Resume & Cover Letters
My GPA isn’t very good; should I include it on my resume?
For investment banks (and finance firms in general) you should include your cumulative GPA on your resume. You might also include your major GPA if (1) your major is in an analytical/quantitative discipline, and (2) it is significantly higher than your cumulative GPA.
Can I round my GPA?
Yes, rounding your GPA to one decimal place using the standard mathematical rounding system is acceptable. For example: if your GPA is a 3.42 you will round to 3.4. Don’t round up more than is consistent with standard rounding conventions. For example: rounding a 3.43 GPA to 3.5 is not acceptable and may be considered academic dishonesty (even though there is a popular interview prep website that says it’s OK to do this). See also the Career Center policies on misrepresentation on your resume.
Will majoring in economics make me a stronger candidate for a career in finance? Do I have to major in economics to obtain a career in finance?
You do not need to major in economics to get a career in finance. Majoring in any analytical or quantitative discipline is viewed as beneficial. Students from non-quantitative majors are also actively considered; those students are encouraged to include evidence of analytical ability on their resumes through their extracurricular and/or work experiences.
Should I include my interests on my resume?
Yes, this is encouraged. Try to avoid being too generic. For example: “Reading” is weak. “Reading 20th century Russian Literature” has more depth. “Baseball” is too generic. “Avid Red Sox fan” is more meaningful, and might spark a baseball conversation during an interview, which is an opportunity for both you and the interviewer to relax for a few minutes. Dukies should probably avoid listing “Basketball” as an interest!
I have a chosen nickname in addition to my real (registered) name; which should I use on my resume?
The name that is listed at the top of your resume should be your registered name – the name that identifies you in your Duke records (such as in the eRecruiting database). If you wish to list your chosen/nickname as well, do so in parentheses; e.g., Xiao (John) Wang [Xiao “John” Wang is also acceptable].
Should I include my high school information on my resume?
It is conventional to include your high school name, location, GPA, and SAT scores on your resume. Once you are a junior in college, you are discouraged from including high school extra-curriculars on your resume unless they are both relevant and significant.
Should I include my sorority/fraternity/club?
You can list all of the clubs and organizations in which you play an active role, including a fraternity/sorority if applicable.
I have already accepted an offer, but now a better one has come along; can I change?
NO! Even a verbal “yes” to an offer constitutes a binding agreement that cannot be changed. See the Career Center’s policies on reneging on job offers. In any case, once you have accepted an offer you should withdraw from consideration at all other firms as soon as possible.
I currently have multiple offers. Should I hold on to all of them until I have made my final decision?
In general, you are discouraged from holding multiple different offers, as this holds up the recruiting process both for the companies who are waiting for your decision, and other students who may be “on hold” with these companies. Prioritize your offers within any one industry. A rule of thumb is that you should not hold more than 2-3 offers at any time, although this can vary depending on your circumstances. If you are holding any offers that you are certain that you will not accept, you should withdraw from those opportunities immediately
How do I effectively manage multiple interviews in one day? Should I schedule my interviews back-to-back?
These interviews can be tiring and sometimes run over the allotted time, so scheduling back-to-back interviews may not be the best approach. Be sure to give yourself bathroom breaks in between interviews and ample time to get to the next interview a few minutes early.
I told a firm that they were my first choice so that I would seem enthusiastic, but they are not, and now they want me to make a decision on the spot. What do I do?
Don’t ever tell a company that you would accept an offer on the spot unless it’s true. You are not taking yourself out of contention by being honest about not wishing to accept on the spot.
If I turn down a company’s offer, am I burning my bridges with that company?
Absolutely not, provided that you are polite, respectful, and timely in turning them down. Companies understand that you are recruiting with multiple firms, that you may get more than one offer, and that you will only be able to accept one of those offers. If anything, knowing that you have turned them down to go to a competing firm makes them more enthusiastic about staying in contact with you, as your other offers signal that you are, indeed, a valuable candidate. They will typically want to stay in touch in the hope that you may come back to them again in the future.
You should avoid “stringing a firm along,” however. Don’t hold onto an offer with a firm and keep telling them that you are really interested, right until the final decision deadline, and then abruptly turn them down. It is considered professional and appropriate to keep companies reasonably well informed about where you stand.
What do I say to an employer who is calling to “check-in” with me?
Some employers will call you — often multiple times — to check in and see if they can answer any further questions. While the multiple calls can be daunting (and time consuming), it is a part of the recruiting policy at some firms, and you should not just ignore the calls. View them as practice in diplomacy while you continue to explore your options so that you can make a decision that's right for you, at an appropriate time.
It’s late February/early March and I don’t have an internship. What do I do?
It’s not over. Firms continue to make internship offers well into March and some as late as April. If you are a strong candidate and you’re working hard to find internship opportunities (including searching outside of just the firms that recruit directly through Duke CareerConnections), there is every chance that you will obtain a finance internship in the summer, even if it is not with one of the bulge bracket firms.
I still have questions — what should I do?
Make an appointment with a career counselor at the Career Center, or go to John Caccavale or Emma Rasiel’s office hours for further advice.