College Graduate Finance Resume Example
Interested in a job in finance, but have limited work experience? Use this sample resume to help you write your own. This resume example is for a recent college graduate (or college senior) looking for a job in finance or consulting.
Also read below for tips on how to write a college graduate or college senior resume, specifically for a career in finance.
Tips for Writing a College Graduate Finance Resume
Highlight academic achievements. As a college student or graduate, your academic achievements are among your greatest assets.
Highlight them by placing the “Education” section at the top of your resume. Include your GPA if it is strong, and list any achievements (such as academic awards). You might also include any finance-related coursework or projects you have completed.
Emphasize internships. If you have limited work experience, highlight any work experience gained from relevant internships. Internships are a great way for college students and graduates to acquire work experience and skills in a particular field, and should be included on a resume under "Work History" or a related resume section.
Include related activities. You can, and should, include any extracurricular activities, volunteer experience, and other non-work experience related to the job. For a finance job, this might include serving as a treasurer for an organization, or participating in a club related to your finance major. You can include these in either a “Related Experience” section or in a separate “Activities” section of your resume.
In the resume example below, this section is called “Activities/Service.”
Use numbers when possible. When explaining your responsibilities or achievements, use numbers when possible to demonstrate how you added value to a company or organization. This is particularly important for finance positions, in which you will be working with money on a regular basis.
If you were treasurer of a club, you might mention the amount of money you managed. If you helped an organization save a percentage of money through some cost-cutting strategies, mention the percentage.
Add a skills list. Consider adding a “Skills” section to your resume, especially if the job requires a particular skill set. You can divide the “Skills” section into subsections, such as “Computer Skills,” “Language Skills,” etc.
Edit, edit, edit. Even though a finance job requires technical skills, you also need to be a clear writer and communicator who pays attention to details. You therefore want to make sure your resume is free of errors. Proofread your resume thoroughly for spelling and grammar errors. Consider asking a college career counselor to look at your resume as well.
College Graduate Finance Resume Example
456 Oakwood Terrace
Philadelphia, PA 12121
XYZ College, XYZ Town, NY
Bachelor of Arts, May 20XX
Major: Government, 3.80 GPA
Minor: Business, 3.89 GPA
Dean’s List 20XX-20XX
ABC High School, ABC Town, CT
Intern, Pierre Financial Management, Hartford CT
Completed full-time internship working with institutional brokers analyzing United States markets and industries.
Researched and evaluated derivatives, equities, and bonds with Pierre’s new analytics computer system.
Client Associate Intern, Acme Associates Consulting Firm, Hartford CT
October 20XX-October 20XX
Analyzed market trends, volumetric data, and consumer feedback to help over a dozen clients tailor products or services. Created custom solutions for sell-side financial institutions.
Consultant Intern, Johnson Studios Marketing Consulting Firm, Stamford CT
Analyzed private education market; research allowed firm expansion in three new metros. Researched media buying for two clients using databases, telephone surveys, and competitor data.
Survey Assistant, Hartford Superior Court, Albany NY
Created and implemented detailed project studying daily flow within courthouse, including data collection and analysis, employing Microsoft Excel.
Performed filing and other administrative tasks for criminal and civil case flow offices.
ACTIVITIES / SERVICE
Chair, Social Integrity Board, XYZ College
Member, Social Integrity Board, XYZ College
Fall 20XX-Spring 20XX
Appointed by Student Government Association Executive Committee, as member of Social Integrity Board. Arbitrate and sanction students in violation of XYZ Student Code of Conduct. Coordinate delivering injunctions to students in both hearings and written form. Conduct cases in collaboration with Residential Life, and review campus honor codes.
Student Speakers Bureau Member, XYZ College
Apportion funds to XYZ organizations to bring speakers to campus. Manage over $10,000 annually.
Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Lexis-Nexis, Adobe
Read More:Resume Examples | Top 10 Resume Writing Tips | Resume Sample for a College Senior | Interview Tips for College Students
I assume the answer is “yes” if you’re reading this right now.
But I’m not asking you a question – I’m quoting one of the most common mistakes I’ve seen on investment banking resumes.
It’s not just listing “Fluent in English” on a resume written in English that’s problematic, though – you get lots of other mistakes when you try to be “creative.”
In some industries (technology, advertising), creativity is great and there are no hard-and-fast rules.
But finance is old-school and typically 10-20 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to hiring, so throw your creativity out the window if you want to be a banker.
Here’s a list of everything you should stop doing right now if you want to break in:
If you’ve got more than 1 page, I’ll tell you one thing you don’t got: any job offers.
If 20-year veteran CEOs can condense their experience into 1 page, what’s stopping you?
Most things don’t matter.
What are your 2-3 key work experiences? Where’d you go to school and how’d you do? What are the 2 best projects to talk about in interviews?
Think about all your experience and apply the MAX function in Excel to it. Your resume should not be the AVERAGE of your experience, but rather the absolute most impressive items you can name.
Exception: Australia. There are a couple other regions where 2+ page resumes are acceptable, but Australia is the key exception.
There, everyone uses 2-3 pages even for entry-level positions because recruiters want to read everything – but if you’re applying elsewhere in the world, keep it to 1 page.
Pretending to Be Picasso
No matter how “artistic” you are, resist the urge to color your resume, use different font colors, add pictures, or make it look “cool.”
Similarly, don’t put a photo of yourself on there – even if you’re a supermodel.
Exception: In some regions, pictures are common – just be careful and do your own research first.
But if you’re in the U.S., keep photos off – and no matter where you are, pink font colors and clip art are always horrible ideas.
A Little TOO Much Information
Where did you go to school and how did you do? What are the 2-3 key work experiences you want everyone to know about? What are a few interesting tidbits about yourself?
That’s all your resume needs to do.
So, please look at your resume right now and cut out the following:
- Those 5-10 resume-padding activities where you did nothing.
- Your 4-line description for “Relevant Coursework.”
- Your marital status or measurements.
Less is more.
A Forgettable Name
No, I’m not making fun of you if your name is “John Smith.”
And I’m not suggesting that you change your name to Don Draper.
But when a banker reads your resume, will he remember your NAME?
Chances are “no” if it’s the same font size as everything else on the page.
Make your name at the top of your resume twice the font size of everything else there. If you use 12-point font, use 24-point font for your name.
You’re applying to an investment bank, do you think someone reading your resume will wonder why you’re applying?
Your “objective” is simple: Get an investment banking job.
So please don’t include an Objective line on your resume.
Maybe if you’re a 10-15 year veteran of another industry and you’re changing careers right now, you could include it – but otherwise keep it off.
Spacing & Alignment
Please make sure that your company and position names are left-aligned and that your dates and locations are right-aligned – and do it the real way instead of just hitting the space bar a bunch of times.
Also make sure you use single-spacing throughout and that you actually insert a space between different work experience entries and between different sections.
You can check out exactly how to set everything up in this template.
Anything else just looks sloppy.
Too Much Text
Your resume is NOT an essay, and you should not be writing paragraphs or huge blocks of text.
You need to use bullets rather than paragraphs, and you need to keep these bullets short.
One or two lines is ideal, three is fine but pushing it, and when you go over 3-4 lines you get into paragraph territory.
Bankers reading your resume are scanning for highlights, and if you write an essay rather than a resume, they’ll never be able to tell what’s important.
As a corollary to the point above, you want to include as many numbers as possible on your resume.
- “Led team of five to optimize ad spending by fifty percent”
- “Led team of 5 to optimize ad spending by 50%”
Which one stands out more? Which one will catch bankers’ attention more?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
“Introduced carbocyanide-78 into dwysterfloculation to assess quantum flux capacitor superposition potential”
OK, I made up some of those words – but that was intentional.
99% of people do not understand scientific, economic, or political jargon, so please do not include it on your resume.
The other problem is that writing a sentence like the one above makes you seem like a science nerd rather than a financier.
Yes, smart is good – but nerdy is bad. Keep the jargon to a minimum and focus on simple, easily-explainable results.
Exception: Banking and finance jargon is fine to include because bankers know this stuff.
“Created Sum-of-the-Parts Valuation and DCF to account for changes in deferred tax liabilities and NOLs and properly reflect company’s value” would not make sense to anyone outside finance, but this type of jargon is fine for finance / investment banking jobs.
I don’t care how boring you are, you must have some interests or hobbies, right? Right?
If not, it raises serious questions over how personable you are and whether or not you’d pass the “airport test.”
Yes, you do have to reduce your Work Experience space to include 1-2 lines on your hobbies and interests, but it’s well worth it.
Exception: If you’re at the MBA-level or beyond, feel free to leave this section out.
Did you catch the intentional typo here?
If not, then you might need some spelling and proofreading help.
Please, please, please do NOT let your resume contain spelling or grammatical errors – bankers can catch them in about 2 seconds, and those mistakes make you fail the “attention to detail” test automatically.
Two solutions to fixing typos:
- Print out your resume, let it sit for a day, and then comb through it looking for mistakes.
- Get a friend or family member to review it and look for typos.
Out-of-Date Contact Information
OK, so you went through dozens of investment banking interviews and now you finally have a job offer lined up.
The Managing Director goes to call you… and he gets the wrong number!
I learned this lesson the hard way: I had listed my “home” contact information on my resume when I was applying for jobs, and investment banks and hedge funds kept calling my family in New Jersey to notify me that I got offers.
Please make sure your name, phone number, email address, and physical address are correct and that you can actually be reached on each one.
High School Valedictorian
After your 1st year in university, no one cares what you did in high school anymore. So even if you were valedictorian and an all-star athlete, keep that off your resume.
Exception: In the U.K. and a few other regions, it’s common to list secondary schools and A-Levels results even at the university level – so you can get away with it there.
Fluent in English / Proficient in Word
If your resume is in English, I hope you’re “fluent in English.”
Similarly, if you can breathe oxygen, I hope that you know how to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other common programs.
Don’t waste space with these meaningless skills – you only have 1 page to make a strong first impression, so don’t squander your chances with irrelevant information.
If you are fluent in a non-English language and your resume is in English, just make an entry at the bottom for “Native speaker of [Language]” or “Fluent in [Language.”
For Even More
For even more resume tips and tricks, check out the links below from M&I and Management Consulted:
Investment Banking / Private Equity / Hedge Funds / Other Finance Resume Tips:
Consulting Resume Tips:
And please, don’t go to one of the articles above and leave a comment asking whether you should list “Fluent in English” on your resume – or I might track you down in real life and karate chop you to death.
Mergers & Inquisitions
Breaking Into Wall Street
P.S. Get here from an email forward, a friend’s link, or a random Google search?
This lesson is part of The Banker Blueprint newsletter – which gives you all the tips and insider information you need to break into investment banking.
Learn more about it and sign up here.