Every investment bank receives thousands of applications each and every year. If you want a graduate career in the City, you will need to differentiate yourself at this first hurdle.
Each bank will have it's own application form but the general content of them all is the same. Here's what you need to do - at a minimum - to get by.
1) Take your time
These applications take a decent 2hours to complete and we can see a rushed, half-hearted application from a mile away....especially if you're applying to Goldman Sachs but forgot to change your answer and it reads 'I believe a job at JP Morgan would....'
Tailor an application to the company you're applying to and the role you're applying to. Make sure that it's obvious you've made the effort to think about what the bank's looking for, why you would fit their requirements and why you want to work for them.
Spell the name of the company correctly. It is not unknown for people to say they want to work for 'JPMorgen.' It doesn't matter how good you are academically, this will lead to an automatic rejection of your application.
2) Don't lie
DO NOT LIE, DO NOT AMEND, DO NOT FUDGE.
Should you be successful to gain employment there is a vigorous background screening process undertaken by an external firm. Believe me, they will find every little discrepancy in your application and that discrepeacy can lead to your offer being retracted.
3) Be careful with the longer answers
There may be a section of questions allowing you to type some short answers, ' Why do you want to work in finance?', 'Why do you want to work in this bank in particular?' Or: 'Give an example of a difficult situation you have faced - how did you overcome it?' or 'Give an example of teamwork'.
Concentrate on your personal contribution to whatever it is you're writing about and stress achievements and outcomes. Gauge the required length of the answer by the size of the answer box on screen and/or if they give you and indicated word limit .
We don't want and don't like a thesis. We want concise answers that still give us enough information to assess your strengths and weaknesses.
Bear in mind that these answers are crucial. If you pass the initial academic scan, these answers will be used to differentiate you from the rest. Human resources staff will scan what you've written, looking for mistakes. It sounds brutal but they have to narrow the pool of candidates somehow
4) Come back to it
Some forms give you the option of saving your answer and returning to them later before you submit them. This is a good idea as you're more likely to pick up on any mistakes.
5) Don't overdo the final box
There is normally a box at the end of the form which has no word limit and will say 'please include any information to support your application below.'
This gives you the chance to include anything that will help your application which you haven't included already. You do not HAVE to write something here so please do not waffle. If you
have a good point to make then make it. Otherwise, don't.
The author is a sales professional in an investment bank.