Job Interview Preparation
The FSA is happy to help you with your job applications. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about building resumes, praciticing e-assesments, writing a cover letter and preparing for a job interview.
What do employers look for in a resume?
The most important purpose of a resume is that employers quickly see your knowledge and skills. A board year, committee experience or studying abroad makes a good impression next to good grades. A resume is ideally no longer than two A4 pages. It should contain relevant working experience, internships, extra-curricular activities, skills and interests. Shortly state what your tasks and responsibilities are during your internship or job, and optionally state what successes you have accomplished. Also, don’t forget to add the period (month and year) of your internship, job and/or committee experience. The essence of a good resume is finding the balance between writing relevant experience, but also keeping it short and clear. You can choose to include a short text about you as a person, but make sure the text is not too general.
Do you have an example of a standard resume?
We are happy to help you with your resume. Use the format below to get started!
Tips & Tricks:
- Make sure that your resume has a consistent layout and that it is easy to read and comprehend.
- A resume is no longer than two pages.
- Always save your resume as a PDF file and mention your own name in the filename.
Can you check my resume?
Yes, of course! Please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will scan and review your resume and provide you with tips on how you can improve your resume.
Do I need a photo on my resume?
No, you don’t need a photo on your resume. For example, in the Corporate Finance sector a photo is not needed. In the Marketing sector a photo is preferable. If you choose to include a photo, make sure it is professional.
What does a professional photo look like?
- Wear formal clothing.
- Avoid distracting backgrounds.
- Don’t include other people in the picture.
- Make sure the quality of the picture is sufficient.
2. Cover letter
What is the best way to structure my cover letter?
First of all, make your cover letter personal and customised to the specific vacancy and company you are applying for. Also, a known pitfall is to summarise your resume in the cover letter. There is no need for that. The company already has your resume. Use the letter to highlight and explain the fit between you and the vacancy instead.
Please see the basic structure of a letter below. This structure is great as a guideline, but do personalise the letter to show your personality and enthusiasm about the vacancy and the company.
Paragraph 1: Introduction
Introduce yourself and explain why you are contacting the company. Do not forget to stand out and to grab the attention!
Paragraph 2: The company
What attracts you to the company? Check the strategy of the company, the website, the mission and the goals they want focus on in the future to make sure you are specific. It always helps to ‘drop names’ of employees in the beginning of your motivation letter. Make sure you talked to an employee before applying. This means that you can mention his/her name and incorporate his/her experiences in your letter.
Paragraph 3: The fit
Why are you the best candidate for this specific vacancy? Emphasize the fit between the company, the job and you! In other words, link the job description to your own competencies and experiences. It can always help to briefly use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) in this part of your letter.
Paragraph 4: Concluding words
End your letter with a strong concluding sentence. Once again, make sure you link your contribution to the specific company and vacancy you apply for.
End: Professional sign-off
End your letter with “Sincerely,” or “Best regards,”
What do employers look for in a cover letter?
In a cover letter it is important to state why you want to work for that specific company. So, point out why you want to work for that specific company and not for another company in the same sector? It is also important to state why you want that specific job in M&A/Corporate Finance/Consultancy. You should not summarize your resume in the motivation letter, but further explain why your experience fits the skills needed for this job. Lastly, do not write much more than one A4 page and read your letter multiple times to filter out the spelling mistakes!
What is an e-assessment?
Online assessments are used by most companies nowadays to test your capabilities. In most cases, you will be asked to make an e-assessment test before the actual job interview. An e-assessment is an online aptitute test. It is important to prepare yourself for an e-assessment. At first, these tests seem hard, but you will soon realise that practicing does help.
As a FSA member you will receive discounts on the online assessment trainings of HelloTest. Hellotest offers specific practice materials for all major test publishers. Send an email to email@example.com to receive the discount code!
Most e-assesments focus on numerical, logical and verbal reasing. However, every company uses different tests. At HelloTest you will find the test per company.
How do I prepare for an e-assessment?
Practice a lot! As a FSA member you will receive discounts on the online assessment trainings of HelloTest. Hellotest offers specific practice materials for all major test publishers. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the discount code!
In addition, ask the company which test you are asked to make before you start preparing for the test. Do not hesitate to ask the recruiter for more information about the tests. It can also be useful to ask other students or employees of that specific company who already took the test for tips and tricks.
4. Job Interview
How to prepare for a job interview?
Make sure you thoroughly read the website of the company concerned. You want to get to know the culture and the values that are important to this company. Think about how these issues match with what you are looking for in a company and in the job. This will help you to motivate why you would like this job. Also think about questions about the company or the job you are applying for. A job interview should not only be you answering questions but asking them as well. This shows that you have actively researched this job and that you are pro-active and interested. Furthermore, it is important to give answers according to the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method. Finally, if you don’t understand the question or you don’t know the answer, just ask for help. Be honest and don’t just make up the answer without properly understanding the question.
What to wear during a job interview?
This depends on which company you are applying for. Take a look on their website to get to know more about the dress code. If you are not sure, then you can always ask the recruiter. Generally, for all interviews in Corporate Finance candidates should be formally dressed. Men should wear a suit, and women should wear a decent dress, skirt or pants with a blouse.