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GUEST COMMENT: 5 ways to adapt your CV if you want to get into an M&A boutique

Philip Seager

There are numerous reasons why you might want to work for an M&A boutique. Firstly, they’re still hiring actively. Secondly – they offer excellent experience if you’re junior, with full exposure to the client and deal process on offer from the start. And thirdly, if you’re a more senior banker, a boutique can be a great opportunity to build your business.

So what are boutiques looking for on your CV and what’s the best way to stand out from other applicants?

Boutiques want to see evidence of working on deals and what you can really do!  The five essential points to include are as follows:

  1. Make sure you write the number of deals and types of deals you’ve worked on.  If you are a junior, even mention the deals that didn’t close; it’s not your fault and you still carried out all the analysis.
  2. Tell your story and sell yourself. Talk about your experience in completing valuation models, due diligence, research methodologies and your participation in client presentations.
  3. Show them you are an entrepreneur – Why? It’s an entrepreneurial work environment! You have a great opportunity to generate your own business early, close interaction with clients and the ability to take responsibility for your career.
  4. Make sure your CV refers to the full spectrum of your experience. Jobs in boutiques are broader by nature and having someone who can support where needed is a real asset. Think about all the variations in your work – from the models you run, deal size, the sectors you cover or have covered and your additional duties and responsibilities.  Could you sort out the IT systems if they go down, or update the website?
  5. In a bulge bracket bank you are one of hundreds at your level. In a boutique it is your differences and individuality that will help make you a success. What are your interests, both in work and outside? What do you do to keep up with the sector? Are you a keen sportsman or woman?  Have you led expeditions to Everest?

More than anything you can do to your CV, the key to successfully applying to work with a boutique is knowing who to talk to at the company, and then what buttons to push once you have that conversation.  The only way to do this is to be dealing with the right recruiters.

Comments (1)

  1. You were giving fairly sensible advice for a moment and then you ask whether you could sort out IT or website issues?! Seriously!?

    My advice would be for any candidate that is thinking about a career in a boutique would be to do a serious amount of due diligence and look into not only the caliber and track record of the individuals, but most importantly, their track record on the current platform. So many boutiques (I’m talking bottom end of the market, which is where I assume this advice is geared towards given the above) trade on former glories when one of the partners worked at a better franchise. Keep an eye on the small print – ‘transactions completed on this or previous platforms’ is a common phrase.

    There are some very good smaller firms out there, but like recruiters there are also an awful lot of turkeys. Dealing with the right recruiters will obviously help if they are well connected with senior partners at the firms, but I’d be wary of anywhere that wants you to fix their website. . . .

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