanted to do.
10. Show personality – robots aren’t great to be around in the office and banks want intelligent all-rounders. Extra-curricular interests are a good way to do this, preferably finance-related if possible.
Watch City CV’s latest video on this very subject here:
City CV can help with writing CVs, interview coaching, online applications, cover letters and the creation of LinkedIn Profiles. We work intensively with graduates seeking a role within banking or the Big Four and have collated over 400 real interview questions from banking and finance internship and graduate interviews. If you would like a copy to help you with your interview preparation, please email [email protected]. For anything else, please call us on +44 20 7100 6656.
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