Investment Banking Cover Letter Mergers And Inquisitions Dcf

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We’re going to continue our series on investment banking resume templates and go through how you should write about investment banking experience in this article.

You can actually use a similar template for anything in finance, whether you worked on the sell-side or buy-side.

But you can’t use it for everything.

Who Should Use This (or a Similar) Template:

  • Students who have had banking / finance internships (you will need to make some modifications, e.g. put Education at the top instead).
  • Current Analysts and Associates.
  • Anyone in other front-office finance roles who is now looking for something else within finance.

Who Should Not Use This Template:

  • Anyone applying to business school – for that you want to present a more “balanced” picture of what you’ve done.
  • Older, more experienced people – if you have worked on 20+ deals you will need a separate page for listing everything. This usually only happens at the VP-level and above.
  • Anyone working outside finance or anyone interested in moving to something outside finance – the Peace Corps doesn’t care if you know what EBITDA means.

The Template, The Video, and the Tutorial

As before, here’s the template in Word and PDF format:

And here’s the overview video:

(For more free training and financial modeling videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.)

And here’s the same tutorial in text format:

What’s Different In This Version

Actually, a lot of this is the same as in our university student template: the area at the top with your name and contact information, the overall format of the resume, and format of each work experience entry (name and position left-aligned, location and dates right-aligned, summary sentence, etc.).

What’s Different:

  • The Order – Work Experience on top, Education below that and Skills/Activities/Interests below that. Note: If you were an intern and are still in school you should keep Education on top.
  • The Focus – We are focusing much more heavily on your investment banking experience and have cut back on the rest.

Why?

Yes, you can include previous internships and jobs as well but you should make your banking experience take up most of your resume.

If you’re an intern returning to school, it’s fine to leave in previous internships but I would not devote as much space to them.

About the Banking Experience

You should give 1 or 2 summary sentences, and then go straight into your deal experience (or if you worked on the buy-side, “Investment Experience”).

The summary sentence should:

  • Give the number and types of deals you’ve worked on.
  • Say that you completed valuations, models, due diligence, research, and client presentations (or anything else – add and subtract from here as needed)

Research and qualitative items are OK to include but try to focus on clients / deals / technical work because those are what interviewers care about.

If you didn’t work on deals (if you were an intern) or didn’t do much substantial work, there are ways around it – which we’ll get into below.

Picking Deals / Clients to Write A <pbout

Once you have your summary sentence, you need to decide WHICH deals / clients / investments to write about.

If you were an intern, this is easy: take what you can get. Unless you were a miracle summer analyst and somehow worked on 10 transactions, you can usually point to a few major projects.

For those working in banking full-time, it’s more difficult to decide what to write about.

Some guidelines:

  • Aim for between 2 and 4 deals total – just 1 looks strange, and more than 4 is excessive to get your points across. In THIS template there are more than 4 deals, but that’s because I wanted to give you examples of how to write about different deal types.
  • Try to have a mix of “high-profile” or larger deals that catch recruiters’ attention (e.g. Microsoft / Yahoo) and deals where you contributed something more substantial (this one is more relevant for full-time bankers).
  • M&A / Restructuring deals are better to write about than IPOs or other Equity-related deals. Debt Financings can be ok depending on what you did. Anything “unusual” like divestitures, distressed sales, etc. is also good to write about and talk about in interviews.

See Also:Private Equity Resumes for more on this topic.

It’s not the end of the world if you’ve mostly worked on IPOs. Despite rumors to the contrary, you can get into PE without having M&A or Leveraged Finance experience.

Whether or not a deal was officially announced doesn’t matter: just replace company names with industry descriptions (“Biopharmaceutical Company”) for unannounced transactions.

What to Do If You Don’t Have “Real” Deals

If you don’t have many “official” deals, you should turn whatever you did during the summer into “pending” or “potential” deals.

The more that happened, the better, but as long as you did something you can write about it as if it were a potential transaction.

Were you doing research on companies for a client or prospective client? Sounds like a “Potential” Buy-Side M&A deal to me.

Did the CEO approach you and ask your team to pitch for the business? Did you do a valuation and research potential buyers? That’s a “Potential” Sell-Side M&A deal, even if you didn’t do much more than the pitch book (if you’re paranoid, you can label this type of experience a “Pitch” instead).

You don’t need to list “deals” if it’s too much of a stretch – in that case, just go with a summary sentence and a few more descriptive bullets on what you did.

Writing About Deals

Within each entry, list the dollar/Euro/other currency amount – estimating if you don’t know for sure – and list the company that you were representing first.

“Media Company’s Acquisition of Software Company” would imply that you represented the Media Company on the buy-side.

Use “Potential” or “Pending” for deals that haven’t been announced or closed yet, and only give the names if it’s publicly known.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This advice assumes that you actually have some closed deals. If you have worked on several deals but nothing has closed yet, it’s best not to draw attention to that fact – so you should leave out this “Pending” or “Potential” language and act as if everything is “ongoing” (and be ready to outline the next steps in the process).

Aim for 1-2 bullets for each deal – if you can summarize it with 1 bullet, do that, but if you need more than that you could split up what you did into “qualitative” and “quantitative” parts and use a 2-bullet structure.

I’ve mentioned the “Specifics; Results” structure before and the same applies here – but you need to be careful about what you write:

  • Focus on modeling or valuation work if possible in your “specifics” segment – due diligence or other qualitative work may be ok as long as you can make it sound good in an interview. Try to link anything qualitative to how it was used in the transaction.

In the template here, the banker is using the buyer list he created for the Restructuring deal as the “specifics” and then giving the “results” by writing that it was used in Chapter 11 proceedings to show that the price was fair.

(“Fair” may sound ridiculous to you if you haven’t worked in finance before, and it would take me about a page to explain the term here – but for now just keep in mind that the work he did was used in court proceedings, which makes it good to write about.)

  • The level of detail for each deal depends on how much space you have and the rest of your resume. If this is your first and only full-time work experience, be as detailed as you can, but if you have lots of other solid entries then you don’t need to write a Wikipedia page about each entry.

In this template, the banker has gone into detail on some deals and hasn’t written much about others – which is fine.

  • Be very careful about your “results” for each deal. If you write something like, “Negotiated 10% lower purchase price,” you’re going to get called on it in interviews because Analysts and Associate don’t “negotiate” anything (except for food prices at closing dinners, maybe…).

If your work impacted the deal, that’s fine – but be careful with your wording and make sure that you frame the results as you having “supported” the senior bankers.

Also, don’t feel pressured to include false “results” – if all you did was create a presentation, just write that rather than pretending you made $10 million for your firm.

What to Do If…

Here are answers to some other common questions:

You’ve Had Multiple Investment Banking Internships

You can still include the other internships, but cut back on how much you include, and keep the focus on your current or most recent one.

You Had Experience in Private Equity, at a Hedge Fund, or Something Else Outside Banking

Still include a summary sentence but write about “Selected Investment Experience” instead and list the investments / potential investments you worked on.

Focus on modeling, due diligence, and how your work impacted the deal process (if that’s what happened).

See the video for more detail and an example of how to do this.

You Can’t Fit Everything On One Page and You Don’t Live in Australia

Decrease the font size, cut out experience, or do whatever it takes to get it on 1 page. 2 pages is still not appropriate in most regions, unless you have dozens of deals and need separate page(s) for them.

You Didn’t Have Any “Real” Deals

See above.

The Rest of the Resume

Again, it’s fine to leave in other Work Experience but you shouldn’t focus on it quite as much – which is why this section has been reduced here.

Education should be shorter if you’re working full-time – no one cares that you were on the Dean’s List. GPA and standardized test scores are fine to keep in. If you’re still a student, you can keep this section more detailed.

Skills, Activities & Interests should also be shorter (it’s named differently here as well) because people care even less what activities you were in once you’ve been working for awhile.

Again, students can keep this section more detailed but don’t go overboard.

Caveat Emptor

So that’s a quick overview of what’s in this template and how to use it – please do not just copy this blindly unless you want to get a lot of questions you can’t answer in interviews.

Use the basic format and style and adapt it to what you actually did.

Note: Also, I assume no liability in case this template does not, in fact, get you into KKR.

Still Need More Help?

Introducing: Premium Investment Banking-Specific Resume/CV and Cover Letter Editing Services

We will take your existing resume and transform it into a resume that grabs the attention of finance industry professionals and presents you and your experience in the best possible light.

When we’re done, your resume will grab bankers by the lapels and not let them go until they’ve given you an interview.

Specifically, here’s what you’ll get:

  • Detailed, line-by-line editing of your resume/CV – Everything that needs to be changed will be changed. No detail is ignored.
  • Your experience will be “bankified” regardless of whether you’ve been a student, a researcher, a marketer, a financier, a lawyer, an accountant, or anything else.
  • Optimal structuring – You’ll learn where everything from Education to Work Experience to Activities should go. Regional badminton champion? Stamp collector? You’ll find out where those should go, too.
  • The 3-point structure to use for all your “Work Experience” entries: simple, but highly effective at getting the attention of bankers.
  • How to spin non-finance experience into sounding like you’ve been investing your own portfolio since age 12.
  • How to make business-related experience, such as consulting, law, and accounting, sounds like “deal work.”
  • How to avoid the fatal resume mistake that gets you automatically rejected. Nothing hurts more than making a simple oversight that gets you an immediate “ding”.
  • We only work with a limited number of clients each month. In fact, we purposely turn down potential clients in cases where we cannot add much value. We prefer quality over quantity, and we always want to ensure that we can work well together first.

FIND OUT MORE

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

If you're new here, please click here to get my FREE 57-page investment banking recruiting guide - plus, get weekly updates so that you can break into investment banking. Thanks for visiting!

I kept getting questions about this one, and I figured we should finish up that series of investment banking resume templates and video tutorials – so here it is.

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to craft your resume if you’re at the MBA level, if you’ve been working full-time, or if you’ve had extensive transaction experience.

Actually, it’s even easier than that: you don’t need to “craft” anything. You just need to copy these templates and modify them slightly.

Don’t you wish you found this site earlier?

Refresher – University Student Template

In case you missed it, here were the major points with the university student investment banking resume template:

  • 3 sections: Education; Work & Leadership Experience; and Skills, Activities & Interests
  • Focus on 2-4 key work/leadership experiences rather than taking a laundry list approach.
  • Use either a project-centric or task-centric format for each work experience entry.
  • Include a summary sentence for each entry, and make sure your other bullets include the specifics followed by the results.

These points apply to any investment banking resume, no matter what level you’re applying for – you just need to make a few tweaks.

The Templates, the Video, and the Tutorial

Here’s the overview video, which covers all 3 of the templates we’re looking at here:

(For more free training and financial modeling videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.)

And if you just want to read instead, here’s the same tutorial in textual form. We’ll go through each of these 3 templates and point out how they differ from the ones we looked at before.

Just like the university student template, Education is at the top.

This time, however, it’s greatly condensed – just list your business school and undergraduate name, degree titles, and graduation dates. You don’t need GPA/SAT scores unless the bank specifically asks for them.

Similarly, forget about activities / honors and other trivia and just give them the names and dates.

Work Experience

The Work Experience section should be very similar to the university student template.

The differences:

  • Avoid student activities / volunteer work unless that was your “full-time work experience” – e.g. you did Teach for America for 2 years.
  • Still pick 2-3 work experiences to focus on, but these should be full-time jobs rather than internships.
  • Focus on the most recent 5 years of work experience. If you have more than this maybe extend it to 10 but only do that if it’s relevant – e.g. you were a trader in a former life.

You still need to use a project-centric or task-centric format for each entry and focus on business results as much as possible.

But you should think about 2 additional points if you’re at the MBA-level:

When you enter at the Associate level, banks start grooming you to win clients and bring in revenue one day – so you need to convince them you’re more of a “leader” than an Analyst might.

Exceptions & Special Cases

If you’ve done some type of pre-MBA program related to finance – interning at a boutique, a PE firm, etc. – and the rest of your work experience is in a different field, you should definitely make this prominent, even if it only lasted a few months.

It’s not lying – it’s changing the focus. Spin 101.

If you’ve only had 1 full-time job before business school, just list your last major internship briefly, below the full-time entry, and write 1-2 bullets about it. A work experience section with only 1 large entry looks odd.

What Skills, Activities & Interests?

This section becomes increasingly irrelevant the more experienced you are. You can still include it at the MBA-level, but keep it short and feel free to drop it.

This is almost exactly the same template as the MBA-level one – the only difference is that your Education section can be even shorter and it should be below Work Experience if you’re not currently a student.

Consider removing the last section as well.

Always pick 2-3 key work experience entries over past 5-10 years unless you’re a C-level executive with a 20+ year-long track record, or you have a lot of transaction experience – which leads us into the next section.

Experienced Investment Banker / Private Equity / Hedge Fund Financier

The Disclaimer – Read This First

Only use this template if you’re an experienced Associate, VP, or beyond that, and you have dozens of transactions to write about.

If you use this as a sophomore in college, it’s your fault. You will look stupid and not get any interviews.

What’s Different This Time?

This one is still similar to both the university student resume template and the investment banker resume template – with one key difference:

Rather than going into detail on all your clients and deals on the first page, you make a separate page or set of pages for your “Transaction Experience” and follow the same format there.

As with the templates above, Skills, Activities & Interests can be dropped and the Education section should be greatly condensed.

Each entry should consist of a summary sentence and 2-3 others that capture the main highlights from each experience – working with clients, management teams, bringing in business if you’re more senior, or doing analytical work for junior-level entries.

This person is showing more “leadership” at each level by writing about how he/she managed Analysts and Associates, and also highlighting more sourcing and business development at higher levels.

As you move up, investment banking becomes a pure Sales job, so your resume should reflect this.

It’s good to list “Notable Transactions” so that anyone can tell what he’s done at a glance without going to the second page.

Transaction Page

This should follow the chronological order and format of the first page.

The language here is not much different from the Analyst/Associate investment banker resume template – the person still discusses valuation/modeling work and his/her impact on the deal process.

But the focus is different at each level:

  • Analyst – More analytical and valuation/modeling-focused, since that’s what Analysts do. Well, that and fix broken printers…
  • Associate – The focus shifts to managing the Analysts, working with clients, and making presentations. Associates still do quantitative work, but it’s more advanced – think LBO models rather than going through SEC filings looking for non-recurring items.
  • VP – He/she focuses more on pitching clients to potential buyers and executing the deal.

What About for Private Equity and Hedge Funds?

Not much is different – if you have an extensive transaction / investment list, you should still list it on a separate page.

Just flip around the language and write about “investments” and “potential investments” as opposed to “deals.”

For the first page, write about your efforts sourcing investment ideas rather than potential clients.

It can be near-impossible to come up with concrete “results” on the buy-side because of the time frame – it might take years for a firm to exit a particular investment.

So don’t feel pressured to always have tangible “results.”

What Next?

Use these templates – just make sure you’ve read the disclaimers first.

You don’t need to follow the exact format and language here – these are intended to give you ideas and guide you in the right direction.

As always, if you’re paranoid about having the same-looking resume as everyone else, just change the font, font size, or other formatting to make it look different.

Up Next

You should now know 95% of what you need to craft your resume copy these templates and use them for your own purposes, from the Analyst-level to VP-level and up.

I may cover examples of specific bullets / language you would use for different industries (marketing, accounting, wealth management, etc.) and do a few “resume makeovers” in coming months.

Any questions?

Still Need More Help?

Introducing: Premium Investment Banking-Specific Resume/CV and Cover Letter Editing Services

We will take your existing resume and transform it into a resume that grabs the attention of finance industry professionals and presents you and your experience in the best possible light.

When we’re done, your resume will grab bankers by the lapels and not let them go until they’ve given you an interview.

Specifically, here’s what you’ll get:

  • Detailed, line-by-line editing of your resume/CV – Everything that needs to be changed will be changed. No detail is ignored.
  • Your experience will be “bankified” regardless of whether you’ve been a student, a researcher, a marketer, a financier, a lawyer, an accountant, or anything else.
  • Optimal structuring – You’ll learn where everything from Education to Work Experience to Activities should go. Regional badminton champion? Stamp collector? You’ll find out where those should go, too.
  • The 3-point structure to use for all your “Work Experience” entries: simple, but highly effective at getting the attention of bankers.
  • How to spin non-finance experience into sounding like you’ve been investing your own portfolio since age 12.
  • How to make business-related experience, such as consulting, law, and accounting, sounds like “deal work.”
  • How to avoid the fatal resume mistake that gets you automatically rejected. Nothing hurts more than making a simple oversight that gets you an immediate “ding”.
  • We only work with a limited number of clients each month. In fact, we purposely turn down potential clients in cases where we cannot add much value. We prefer quality over quantity, and we always want to ensure that we can work well together first.

FIND OUT MORE

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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