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How To Write A Private Equity Resume

By: Ian Spellfield
Great. Congratulations.

But guess what - you will have to soon think about your resume and interviewing skills once again if you want to get private equity and hedge fund jobs following your 2 years as an analyst.

In many ways tailoring your resume for private equity jobs is similar to crafting your resume to get investment banking jobs.

But it's different in one critical aspect: you have to focus entirely on your investment banking experience and more specifically, the deals you worked on.

If you're going for non-finance jobs or MBA admissions, then definitely show the whole picture. But private equity firms only really care about your deal experience, so focus on that.

Private Equity Resume Structure

Half your resume should consist of your investment banking job experience, including your overall responsibilities and the deals you've worked on.

Move education to the bottom now that you're in the real world. Contact information should still be at the top, followed directly by work experience and your banking job.

Writing About Your Investment Banking Job

At the start of this section, write a few brief sentences about your overall responsibilities and summarize the deals you've worked on. "Special projects" could also go here.

You want to get across the number of deals you've worked on, the types of deals (M&A, IPOs, debt, etc.), and the skills you've gained - leveraged buyout modeling, accretion/dilution modeling, discounted cash flows and valuation.

Following this, you'll go into the heart of your resume - your investment banking deal experience.

Choosing Your Deals

Closed deals don't matter. What you personally contributed to a deal does matter. While it's nice to list high-profile deals, you should pick transactions that you learned a lot from and had a lot of responsibility on, even if they are on the smaller side.

For private equity jobs in particular, try to write about M&A deals rather than capital markets transactions. Debt could also be fine to write about, but stay away from equity because private equity firms basically look at M&A and debt deals on a daily basis.

Writing About Your Deals

Avoid the generic and hone in on what made each experience unique. Here's an example of how NOT to list a deal on your resume:

-$5 Billion Sale Of Company Y To Company
-Created Offering Memorandum and Management Presentation and tracked deal status
-Managed due diligence process and responded to all inquiries

This is way too generic and makes the transaction seem very generic as well. There's nothing here that looks particularly interesting or makes me say, "Wow looks like he learned a lot!" It also doesn't have much in the way of results.

The Right Way To Write About A Deal

Focus on the unique aspects. Did you influence the negotiation process? Did your analysis result in a higher price or generate additional interest in the market? Did you analyze the market in a way that led to a better price?

If you don't have anything unique or interesting to say about a deal (and some are like this), skip it and write about something else.

Here's how I would re-write my example above:

-$5 Billion Sale Of Company Y To Company X
-Worked with CFO to build operating model of company involving 40 different properties across the US and Europe
-Created market analysis showing favorable trends in casino construction; led to 2 private equity buyers remaining in the auction process until the final round

Despite being the same length, this is about 500 times better because it showed what you did that was unique to the deal as well as the results of your work, while leaving out the generic bits.

Writing About Unannounced Or Dead Deals

This is fine as long as you don't mention any names. When most analysts interview for buyside jobs, they don't have any announced or closed deals anyway.

If it's a very large or well-known deal, I would avoid mentioning specific numbers/dollar amounts and instead use percentages to make it more generic while still quantifying what you've done.

Closing Thoughts

There's no magic to private equity resumes. Much like any other type of resume, quantify, be specific, and focus on results. Make sure you pick your best deals to write about, and write about your most impressive accomplishments on each deal.

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About The Author, Ian Spellfield


Ian Spellfield, a former investment banker, advises students and young professionals on understanding investment banking and how to write private equity resumes.

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