Applying for a job as a relationship manager in corporate banking isn’t all about crafting a great CV that shows off your sales statistics. Top biller or not, if you don’t get your cover letter right, hiring managers may not even bother to read your resume.
Corporate banking vacancies increasingly demand experience in specific sectors and products – so generic cover letters no longer cut it. Here are some expert tips that will help you create an effective cover letter for landing a corporate banking job.
1. Treat your cover letter like a sales document
Treat your cover letter just like a corporate banking sales document, keeping your selling points concise and understandable. “Your emphasis should always be on the value you bring in the short and long term to the new bank, whether that’s across relationships, products or sectors,” says Emmanuel White, co-founder of search firm WeLinkTalent in Singapore.
2. Your years go first
Banks often equate the longevity of your client relationships to how likely your clients are to stick with you if you move jobs. So state how long you’ve been an RM for within the first two sentences of your cover letter and also mention the relationship length of one or two of your key clients. “Corporate banks always look first to see if your years of experience match the seniority of the role,” says Lynne Roeder, managing director of recruiters Hays in Singapore.
3. Then your sector
Corporate banking is extremely sector-focused and employers generally want to hire specialists. Don’t rely on your resume to outline the industries you manage clients in – summarise your sectors in your cover letter, says Jasmine Tan, an associate director at Singapore recruitment firm Kerry Consulting.
4. Justify any big moves
If you’re an expert in one sector applying for a corporate banking job in another, getting your cover letter right is particularly important. “Make sure you state a logical reason for why you want to change your focus – this story needs to make sense in order to avoid any doubt in the hiring manager’s mind,” says White.
5. Clients come next
Leave the details to your CV, but do describe about two of your main clients in your cover letter, says Farida Charania, Asia Pacific CEO of search firm Nastrac Group. Ideally choose profitable clients that you brought to the bank yourself.
6. Add your products
You need to mention the type of products you have expertise in, especially if they are similar to those offered by the new bank. But a sentence is fine – provide more product information in your CV.
7. Choose your numbers carefully
While you don’t want to clutter your cover letter with numbers, it’s important to include two or three of your most impressive figures – for example, your year-on-year sales growth, a rise in revenue from a key client, or a target that you’ve smashed. “Quantifying your achievements with numbers allows you to stand out because banks want to ensure they employ productive RMs,” says Lim Chai Leng, director of banking at recruiters Randstad in Singapore.
8. Explain whether you’re a hunter or a farmer
Hiring managers don’t want to trawl through your CV to find out if you’re a hunter (who brings in new business), a farmer (who manages current clients) or a combination of both. You need to briefly spell this out in your cover letter, says Gary Lai, Southeast Asia managing director at recruiters Charterhouse Partnership.
9. And explain why you want to join it
You may have many reasons for moving to a new RM role, but in your cover letter choose just one and make sure it’s about the new bank, not your current one. “It’s imperative that your future employer understands what your main motivation is and how it fits into your career aspirations long term,” says White from WeLinkTalent.
10. Mention your credit skills in your corporate banking cover letter
Include a sentence explaining the extent of your credit analysis skills. “Corporate banks want the full package – they like to know they can rely on their RMs, even though they have a credit analysis team in the back office,” says Roeder from Hays.
11. Is there room for more achievements?
Your corporate banking cover letter shouldn’t be longer than a page but it’s still worth reviewing the first draft to see whether there’s room to include other key achievements. “These could be landmark deals or unique transactions you’ve worked on – just avoid providing too many small details about the achievements as these can all go into your CV,” says Lim from Randstad.
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