How to write a buy-side CV

Posted by KEA Consultants

September 16, 2020

Ready to apply for an investing role? How’s your CV looking? Chances are, the last time you prepared your CV was after university when you were looking for graduate job. An investment firm is looking for something much more specific on the profiles of potential hires, so here’s our advice on how to write a job winning and stand out CV.

1. How long?

If you’ve had one or two roles, a one-page CV is enough. It needs to be concise and factual and trying to pad it out will lessen the impact. If you know you are working with only one page, it will help you focus on the essential details.

2. What format?

Your CV is a professional document. Whilst some industries are open to creative CVs, banking and investment are not. Use a clear font, such as Arial, Helvetica or Times New Roman and include some white space to make the document easy – and inviting – to read. Be conservative with colour (black is a safe bet). Make sure you include:

  • Your name and contact details, clearly at the top of the page.
  • Your educational experience from University level onwards. 
  • Your professional, full time work experience, and your most relevant internships.
  • Extracurricular activities.

3. Professional summary

There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there on having a summary at the top of your CV. It’s a personal preference, but we don’t think our clients are likely to pay much attention to it. Better to demonstrate your candidacy in the way you talk about your experience than to try and tell someone why you’re the right candidate. 

4. Education

List all your university education, including your grades. Please list your grades – even if they aren’t as good as you’d like. Our clients always ask, so hiding them won’t help. We always present our clients CVs with a written and verbal summary of all the candidates, to make sure you’re not being just seen as a number. 

Generally funds are only interested in your university education, but if there was anything exceptional from your secondary education: e.g. a perfect Arbitur, an IB score of 44, or 5 A*s at A Level, feel free to include it. 

If any particulars of your degree are pertinent to the role you’re applying for – such as financial modelling or investment experience – include those, but be careful not to take up too much space. You want to spend most time showing off your professional experience. 

5. Work history

Again, list your work history in chronological order. State the company and location, your position (or positions if you’ve worked your way up), and the dates you were in each role. If the company is not well known, add a one line description about them and their size and turnover if possible. Include your internships, but keep the detail to an absolute minimum unless you feel the experience is really additive to your candidacy. 

6. Deal / Project List within your professional experience

This is the section where you can make a massive impression. Instead of listing your job description, give a short list of selected transaction or project experience (three to five is enough). Include details like EBITDA or Enterprise Value, where appropriate. Describe what happened on the project / transaction, and then spend a few bullet points describing your role.

Think of your CV as the agenda for an interview. Steer the interviewer towards the deals or projects that show you in the best light. If you list everything you’ve ever done, you might spend the whole interview talking about the first marketing project you did as an intern.

7. Show your personality

Extra-curricular activities are an excellent way to show if your professional interests extend beyond your job. These should only be included if they are exceptional – founding a charity, mentoring, having an impact in a vulnerable sector.

Including your interests gives you more scope to add some character. Those that show strong traits – marathon training, running youth groups, music to a high level – are great, but don’t be afraid of showing a little bit of who you truly are (within the bounds of professionalism). It’s ok to enjoy cooking.

8. How many versions of your CV do you need?

Your CV should be drafted in response to each job you apply for. One size definitely does not fit all. Once you have a standard CV you are happy with, you can tweak it for each role. If you’re applying for VC, think about emphasising what might be important to a VC client (e.g. entrepreneurial spirit, technology experience). If you’re applying for a Hedge Fund, think about what they might respect (e.g. prior stock investing experience, strong technical acumen).

Kea has a CV template to help guide you and we can also give advice as to the suitability of your CV for your desired role. Contact us at cv@keaconsultants.com or 0203 397 0840 and we’ll be happy to help.



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