Investment Banking Cover Letter Template: What You’re Doing Wrong

Investment Banking Cover LetterIt’s hard finding the perfect investment banking cover letter template.

So I’m here to help you cheat a little bit.

If you follow the steps below, I’ll show you how to write a cover letter that actually gets results based on where you are in your career.

And if you’re just plain lazy, you can download the cover letter template below.

But trust me, if you want results, you will want to keep reading.

 

 

Access The Investment Banking Cover Letter Template Below


investment-banking-cover-letter-template

Table of Contents

1 – Avoid These Common Mistakes
2 – The Attention Trick
3 – #1 Thing You Need To Show
4 – Prove You’re The Best
5 – Conclusion

Investment Banking Cover Letter Intro

#1 – You Still Have No Experience

This is by FAR the most important thing.

You need to figure out which experience bucket you fall into before even worrying about a cover letter

Are you applying for an investment banking job without any experience in the field?

You’ll be wasting your time if you don’t at least have SOME relevant analytical, research and modeling experience.

The #1 thing banks look for on your resume is experience related to the job.

If you don’t have any, you better go get some before you apply.

First, identify which bucket you fall into:

Bucket A: You Have No Experience At All.

If you think you fall under this bucket, you’re probably a Freshman or Sophomore looking to break in.

Your top two priorities should be networking for the future and getting relevant experience to help yourself stand out.

Here’s how I would rank relevant experience:

  1. Previous Investment Banking Internship
  2. Previous Analytical Based Internship (Hedge Fund/Private Equity, research firm, anything where you are doing financial modeling, valuation and analyzing companies)
  3. Completing the Invest Like The Street Analyst Program (we teach you how to do the job and give you experience doing the work)
  4. Being Part Of a Student Run Investment Fund (managing your University’s endowment)
  5. Participating in Major Stock Pitch Competitions Or Case Competition (these are fantastic to do and widely available)

Anything else like unrelated internships (think sales, operations based, corporate finance, etc) do not help at all.

Find a way to get one of those 5 above, or don’t bother wasting your time writing an investment banking cover letter with no experience under your belt.

Bucket B: You Have Previous Internship Or Job Experience But It’s Unrelated

This is probably the most common bucket. You have some work experience, but it’s completely unrelated.

That means you need to utilize the Spin and Shine method.

Essentially it works like this:

You need to ‘spin’ your work experience and make it seem much more analytical and hands on.

For example, if you did administrative work all summer don’t tell me that. Focus on the maybe 5% of interesting work you did during the summer that might be related to investment banking.

Make everything you did seem analytical as possible and try and remove as much as you can related to boring sales, operations or administrative work.

Bucket C: You Have Some Relevant Experience

If you’re in this bucket, good for you. When we get to writing the cover letter, you’re going to want to highlight that experience, even if it wasn’t directly banking related.

You went through our Invest Like The Street Analyst Program or got to participate in your school’s student run investment fund, you’ve had experience analyzing businesses, reading financial statements, building financial models and doing some valuation.

All of those are skills investment banks definitely look for.

Bucket D: You’ve Had Previous Investment Banking Experience

Do I need to say much here?

You’re in the best position you can be. Good for you.

 

#2 – You Worrying About This Cover Letter Instead Of Networking

Let’s be real for a second:

Do you really think bankers have time to read these things? Better yet: do you honestly think they care?

Absolutely not.

If you haven’t realized yet, you should be spending the majority of your time networking or working on your resume.

I’ve had plenty of really stupid friends get awesome jobs in banking.

Why? They were fantastic at networking.

Spending your time networking will dramatically increase the chances of you get a job in investment banking (or any other analyst job on Wall Street).

Unless you’re from an Ivy or have a great connection already, put 90% of your time into networking, not worry about a cover letter for investment banking.

#3- You’re Applying At The Wrong Time

This is a mistake I see students make all the time.

They wait way too long.

If you really want to get into investment banking, you need to start early.

The best students I have worked with were completely well-versed in financial modeling, financial analysis, and valuation by the end of their Freshman year, NOT their Sophomore or Junior year.

That positions them to land a decent, somewhat related internship their Sophmore summer, and gives them some nice experience to highlight when they are applying for the big investment banking internships for Junior year.

Worst case, make sure you know all of the above by they end of your Sophomore year, so you at least sound knowledgable going into interviews.

If you’re playing your cards right, you should be ready to go by mid summer (for Bulge Brackets) or early Fall (for everything else). These applications open wicked early nowadays, so don’t think you can procrastinate.

If you’re on schedule, great!

It’s much harder to get into investment banking without having that internship junior. Most students are able to receive full time offers after that.

Otherwise, you better start networking like crazy.

 

#4 – Using The Same Cover Letter

Nothing is a bigger waste of time than using the same cover letter for different companies and different job.

The whole point of a cover letter is to help yourself stand out and show an employer why you are the PERFECT fit, for THAT company, and THAT exact job.

Each investment banking cover letter needs to be personalized and each should show you’ve at least done SOME research on the company or bank.

We’ll get into this more in a little bit.

 

#5 – Spending More Time On The Cover Letter Than Your Resume

Let’s be real: your resume is 238923892 times more important than a cover letter.

If the structure of your resume sucks, you have the wrong keywords, or you just have no idea how to highlight what banks are interested in seeing, then don’t even bother with doing the cover letter right now.

Fix your resume first.

You can literally learn how and steal our template by going here.

Here’s what you should focus on:

Highlighting Your Relevant Experience

We already talked about this earlier, but I’ll repeat it one more time:

Make sure your relevant experience is front and center on your resume like this:

Investment Banking Cover Letter Experience

Utilize Sub-Bullets To Highlight Specific Things You Worked On

This is something most students don’t utilize.

Sub-bullets are a great way to highlight deals you’ve worked on, companies you’ve researched, stocks you’ve pitch, etc.

It looks like this:

Investment Banking Cover Letter Experience 2

Investment Banking Cover Letter Part 1

Ever watch a TV show where you get absolutely hooked within the first few minutes and then are desperate to keep watching and learn more?

That’s the concept you need to apply to your cover letter.

You gotta hook them.

Since the majority are probably from non-Ivy’s, most people won’t care about your school.

So let’s take a look at an example:

What did we do?

#1 – Overshadowed the non-target with a name drop of someone we spoke to
#2 – Mentioned a recent deal they worked on to show we did our research

Other examples:

#1 – If you didn’t talk to anyone, try and find an interview of a managing director or someone high up. You can find those occasionally, and it still shows you’ve done your work. That being said, it’s still way better to put in the effort to try and get someone on the phone for 15-30 minutes and ask them smart questions about their career and day-to-day.

#2 – Make sure you have the right position specified (obviously)

Investment Banking Cover Letter Part Two

At this point, you’ve hopefully grabbed the attention of whoever is reading your cover letter(if anyone since not many people actually read these things).

Now you need to stand out and how them exactly why YOU are a perfect fit for the job.

You do this by highlighting your previous experiences and why they are relevant to the job.

By relevant experience, we can refer back to what I listed earlier:

  1. Previous Investment Banking Internship
  2. Previous Analytical Based Internship (Hedge Fund/Private Equity, research firm, anything where you are doing financial modeling, valuation and analyzing companies)
  3. Completing the Invest Like The Street Analyst Program (we teach you how to do the job and give you experience doing the work)
  4. Being Part Of a Student Run Investment Fund (managing your University’s endowment)
  5. Participating in Major Stock Pitch Competitions Or Case Competition (these are fantastic to do and widely available)

If you don’t have anything like that, you’re in rough shape and might want to consider our analyst program.

The trick is highlighting your analytical work.

They want to see modeling experience, financial analysis, valuation, etc.

They know most of these things are taught poorly in school so they are looking for an outside example of you having that type of analytical experience.

Or if you want to be ballsy, you can just copy this kid and admit you have no experience and a low GPA.

Let’s take a look at some examples

Example #1 – Already Had An Investment Banking Internship

Example #2 – Experience Similar To An Internship

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Investment Banking Cover Letter Part 3

Paragraph three basically rehashes everything you just mentioned in the last paragraph.

All you’re basically doing is telling them why you’re the perfect fit.

No rocket science here.

Take a look at the example below:


Investment Banking Cover Letter Part 4

Don’t try and get fancy with your conclusion. Keep it simple, give your contact info, and finish up.