Having a MBA from a top tier school and experience working for an investment bank is not required but definitely recommended for entry into a private equity firm. In fact, last year the Private Equity Compensation Report revealed that about one half of the participants did not have an MBA and there was only a 7 percent difference in pay versus those who did.
Whatever your background, your resume is a marketing tool, which should reveal your strengths in a meaningful way. Here are some valuable tips to help:
Your private equity document needs to be results-focused with quantifiable and specific information regarding what you did and how you achieved results. The main and critical difference between a private equity resume and a ‘regular’ resume is that yours should highlight specific deals. Private equity firms are particularly focused on your deal experience – so make sure you highlight them in a meaningful way.
Assuming you are transitioning from an investment bank, your related work experience, including a summary of your deals and any relevant special projects should be included. Keep in mind that the information should highlight your analytical competencies and types of deals you have worked on. Specifically private equity firms are interested in M&A deals and leveraging debt.
Make sure you reference information regarding the skills you developed during the deal process. This will likely include information regarding deal sourcing and due diligence, leveraged buyout and accretion/dilution modeling and valuations, and any participation you had in developing and executing an exit strategy.
When referencing your deals, don’t simply list the transaction. You want to engage the reader. The best way to do this is to list the transaction and then provide a short synopsis regarding what you did. Highlight interesting or unique things to give the reader a flavor of your contribution and what you learned. Here is an example.
$7B Sale of “Company A” to “Company B”
- Collaborated with the CFO to create financial and other models in connection with Company A’s holdings in international and domestic markets.
- Conducted extensive industry analysis both domestically and abroad as part of the due diligence process. Prepared valuations and merger models used during presentations.
Throughout the resume you should provide results oriented information to hold the reader’s attention. Consider providing the reader with details regarding your efforts in negotiating the deal, market analysis, or any other elements that demonstrate your skills.
An important component to selecting the deals that are highlighted on the resume is to ensure that you choose those transactions where you learned a significant amount and/or you had a lot of responsibility. It is fine to reference smaller deals as long as they demonstrate your active involvement and contribution.
In summary, your own diligence and careful planning will ensure that you produce a resume that generates the interviews. Capitalize on your strengths and how you hope to add value in a new role. Highlight what you have learned and contributed in earlier roles to help your audience understand what you can do for them.