I put the objective on the top of the list. I believe it is the most common reason recruiters will stop reading your resume and move on. Being a graduate with almost no prior experience is possible, but it is not an excuse to not clearly define what you hope to achieve. Adding an objective to the top of your resume is crucial, but it has to be very specific to the recruiter. I have seen so many objectives such as “Looking for a role in investment banking” or “Targeting a front-office position”, these are not clear enough goals. The banking sector is so diversified and divided into so many sections and levels that you should be very specific when applying for a role. This will facilitate the Human Resource job and they will be able to send your resume to the right department.
The Generic Resume
Let’s take a look at the following scenario: you are about to graduate and have two internships on your resume, both are in the banking sector but different departments and job titles. You don’t really know what job you would like to do in the investment banking sector, or still hesitate between several positions. This is completely fine, most of us went through this phase. However, even if you are in doubt at the beginning, it surely must not be visible from the recruiter’s perspective. What is the solution for this? It is simple, stop mass mailing one resume for all positions you apply, but rather adjust it to make it relative to the job for which you are applying. If you apply for a quantitative position, you should demonstrate your mathematical and computer science skills. On the other hand, if your aim is to be in sales, you should focus more on your social skills and not emphasize too much the technical parts. Even if your resume already fits the job description, take some time to update your resume and rearrange it so the recruiter will think you are a high profile that could fulfill the position, and it will most likely lead to an interview.
The No-Spirit resume
Employers like to see as much information as possible up front, but they are looking for qualitative and not quantitative information. During the small amount of time the recruiter will spend reading your resume, he needs to understand your goals, as well as your accomplishments. Therefore for each experience, you should breakdown it in two to three lines and add a line with your achievements. For example, if you worked on building a trading algorithm that resulted in a sharp ratio of 3.5, that’s definitely an experience to mention. For a given position, the manager will see dozens of resumes, very comparable to each other in terms of academics and job titles. The difference between you and another candidate will be in the results that you have achieved during that experience.
There are some rumors from the candidate side that extra-curricular activities are the part of the resume that managers ignore. I can tell you that I strongly refute this theory. I have seen so many times a pile of resumes that were quite the same from each other, and only a few had to be picked for the interview. So what do you do when you have almost all identical resumes in front of you and have to choose two among them for an interview? Since you can’t roll the dice and pick randomly, you need to find a difference somewhere. This is where the extra-curricular part becomes interesting. If the recruiter can feel some proximity to you when he reads that you traveled to some places or that you play soccer on a team, that’s definitely a plus. Banks even praise that kind of profile, along with cosmopolitan spirits. They want to hire well-rounded individuals who’ve done something different from the other candidates and the future potential colleagues.