A recent Q&A on financial services revealed that recruitment for investment banking, down during the height of the recession, is now back to 2006-07 levels.
A career in banking is open to graduates of all disciplines. Anuranjita Kumar, head of human resources (global banking) at Citi says: "We encourage applications from all degree disciplines. Our recruits have diverse academic backgrounds – ranging from business degrees to the arts."
The banking sector is also open to career changers. Gaining relevant qualifications may ease the transition and prove you have an understanding of the industry.
Jhan Burger, specialist financial markets lecturer at Kaplan, says: "The CISI and CFAUK qualifications can be completed in months. They have the added benefit of illustrating to employers your interest and saves them from having to pay for you to do it if your job requires a demonstration of competence to the FSA."
Dr Robert Webb, a course leader at GCU London advises: "Another (pathway) is to get on to a banking MSc programme – preferably one that's practical and focused (on risk management, finance, investment and so on). Programmes with industry accreditation are good as they have bankers coming on to campus. Make sure you ask the programme leader to tell you of the industry links that they offer."
Competition is intense. Banks want to see drive, ambition and evidence of a high degree of "financial literacy". Start building your CV as an undergrad through courses or internships taken during the summer, for example.
It's crucial you understand the financial industry – and, in particular, where you want to work within it. Research roles, organisations and wider trends so you can clearly – and convincingly – explain why the role appeals. Jhan Burger advises taking out a subscription to the FT and Economist, while Laura Raznick, head of student careers liaison at ESCP Europe Business School advises undergrads to take part in events organised by financial companies, and to join any relevant student societies, as these arrange visits and talks by guest speakers.
Along with excellent academic achievement, employers also want to see particular skills. Stephen Smith executive director (employer engagement) for the National Skills Academy for Financial Services, says that the financial services industry looks for communication skills (necessary to articulate complex ideas concisely), analytical skills (useful for problem-solving and decision-making) and the ability to work under pressure.
Interpersonal skills are also important. Anuranjita Kumar explains: "Teamwork is valued very highly because the nature of the work often requires the input of a broad range of skills, but you'll also be required to use your initiative and show leadership."
Include extra-curricular activities to differentiate yourself. "As a benchmark, we're seeing a lot more applications where graduates involve themselves in so many things from clubs, work experiences, volunteering, playing sports and still managing to get top grades."
Suggested CV layout
Name, contact details
Profile (A couple of sentences highlighting key attributes and skills. Specific skills can be listed within the profile, or in a table underneath.)
Finance honours graduate (2:1) with practical experience in asset management and investment analysis, and strong foundation in accounting and economic principles.
Academic/practical experience in:
Options and futures
Education/training (For grads, your education section may be your best selling point. Highlight key skills and areas of interest.)
BSc (Hons) Finance (2:1) University of Essex 2008 - 2011
(Including foundation modules in accounting, quantitative methods and economics)
Awarded "special mention" for an investment case study.
* Critically evaluated current strategy, writing up and presenting findings. (Group project involving peers from accounting, banking and financial management BSc courses.)
Business placement (Citi Quest) in capital markets origination (2008)
Applying principles of:
* Secondary trading
* Hedging strategies
Events manager for FinanceSoc 2009-2010
* Invited speakers from financial institutions to give talks
* Liaised with university careers service to arrange work shadowing at investment banks and other financial institutions
Team-leader "Investors of the Future"
Simulated trading room role-plays, using real-time information to make profits for "clients".
* Managed team to consistently rank in top 10 percentile
* Developed ability to interpret data and market trends to make sound decisions
Include details of employers, dates, key responsibilities and achievements.
Financial analyst: Software Trading Co (Summer 2010)
Provided portfolio analysis to publicly-traded company.
* Used quantitative tools and research to create long-term asset-building strategies, saving the company more than £50,000
* Produced timely, detailed market reports to underpin investment strategies
Maths tutor (Summer 2009)
Hired to improve GCSE results for maths at three inner-city schools through small-group tuition.
(Optional: include an endorsement. "XX shows great aptitude for explaining abstract concepts through clear analogies" – programme director)
(Optional: Hobbies and interests: these can be a springboard for outlining teamwork/leadership skills or to show your involvement in clubs and societies.)
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The following banking CV samples will help you create the perfect job application. A good banking CV will include the job candidate’s work history, qualifications and their expertise as a banking professional.
In banking you will normally want to highlight your mathematical abilities, consideration to detail, and interpersonal skills. Create a sound and factual resume accentuating different expertise sets depending upon the job you are applying for.
The following CV examples should be used as inspiration for your next job application. But remember, for any successful application you must customize your resume for the job.
Banking CV format
A banking CV is arranged in reverse-chronological order. Your recent qualifications and work experiences are shown at the top of the resume. A banking CV should be readable and concise, avoiding to add imaginary words and exaggerated claims. A meaningful and precise CV will stand out. Our samples are well-formatted and will surely catch the attention of your employer.