Private Equity Resumes – Let’s Make a Deal

December 15, 2009

Having an 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 ACME Corporation to Giant, Inc.

  • Collaborated with the CFO to create financial impact models in connection with ACME’s holdings in international and domestic markets.
  • Conducted extensive industry analysis, both domestically and abroad, as part of the due diligence process.
  • Prepared post-acquisition TEV valuation models using: comparable company, precedent transaction and discounted cash flow analyses.

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 interviews. Capitalize on your specific strengths and how you hit the ground running in your new role. Highlight what you have learned and contributed in earlier roles to help your audience understand what you can do for them.

About the Author: Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC, is a Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach with more than 18 years experience working with professionals in finance, management consulting, legal, and technology.

{ 1 comment }

Healy Jones December 16, 2009 at 9:51 am

Nice post. The one thing I would add is that you really need to be prepared to explain WHY the deal was done, not just the mechanics of what you did during the deal. I’ve written a bit about how to get a VC job recently on my blog; may be interesting to people.

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