Home > Asset Management, Career Advancement, College Years, Job Hunting, Networking > What can possibly go wrong with your resume?

What can possibly go wrong with your resume?

We have been hiring in our group and the resume screening process is kind of fun. I know there are many articles all over the place on how to write a perfect resume and I can tell many of the resumes I’ve seen have tried very hard to follow these rules. But then, what can possibly still go wrong?


1)      What the hell is that experience on top of your resume?

Wharton MBA, 4.0 GPA, absolutely impressive. And all the other work experience only makes him more qualified for the job. Wait, but his most recent position for the last 8 months is in MUSIC PRODUCTION? It’s not that you can’t try something new about your life, but why is this RELEVANT TO THIS JOB that you’re applying? You can be a very artsy person or a super talented guitar player and that’s probably even a plus, and it could become a very entertaining topic at the interview. But it’s usually a BAD idea to put this in bold letters on the TOP of your resume applying for a job in a totally different industry, because people will have a REALLY HARD time making the connections. 

Your resume represents who you are before you get a chance to convince anyone face-to-face. You want to make it REALLY EASY for the resume screeners to pick you. 

2)      Those two lines at the bottom of your resume

Usually people put “certifications/qualifications and/or interest/hobbies at the bottom of your resume. Perfect, and no matter how tiny your font is, trust me people will notice. If you’ve done poorly in all other sessions of your resume, a super strong qualifications or interest can hardly do you too much good anyway; but if you’ve done a great job in everything else and totally screw up this part, you’ll probably end up losing an opportunity that is supposed to be right in front of your nose. 

Now here are two examples. Under “certifications” there is this girl who put “CFA I”. Are you kidding me? (That was exactly what my Director said to me btw). Everyone who has the vaguest idea about CFA will probably also know that you can not say anything like that. You can only say something like “I am currently a CFA Level II candidate” or “I passed CFA Level I on first try”. 

Why is this so important after all? Sometimes people would RATHER hire someone who may be a little bit slow but is always detail-oriented, THAN to have someone who is obviously smart but have the tendency of saying something totally stupid. No one wants to be on the hook for that blame, and employers have the right to be careful about it. 

Another example is that under “interest” someone put “Fashion”, which is interesting. To some extent you can argue fashion and finance are not that far away from each other anyway (at least there are social events like “when finance meets fashion”), but you need to be careful what signal you are sending out about you as a person. Is this interest totally OUT OF NOWHERE? If your extracurricular and other volunteer experiences demonstrate that you are a very cultural and artsy person then it should be no surprise that you are into fashion. Actually I believe I once got an interview from a consulting firm because I listed “Chinese traditional dancing” as one of my hobbies. But again, if it’s TOTALLY RANDOM, people will question why you want to put it up there in the first place. 

3)      Is this the experience you want to go into such detail?

For every investment banking analyst who wants to get into buy-side, you need to convey some sort of a message that you are DONE WITH THE SELLSIDE. You may just have an ibanker “poker face” then basically you are doomed (kidding), but if your resume SCREAMS investment banking, I seriously doubt any buy-side professionals can relate to that, because they can tell your heart is somewhere else (UNLESS you know the group has a legacy of hiring ex-bankers). 

Someone who applied to our division has 2/3 of his resume on the deals and transactions he was involved in for the past 2 years at this bank. Obviously he has a very strong profile. But then the question is why this is basically the ONLY important message he’s sending throughout his resume? Is it because he desperately wants to get OUT OF banking but doesn’t have any other relevant experiences? Or is it because he is applying to OTHER BANKS anyway and just randomly submitted to our group as well just to try his luck? 

You can never tell. BOTTOM LINE, if you cannot read “I want this position and I am so prepared to do this job”, then it will not be a TARGETED application. And I don’t know why you will get an interview AT THIS MARKET without even knowing why you should apply to this job in the first place. 

That’s just my 2 cents from my recent experience. What else have you noticed through reading other resumes? It will be great if you would like to leave y our thoughts too!


  1. May 2, 2016 at 2:41 pm

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    • October 28, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      Thanks my friend, I try to say what’s important but also make it interesting!

  1. November 15, 2010 at 7:38 pm
  2. November 15, 2010 at 7:55 pm
  3. January 24, 2011 at 11:21 pm
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