Hello Wolf Pack!
Now that you’ve read my tips on writing the perfect resume and cover letter for investment banking, we’re going to cap it off by walking you through the last part of your self-promotion trifecta: your Linkedin profile.
Your Linkedin profile could be just as important as your resume, if not more. Why, you ask? Two reasons:
- These days, it’s the primary tool that recruiters use to find candidates for any job openings they are trying to fill. An optimized profile will help you get more inbound opportunities. According to Linkedin, having all of the relevant sections filled out increases your chances (keep reading below for all the stats). It’s nice to be sought after rather than always begging people for opportunities
- Most of you will need to do at least some networking and/or cold calling/emailing during your recruiting process. Oh but you go to an Ivy League school, have a 4.0 GPA and multiple finance internships under your belt already? OK in that case, feel free to ignore your Linkedin profile (just kidding, don’t). For the rest of you though, I previously showed you how to leverage Linkedin during your networking efforts. What I didn’t mention was that the quality of your Linkedin profile will directly impact how often people respond to your messages. It will be the first thing people check out before deciding if you’re worth responding to. It’s essentially your online resume, but with even more information
Have I piqued your interest? If so, let’s go over all the things you need to think about.
The Major Components of a Linkedin Profile
You can break a Linkedin profile up into the following sections:
- Featured Skills & Endorsements
My first tip to you: fill every single section out to the best of your ability. The more complete your profile is, the more likely it is for you to show up in recruiters’ search results.
But before you run off to update each of these sections, I have two reminders for you. First, if you haven’t downloaded our all-in-one recruiting toolkit yet, click the image below and I will send it to you. I’ve included a resource in there that will help you beef up your Linkedin profile by following some relevant influencers and Linkedin groups. No, I can’t change the content of your resume and that’s still going to be the most important thing. But every little edge counts, and following the right people/groups will demonstrate to recruiters that you’re serious about investment banking.
Secondly, please remember to first turn off your activity update alerts before you start updating your profile. If you don’t do this, everyone on Linkedin will be able to see the changes you’re making to your profile, as you’re making them. You don’t want that. Instead, you should turn off the updates until your profile is done being updated, and then turn the updates back on. You can do this by clicking on “Me” in the upper right corner of the tool bar:
And then under the “Privacy” section, go to “Sharing profile edits” and toggle it to “No.”
And now that we’ve gotten the administrative stuff out of the way, let’s break down each section of the Linkedin profile one by one, and talk about what to do with them.
This is the first and most important section of your profile. In addition to filling everything out, here are the things to optimize:
- Photo: use a professionally taken photo if you can afford it, and ideally in business attire (suit & tie). Otherwise, at least find a friend who’s into photography, and have them take your headshot with their fancy camera. Make sure you’re smiling and looking directly at the camera. According to Linkedin, “members with a profile photo receive up to 21x more profile views and 9x more connection requests.”
- Headline: this is often one of the only things the recruiter looks at, besides your photo and where you currently work. If you’re currently already in an investment banking related job, you should list that. Otherwise, most of you are probably just starting to look for investment banking jobs, so you should make it known by using some variation of “3rd-year college student seeking investment banking analyst opportunities.” Swap out the relevant details as needed
- Current Company/School: add in your current position if you’re working, and also the college or business school you most recently attended. According to Linkedin, “members with current positions are discovered up to 16x more in recruiter searches… If you’re not yet employed, not to worry — adding in your education will get you 17x more messages from recruiters.”
- Current Location: self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised at its importance. According to Linkedin, “including the city where you are based makes you stand out up to 23x in searches.”
- Connections: the more the better here. Linkedin requires at least 50 connections for you to achieve the highest level of profile strength (All-Star). You can add anyone from family, friends, current/past coworkers, current/past classmates, and even people who you only consider to be acquaintances. When it comes to Linkedin, it’s not about the quality of your connections, but the quantity. Having more connections means it’ll be more likely for you to find 2nd and 3rd-degree connections for your networking efforts
- Summary: this is your elevator pitch. Write 3-5 sentences that summarize your background and experiences. Treat this as a sales letter, with yourself being the product being sold
This is your work experience section. This should be pretty easy if you’ve already finished your resume. In fact, we recommend that you have your resume done first, so head over to the post on writing the perfect investment banking resume first if you haven’t done so already. Once that’s done, it’s as simple as copy pasting the bullet points over to your Linkedin profile.
If you are a more experienced candidate and have transaction experience broken out on your resume, you can utilize the “accomplishment” section to add individual projects (more on this later).
Here you have the option to list the following: school, major, GPA, activities and societies, time period, and description. Again, you can take everything straight from your resume. The only difference is that you should feel free to leave your GPA off unless you have a good GPA. Unlike resumes, Linkedin profiles aren’t expected to have your GPA listed, so only do so if it helps you. Under activities and societies, list out any extracurricular activities that you participated in on campus, especially if they’re relevant to investment banking in any way shape or form.
Featured Skills & Endorsements
Under this section, you want to add as many skills as possible. According to Linkedin, “members with more than 5 skills are 27x more likely to be discovered in searches by recruiters.”
This is what the “Featured Skills & Endorsements” section looks like when fully expanded.
Once you have added all of your different skills, your Linkedin connections can then go and endorse your skills. This essentially means they’re vouching for you when it comes to the skill(s) they are endorsing. When you’re first starting out, reach out to connections you’re comfortable with and ask them to endorse your skills. The top 3 skills with the most endorsements will show up above the line where it says “[your name] is also good at…”, while the rest of your skills will be collapsed and hidden unless people decide to expand the section.
Needless to say, you want to include skills that are relevant to investment banking. Financial modeling, valuation, discounted cash flow, mergers & acquisitions, and leveraged buyouts are just a few examples.
Along similar lines to the skills and endorsements section, you can also ask people for mini recommendation letters (around a paragraph). Usually, I like to ask the person directly outside of Linkedin first, so that they know to expect the request. Then once they’ve agreed, you can click the “ask to be recommended” link in the upper right corner of this section, and send the request to them. They will receive a notification to fill out the recommendation form, and it will be posted to your profile once done.
When you ask for the recommendation, give them two options: 1) they can write the recommendation for you themselves, or 2) you can write it for them and all they have to do is post it. Sometimes people are too busy and don’t want to think about what to write, so it’s good to let them know that you can do whatever they prefer. If they ask you to write it, you get the added benefit of controlling the content of the recommendation. Even if they want to write it themselves, you can point them towards a few specific things you’d like them to touch on (a certain project/accomplishment/quality of yours). This way, you can make sure you have a diverse set of recommendations that show off the different sides of you that an investment banking recruiter would value.
There are numerous options you could list under the accomplishments section:
- Certification: CFA is a popular and relevant one to list
- Course: have you taken any finance related courses?
- Honor and Award: won any awards? Got 1st place at an investment banking case competition?
- Language: please don’t list English (unless you’re not from the US)
- Patent: probably not relevant unless you’re an engineer
- Project: if you’ve worked on deals before, this is a good place to list the “transaction experience” section from your resume
- Publication: are you an author of anything?
- Test Score: only list the scores if it’s good (duh)
- Organization: professional groups, nonprofits, volunteer groups, sports teams, etc.
- Influencers: follow some business leaders that inspire you. To do so, look up their profile, go under the “activity” section, and click the “+Follow” button in the upper right corner. These don’t necessarily have to be bankers. For example, if you know you’re interested in joining a specific industry group in banking (i.e. for me, it was technology investment banking), you might follow executives in that industry (i.e. Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, etc.)
- Companies: at a minimum, follow the investment banks you’re interested in working for
- Groups: join investment banking related groups, there are a ton out there
- Schools: doesn’t really matter to be honest
- Your Linkedin profile is potentially just as, if not more important than your actual resume
- There are seven main sections to your Linkedin profile, make sure all of them are filled out as much as possible. I went through the sections in order of importance, and gave you the step-by-step on what to include
- Turn off activity update alerts before you start updating, and turn it back on after you’re done
- Do your resume first, as most of the content can be reused for your Linkedin profile
Alright that’s it for now. Again, use the resume template I’ve provided in the FREE all-in-one recruiting toolkit to create your resume first. Then use that as the basis for your Linkedin profile. I’ve also included some influencers and Linkedin groups you can follow to make your profile more relevant. Click below to grab all of these resources if you haven’t already.
As always, if you’d like more hands-on and personalized help, you can check out our coaching program here. If you have comments or questions, please drop a line down below. Otherwise, remember: