Tuesday, January 12, 2010

About us, Frequently Asked Questions, and Resume/Cover letters

1. Why did you start this site?

Despite being at a top school, our university career centers gave poor advice on how to write resumes for finance and consulting jobs. From working at top management consulting firms (McKinsey/Bain/Boston Consulting Group) and interning at a few of the bulge bracket investment banks (Goldman Sachs and others) in New York, we know exactly what the most selective firms are looking for.

We’ve reviewed hundreds of resumes from students, including those from target and non-target schools. We were also on the recruiting teams for our schools at our respective firms -- and have the experience of deciding who is given an interview slot and who isn’t.

Many people have the credentials --good grades, good scores, good experiences – but lack the inside perspective to write a winning resume/cover letter and subsequently nail the interview. At a target school (Ivy League plus MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Michigan and other top undergrads where firms have formal recruiting cycles), it’s difficult to stand out among the pack of resumes. At one target school:

  • A bulge bracket received 500+ resumes for a sales & trading summer analyst position.
  • Only 32 interview slots were given out.

  • One MBB received 300+ resumes for a summer internship.
  • Only 20 first-round interview invites were handed out.

That means for about every 100 resumes seen, only 6 are interviewed -- this is where good writing and a solid story really make a difference when it comes to deciding who should be interviewed.

At a non-target, the standard is often even higher -- firms could fill their entire analyst and summer internship classes with students from target schools, and thus it’s absolutely necessary to have the resume/cover letter in top shape.

This is a no-nonsense look at these fields. We give the most realistic, personalized advice out there.

2. What's your background?

We attended a target school. In finance, we worked at bulge bracket firms. In consulting, we worked at one of the top management consulting firms–McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting Group (MBB).

We managed to successfully land positions at the most selective firms because we pitched our stories in our resumes and cover letters.

We did this without having special advantages and without traditional backgrounds. We DID NOT have:

  • any alumni or family connections
  • a pre-professional education in business/finance
  • formal (case) interview preparation from other websites
  • resumes/cover letters reviewed by other professional editing services

In spite of this, we were specifically told by recruiters at the top firms that our resumes were the highest rated in our starting classes.

We didn’t mimic the resume templates already out there. We customized our applications to portray our strengths in the highest light.

We were successful in landing our jobs through experience, insight, and judgment.

We’ve each been through over 60 interviews and know how interviewers will ask questions based on how the resume is written. It is crucial to have your story down, know how to think off your feet based on what you have done in the past, and steer the interview and resume to your strengths. Having this success in recruiting all starts with the resume and the cover letter.

3. Who have you helped break into banking and consulting?

We've reviewed hundreds of resumes of students from:

  • Liberal arts backgrounds (with no finance / economics coursework)
  • Engineering backgrounds
  • Math/Economics/Finance backgrounds
  • Non-targets and semi-targets, including: a Business and History major who wanted to work in consulting; a freshman who wanted to start getting finance experiences; an Arts & Sciences student wanted to break into a hedge fund at a university with an undergraduate business school; a Math major who wanted to do risk management at a bulge bracket
  • Top targets, including : those with prior internships at Goldman Sachs who wanted to move into consulting for full-time; those who interned at Sales and Trading for their sophomore summer and wanted to move into Investment Banking for their next summer internship; a Neuroscience major who wanted to do banking his junior summer; an Art History major who landed a job at a hedge fund; and countless others
  • Those with no finance or consulting experience whatsoever

Regardless of your background, there is a right way to write a resume and specific core competencies recruiters are looking for.

Unless you’ve successfully landed jobs at several firms in the past and have been on the recruiting team, you wouldn’t have a clue of what is an exceptional resume and what is a good one.

We have the inside perspective to help you start landing those interviews.

4. How is your cover letter and resume review service different from others?

  1. Our editors include past management consultants, investment bankers, traders, equity researchers, and those who worked at hedge funds and in the investment management division of bulge bracket banks. When we receive your resume, the editor reviewing it has worked in the same position you are applying for — and will give a personalized, professional re-write. At other sites, the editor is oftentimes someone who works only in one position (e.g. in investment banking) and can only give general feedback for someone applying to trading or consulting — they do not provide detailed and precise knowledge on how your resume will be reviewed by the recruiters at the division you're applying for.
  2. At least two editors will review your resume/cover letter. So say you are applying to sales & trading and investment banking -- you will get feedback from people in both positions. You tell us what you're applying for, and we'll give you tailored advice at one price.
  3. We have an incentive system where the editor’s interest is aligned with your interest. After getting your winning resume, you provide feedback and give a rating, which determines that editor’s discretionary pay.
  4. Editing is a two-way process, and it doesn't end with the resume or cover letter. We give extensive, actionable comments, and will ask you to makeover parts for our immediate review. This means you will get to know how your reviewer thinks, and afterwards learn how to pitch yourself in a light that resonates with recruiters and interviewers at any firm for any position.

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