Writing a CV / Resume to get a job in M&A

Posted on 28 July 2010. Filed under: Tips & Suggestions |

I get asked all the time — especially by my business school students — about what they can do to get a job in M&A, whether with one of the advisors (such as Credit Suisse or the other big investment banks, a boutique, or one of the Big 4 such as Ernst & Young) or even a corporate development position in a big corporation.

I would like to refer anyone with such an interest to a very good article recently written for FINS of The Wall Street Journal and covered as well elsewhere (such as in Financial News). Entitled ‘The Perfect M&A Resume’, it does provide some excellent suggestions about what you should include in your CV / resume if you want to move into M&A (or even if you are already in M&A but want to switch firms).  A shorter version of the article can be found here:  ‘How to write the perfect CV for a job in M&A‘.

I am a great believer in the ‘one-page CV’ concept, which the articles above also suggest.  If you need to go to a second page, that page should be a deal sheet only of the deals you’ve worked on;  that second page should not be a continuation of the body of the CV.  In M&A, many of the deals may be confidential, but as that article suggests, you can always include the approximate size but then note the deal companies anonymously (that is, ‘Large global bank based in New York acquiring the assets of a Trust Bank in Japan’).

I also strongly agree and therefore believe that the summary at the top of the CV should be dropped.  But the information you might have had there shouldn’t be lost completely, as it can be included in the cover email (or the cover letter, if sent by post).

Remember:  no one is hired directly from their CV into this industry.  The CV is the ‘teaser’ that gets you invited into the company for interviews — from which you CAN be hired.  Therefore, keep this in mind when writing the CV.

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