Wall Street Mastermind

How to Create a Resume for Goldman Sachs: Tips and Strategies That Helped Me Get into Investment Banking

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Sam Shiah

July 5, 2024

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Most people who want to break into investment banking consider Goldman Sachs to be the most prestigious bank on Wall Street.

It’s no wonder they have over 200,000 applicants each year and just a 1.5% acceptance rate.

If you want to break into investment banking, then no doubt Goldman Sachs is probably the dream firm at the top of your list.

In this newsletter, we are going to talk about what you need to do with your resume in order to stand out when applying to Goldman Sachs.

In fact, we are going to take the “resume writing tips & hints” document that used to be directly provided by the Goldman Sachs recruiting team as a part of their application, and go through it with you, section by section.

Goldman Sachs Resume Guidelines

I first came across this document 6 years ago, but I recently looked around and don’t see it on their website anymore.

Luckily for you, I saved a copy back then, so I’m still able to share it with you today.

Over the years, we’ve actually built and refined our own resume template, which incorporates all of the best practices that Goldman Sachs recommends.

This resume template has been used by every single one of the students we’ve worked with, and collectively they’ve gotten not just interviews, but offers from every single bulge bracket and elite boutique bank on Wall Street.

What this tells you is that these resume tips don’t just work for Goldman Sachs, but they will get you into any investment bank you want, if you follow it.

So without further ado, let’s dive in.

First, here is the “Resume Writing Tips & Hints” document from Goldman Sachs

As you can see, it starts out with “Your Resume/CV is a key part of your Goldman Sachs application.

Therefore it’s very important to build a successful Resume/CV that is well-written, clear and concise.

Based on our experience reviewing numerous applications, we have outlined some Resume/CV best practices and winning strategies below.”

This document is broken out into 6 different sections: Format, Personal Details, Education Details, Employment History/Work Experience, Personal Development/Skills, and Before You Submit.

So let’s go through each one.

First, let’s talk about the format of your resume

Goldman says:

“The information on your Resume/CV should be as readable and aesthetically pleasing as possible with a measured balance between text and space”

So if you look at the resume template we typically use here at Wall Street Mastermind, you’ll notice that we use a font called Garamond, which I personally find to be a lot more aesthetically pleasing than something like Times New Roman or Arial.

As for the “measured balance between text and space”, what you want to make sure if to minimize the amount of white space on the page, because if you want too much white space then the first impression you will give off is that you haven’t done that much.

Top investment banks like Goldman Sachs get upwards of hundreds of thousands of applications each year, so they spend very little time, as in no more than 30 seconds usually, scanning each resume.

This is why first impression is especially important.

The only white space that we want to have for the most part, is the spacer rows in between each section.

Those are still important to have to make sure the resume is easy to read and everything is not jumbled together like a wall of text.

OK next, Goldman says:

“The standard length of a Resume/CV for a graduate application is one page. Everything included in your Resume/CV should add value.

This is pretty self explanatory, but a lot of people make the mistake of having a resume that is multiple pages.

Especially if you’re applying for an entry-level position, you need to make sure your resume stays within one page or else it’s automatically going into the trash can.

“Think about the points you consider particularly important.

Block capitals, different size fonts and bold or italic type can help to direct the reviewer’s focus. Use with moderation and be consistent in your formatting.”

The way we like to do this, is we bold things like section headers, school name, GPA, company names, the names of any clubs or organizations you’re involved with, and things of that nature.

We italicize your role and position title, and then we keep mostly everything else regular font.

We also try to use the same font size throughout the entire resume, aside from the first and last name at the very top.

Being consistent with your formatting makes it easier for the banker or recruiter who’s reviewing your resume to quickly skim for the information that they’re looking for.

“Avoid lengthy paragraphs; bullet points can be used to condense a list of details.”

The key point here is to make sure that the length of your bullet points are mostly just one full line.

If you really need it to be longer, you can extend it to be two full lines.

If you have to use more than two full lines, your bullet point is too long and most likely becoming a run-on sentence.

At that point, you should consider breaking it up into multiple bullet points instead.

And notice I said either one full line or two full lines; you do not want to have any bullets that don’t extend all the way to the end of the page, because that creates wasted white space on the resume.

About the personal details section

This one is honestly common sense so we’re not going to spend too much time on it, but Goldman says:

“Include your name, address, at least one email address, a home telephone number and a mobile telephone number.”

“Be sure that all of your contact details are correct and up-to-date.”

“Ensure that your e-mail address projects a professional image of yourself.”

I think the only one worth commenting on is the last one – which is to make sure you don’t use an email address that shows TOO MUCH personality here – in fact the more boring it is, the better.

I’d recommend some combination of your first and last name, plus maybe some numbers if needed.

Keep it clean and professional, and you’ll be fine.

Let’s talk about the education details section

Goldman says:

“List your educational details in reverse order, with your most recent experiences first, back to your secondary level education.”

We’ve actually found that for most people, including just your university and/or masters degrees here is fine.

Nobody really cares where you went to high school, so you might as well save the space on your resume for some other experience that’s going to add more value to your profile.

The only exception to this would be if you went to a very famous high school, that perhaps has a lot of alumni on Wall Street.

If that’s the case, there might be some benefit on the networking side to show your high school.

Next, Goldman says:

“Integrate your education institutions and qualifications into one section.”

So as you’ll see, under the education section, in addition to listing your school, major, GPA, and potentially your SAT or ACT score if they’re good, we also include two more items that could potentially boost your qualifications:

a relevant coursework line where you can list out all the relevant classes you’ve taken in school, and a honors & awards line where you can list out any awards you’ve won.

If you list out the awards, it’s always best practice to include some details on how selective or difficult it was to get that award.

For example, if you were chosen as 1 of 5 winners out of 100,000 contestants, that’s a lot more impressive than if there were 200 winners for the award out of 1,000 contestants.

And the last point under the education section:

“Highlight any positions of responsibility you may have held.”

For this, we’re actually not going to put it under the Education section of your resume, but we’re going to create a separate section below the professional experience section called “Leadership and Extracurricular.”

This is where you can list all of the on-campus clubs or student organizations you’re involved with, or any volunteering activities that you might have.

Pretty much any meaningful experience you have that is not an actual work experience, can go under this section.

Also keep in mind, the banks are looking for leadership qualities here, so if you hold any sort of officer position within these organizations, that’s going to be a lot more compelling than if you were just a general member.

About employment history/work experience section, which is also probably the most important section on your resume:

Goldman says:

“Especially if your career has been short to date, give details of all jobs and positions held.

Include part time and unpaid work, starting with your current or most recent employer”

as well as

“Work experience should not be limited to paid employment.

Include any volunteer work, positions of responsibility within societies.”

Basically – you need to add enough experiences onto your resume to fill up the entire page.

This is important – sometimes we see students with a resume that’s only half filled, or 2/3 filled – and to our point earlier, that is way too much white space

So what I would recommend doing is writing down every single experience you’ve ever had, whether that’s a work experience that’s paid or unpaid, or any other types of activities you’ve ever participated in.

This could be school clubs or organizations, sports teams you’ve been a part of, volunteer activities, or just anything else you’ve spent a significant amount of time doing.

Then once you have the list, Goldman says:

“This section can be used by reviewers to target your Resume/CV for particular positions at Goldman Sachs.

Use the experiences that you do have to talk about any relevant or transferable skills.”

So what we are going to do is go through the list of experiences you’ve written down, and stack rank everything based on two criteria:

from most impressive to least impressive, and from most relevant to finance or investment banking to least relevant.

Then once you have your rankings, start from the top of your list and move those experiences over to your resume.

Keep doing this until you’ve filled up the full page, and then everything else that’s left on your list doesn’t make the cut and we can leave it off your resume.

Now on the off chance that you have the opposite problem where you don’t have enough experiences to fill the page, then you will have to fill up the page by having more bullet points for each of the experiences you do have, and also go out and try to accumulate more experiences as soon as possible.

And the last point Goldman has here is:

“Do not use valuable space to include the full addresses of your past employers.”

You definitely don’t need the full address, typically we just list the city and state for each of the organizations listed on your resume, and that’s good enough.

About the personal development/skills section:

Goldman says:

“Write about any courses, societies, voluntary work or responsibilities you consider relevant.”

We’ve pretty much covered both of these already – relevant courses go in the education section, and the societies and voluntary work can go under the “Leadership and Extracurricular” section.

Next, Goldman says:

“Sell any transferable or technical skills acquired.”

This is why we have a “Skills & Interests” section at the bottom of the resume.

For the “Skills” line item, you want to list any hard skills that could be relevant for the job.

These are typically foreign languages that you speak, computer programming languages that you know, or any software that you know how to use, especially if they are relevant for the role you’re applying for.

So if it’s an investment banking role, software like Bloomberg, CapIQ, or Factset would be some good examples.

You’ll also notice that we have an “Interests” line item here.

This might seem trivial, but it’s a good way to show some personality by listing out the things you’re interested in outside of work.

If your interests are unique, a lot of times that can become an ice breaker or conversation starter during your interviews or networking chats.

If the banker you’re speaking to also has the same interest as you, that can even help you build stronger rapport.

So do not overlook the significance of this line.

Also, instead of being vague and saying you like to “travel” – be more specific and include details on how many countries you’ve traveled to so far.

That makes it a lot more interesting for the banker to ask you about it.

Last but not least, the last section here is “Before You Submit”:

Goldman tells us to spell check – which is so obvious that it shouldn’t even need to be said.

But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen typos on people’s resumes.

If you have a typo or spelling error, your resume will automatically be disqualified.

So take the extra bit of time to proofread everything, it’s absolutely worth it.

Goldman also tells us to:

“Print out a copy and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Will a recruiter find my Resume/CV easy to read and impactful?
  2. Is the content concise and effective?
  3. Is the application a good reflection of me and my experiences?” as well as:

“Ask a friend or colleague to read the document and ask them the same set of questions.”

These are pretty self-explanatory – and if you just use the resume template that’s already been battle-tested by over 1,200 students inside of Wall Street Mastermind, then you should have no problem with any of these things!

If you want to get your hands on the exact resume template…

So with that said, if you want to get your hands on the exact resume template that has helped our students inside of Wall Street Mastermind get offers from every single bulge bracket and elite boutique bank on Wall Street, then message me “GS newsletter” and will do our best to get back to every single one of you.

I hope this newsletter gave you a good overview of all the best practices that you should keep in mind when it comes to crafting your resume for the ultra-competitive investing banking positions out there.

And as always – remember – Nothing worthwhile comes easy, and nothing is more important than your future.

Keep Grinding!

Need help navigating through this process?

If you’re someone who’s struggled to break into investment banking on your own but you’re still holding out hope, I hope I gave you more clarity on some of the different paths you might want to consider.

If you ever need help navigating through this complicated process — please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team here: wallstmastermind.com/apply

Wall Street Mastermind, Banking on Success Event NYC 2023

About me

As a former Morgan Stanley banker, my mission through starting Wall Street Mastermind—the original and premier Wall Street coaching program since 2018—is to help our students secure the highest-paying, most prestigious jobs on Wall Street.

Connect with me

📍Linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/samshiah/

📍Youtube www.youtube.com/@SamShiahTalksFinance/

📍Instagram www.instagram.com/wallstreetmastermind/

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