So somehow I've been roped into reviewing the candidates for summer associates here at the firm. We are planning to hire 3 or so. We started the process late. But, since the job is educational for me, I thought I would present you with:
Ten Brutally Honest Application Suggestions for Private Equity Hopefuls
(As Taken from Actual Applications).
#1: If your resume says "Fluent in English" or you claim a TOEFL score of 99%, please do not make four verb tense or subject verb agreement errors in your cover letter.
#2: If forwarding your resume electronically to a buyout firm the filename should probably not be "Consulting-Resume-Draft.pdf."
#3: Please get my gender right in your salutation, or display the cleverness to craft a gender neutral salutation. "Dear [first name]," is a good start.
#3a: "To whom it may concern:" is not a wise choice of salutations.
#3b: In today's day and age, "Sirs-" is not a wise choice of salutations either. (Particularly if you are a female hopeful). Maybe if you explain that you are a rabid Economist fan I might understand.
#4: If the firm is hiring for three totally different positions, please make sure you pick one. No, the criteria for "Aerospace Industry Analyst" is not the same as "Generalist," but then you should know this because you read the job posting carefully, right?
#5: Yes, I will hire an ex-consultant. No, not if their mission tagline is "To obtain a challenging and rewarding position in consulting."
#6: The last lines of your resume, if they are under a section called "personal interests/hobbies" should probably not describe "animal husbandry," "daytime television" or "true crime."
#7: It is wise to have earned a college degree when applying to a position that requires an MBA.
#8: I can add. Accordingly, I will, in fact, notice if you got your undergrad in 2003 right after high school, your MBA is expected in 2006 and you have "6 six years of professional work experience."
#8a: I don't know what "professional work experience" is. I do know exactly what "unprofessional work experience" is though. 6 years of "unprofessional work experience" will get you hired as a partner.
#9: Active verbs in accomplishment bullets are good. "Plowed through institutional resistance," "conquered last minute reticence," and "penetrated tight inner circle" are a bit much. (Though you had a few of us laughing for an hour, and I would probably hire you just for giggles, I would also probably be fired for hiring you after the first harassment suit and so you're just not on the right side of the risk/reward curve).
#10: If you are from Stanford and don't have a lick of banking experience, listing "Golf" as a hobby and "Stanford Golf Team Treasurer" as employment experience is probably a bad idea. Try the left-coast VCs.