Thursday, May 28, 2009

How Recruiters review finance resumes

Everyone knows that recruiters spend less than 1 min reviewing a person's resume.  Commonly, your own university alumni will be the people deciding who gets an interview and who doesn't.   Most other resume help websites cater to those with 3.9s from Harvard and Wharton.  The truth is that a full-proof and impressive resume in some cases can overcome a lower-than-average GPA or non-target school.  Your resume needs to show that you are a good fit for the firm and that you are best capable for the job.  

GPA is an important component but not the only one.  When firms ask alumni or recruiters to sift through a pile of 500 resumes, the resume reviewers have a sheet that asks them to check off whether a candidate meets the standard for Academics (GPA/SAT/Rank), Business Sense (interest in and knowledge of the industry), Leadership, and Ability to work in a team.  Recruiters then rank the candidates to determine who fills the 10 or so interview slots in the first-round.

A friend who now works at Goldman Sachs had a 3.3 GPA at a large public university (non-target).  Perhaps he didn't meet the Academics baseline.  He was not a finance whiz, but he did know how to boil the ocean.  He was the only student representative on the university endowment and student manager of an investment fund - demonstrating both community leadership and business sense (an interest in finance).  He also won a nationwide student entrepreneurship competition - demonstrating teamwork.  As a result, he received several offers and despite a lower than average GPA nad non-target school status, now works in Sales & Trading at Goldman.

As you review your resume, keep in mind that recruiters will be weighing you against your peers in these four respects.  Work on the content of your resume in these four buckets!

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