Wealth Management

Voted #6 on Top 100 Family Business influencer on Wealth, Legacy, Finance and Investments: Jacoline Loewen My Amazon Authors' page Twitter:@ jacolineloewen Linkedin: Jacoline Loewen Profile

April 3, 2010

The Best Resume for Private Equity

It is now popular to land a private equity job which makes your first point of entry—your resume—all the more important. Lack of understanding about what are the attractive points will be picked up and could eliminate you from the running. Whether you're applying to a middle-market firm or one of the largest PE firms -- it's worth taking the time to scour over the details with a fine toothed comb. For a PE job, even one spelling error will get your resume tossed by the first level screener.
Something most job applicants do not realize is that even the largest PE firms are small in size, it's important to come across as a potential fit to each particular firm by truly understanding the demands. Every firm has a different culture and what they view as requirements for candidates .
Making matters more complicated, "a private equity resume has to go into a lot more details because you have to demonstrate results," says Jacoline Loewen, author of Money Magnet, who creates resumes for job seekers. Once you've gathered all of the details, keep in mind that your resume can be longer than the traditional one-page resume -- provided the information is necessary.
Here are some more tips on getting all of those details right:

Tailor to Fund’s Industry Focus
Private Equity firms focusing on specific industries, it's important to highlight your involvement by tailoring your resume to each company and position. Check out their website and look up their portfoli companies. Then build your resume to show where you have related experience. With so many applicants, Private Equity funds have the choice of making sure the people they hire have specific industry experience. "Having a couple of different versions of a resume isn't a bad thing," Loewen says. For example, if you're applying to a private equity firm that focuses on construction, it's important to have a resume that covers details from any previous experience.
Stress Financial Modeling Experience
To demonstrate your financial modeling experience, mention the results of the analysis performed and the area where it was applied when writing bullet points for your job descriptions. Adding any advanced-level Excel work can be another helpful way to demonstrate your expertise.  Private Equity does not want to train employees on how to do the bells and whistles of modelling. Thy do want to see that you adore number crunching.
Demonstrate Deal Experience
Whether you've worked on deal origination or oversaw a portfolio, demonstrating deal experience during your previous employment is key. Attract attention by setting apart the types of deals you worked on in a separate section at the top of your resume. When recruiters or hiring managers pick up your resume, deal experience will be the first thing they notice. You can also add additional competencies to the top portion of your resume then follow with a reverse chronological format to make the resume semi-functional and loaded with keywords for electronic screening.
List Other Interests
Personality-defining hobbies or activities can increase your chances of landing a job at many PE firms particularly if they reflect the interests of those in the Fund already. The performance-driven culture can create a stressful work environment so hiring managers look for candidates that will fit such a demanding culture. Don't ever underestimate the 'additional info' section of your resume. Include something that's not necessarily academic, a lot of the times people want to talk about that. Favorite sports teams or unusual hobbies listed on a resume can often spark a conversation and help your resume standout.
Don't Exaggerate
When a junior-level applicant puts in their resume that they single-handedly led a multibillion dollar transaction that raises a red flag about the rest of their resume. It is smarter to be accurate about how your role and what specific tasks you accomplished.  Additionally, many recruiters compare your resume to your LinkedIn profile to further track discrepancies.
Boost Your Education
Even if you didn't get an M.B.A. from Ivey Business School, having the name of a good business school on your resume can help. Consider attending an executive education program or a certificate program at a good business school that focuses on furthering your private equity career like investment management. MBAs are becoming run-of-the-mill and other financial degrees will add more, such as the Certified Financial Analyst or CFA. This additional degree separates the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the  private equity skill set. You have to be able to number crunch and an MBA is not really designed to build that skill set. The CFA, in comparison, does just that.

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