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How To Build A Great LinkedIn Profile For Investment Banking


Many students put a lot of care into crafting their CV, not so much into their LinkedIn profile. Yet, your LinkedIn profile is, in essence, an “online CV”. It’s your business etiquette. If you want to get access to tier-one investment banking opportunities (BB banks and elite boutiques), building a solid profile is a must. 

The good news is: your entire profile can be rebuilt and upgraded in a relatively short amount of time (30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on where you are now). It’s a typical high-ROI activity: by spending a bit of time setting things up properly, you can get the passive rewards of a robust LinkedIn profile without having to tweak anything for a year. 

In this article, I’ll explain how important it is to have a robust, properly structured LinkedIn profile, and I’ll share a few best practices that you can implement right now to make your profile competitive and appealing to recruiters.  

Note that this is not a tutorial to explain to you how LinkedIn works. There are plenty of articles online that tell you that. Here, I tell you exactly what you need to know to build a competitive LinkedIn profile for investment banking – nothing less, nothing more. 

How important is a good LinkedIn profile really? Do recruiters even care?

Having a bad LinkedIn is a bit like showing up at a job interview with an oversized suit: it’s a surefire way to make a bad first impression. A bad LinkedIn profile will hurt you far more than a good profile will benefit you. 

Why should you care? Because recruiters will almost systematically take a look at your profile and appraise your value as a candidate based on it (among other factors obviously). 

You don’t need to have three experiences in M&A at Lazard, Moelis, and Morgan Stanley to have a competitive LinkedIn profile. You just need to be aware of the subtle cues and aesthetic codes that recruiters value, and ensure that your profile reflects those codes.

When scanning your LinkedIn profile, recruiters are not just looking for details about your former experiences. 

They’re also looking to see if you know how to present yourself with elegance and taste – a critical skill to have when working in investment banking that is far more valuable and harder to find than technical skills. In other words, people will judge you more on how your profile looks than on what it contains. 

Your LinkedIn is a reflection of your aesthetic intelligence – your ability to discern, integrate and project the subtle aesthetic codes that are perceived as desirable in the industry.

I’ve looked at the LinkedIn profiles of thousands of finance job applicants over the past few years. And I can tell you that the top performers – the lucky few who work at Blackstone, GS, Centerview, and the likes – have extremely similar LinkedIn profiles. 

So similar that it looks like they are all mutually copying themselves. Whether they do it consciously or unconsciously, they all use the same structure, the same semantics, the same jargon, the same punctuation. I’m going to share some of these best-practices below.

LinkedIn IB profile best practices: everything you need to know to build a strong profile in one hour or less

Note: Do not look at my LinkedIn profile for inspiration. I’m a career coach and LinkedIn influencer, not a job candidate looking for a role in IB. So unless you also want to help people join their dream investment bank, don’t take inspiration from my profile 😉 Follow the tips I give you below and your profile will be solid. 

For the sake of this article, I’ll divide your LinkedIn profile into three main parts: 1) top section (profile picture, banner, headline, bio) 2) middle section (experience, education and others) 3) bottom section (skills, languages, and others).

The most important part of your LinkedIn, by far, is the top section. It’s the very first thing recruiters will see, and they will decide if they like your profile or not within seconds by looking at the top section. The least important part is the bottom section. 

Let’s get right to it.

Profile picture:

Professional headshot, no smile, but no serial killer face either. Have a neutral expression, and do your best to look as attractive as you can (I don’t teach you anything by telling you that attractive people have an advantage in the workplace). 

Wear the same clothes you would wear for an interview. For men, a suit and tie is a must. You may want to add a black-and-white filter for your picture. It adds a crisp, professional look that will make you look good (if you look at Blackstone employees, they all have black-and-white pictures).


Choose a high-definition picture of something modern and finance-related. It can be a picture of skyscrapers, a bank, trading floors, or anything else that communicates that you’re interested in finance. Avoid pictures that have too much contrast. 

The banner you choose says a lot about your aesthetic taste, so choose it carefully. It’s one of the first things recruiters will see when landing on your page. 


The headline is the first thing people will read when seeing your profile, which makes it one of the most important elements of your LinkedIn. 

The key here is to show as much social proof as possible in one or two lines. By social proof, I mean anything that conveys a sense of distinction and excellence – be it academic, professional, or leadership excellence. 

Typically, top IB profiles will pack as much brand name as they can in one line, with each brand separated with a “|” symbol. For example, “LSE | Wharton | Goldman Sachs”. Aim for a similar layout. A non-negotiable element to include is your school’s name. 

The issue that many students have is that they don’t have any “prestigious” brand names to add to their profiles, and they may be lacking professional experience. 

In this case, there are plenty of other keywords you can include in your headline that convey industriousness and academic excellence. 

Here are a few examples of things you can include:

  • Master’s in Finance
  • CFA Level II Candidate
  • Head of Research at Uni X Investment Club
  • Vice President at Uni X Private Equity Association
  • Incoming MSc student at HEC Paris

Example of good headline (fictive): “Master in Finance at EDHEC | Head of Research at X Investment Club | CFA Level II Candidate”

Bio (“About” section): 

The bio is located in the “About” section, right below your profile picture and headline. 

The worst possible thing you can do in your bio (and yet MANY students are doing it) is to use ultra-generic, meaningless sentences to talk about your motivations. 

Example of bad (and supremely boring) bio: 

“Finance student eager to leverage my analytical skills and in-depth financial knowledge to contribute to a dynamic international team, allowing me to forge hands-on experience in a fast-paced professional environment. Adaptable and extremely motivated to learn, I am keen to pursue rewarding internship opportunities in M&A and other investment banking roles.” 

Are you triggered? Good. It means your bio probably sucks. Seriously, do you really think that a recruiter who reads that will think “Oh my God, this is so profound and original, I love it! Let’s hire this guy as a Senior Associate straightaway!”? 

Of course not. He will think you’re just one white sheep among thousands of other white sheep. So don’t cry. Smile at the opportunity to improve yourself!

Now, the question is: what do you write?

For optimal impact, your bio should communicate four main things about yourself:

  1. Something you did (or that you’re actually doing) which makes you a high-potential, competent candidate (can include school, academic achievements, educational programmes, skills, etc);
  2. What you’re looking for (roles and industries you’re targeting);
  3. Something unique about you that makes you stand out (peculiar hobbies, unique passions, rare achievements, etc);
  4. A call to action to invite people to connect with you.
Example of bio (fictive):

“Master in Finance student at ESCP Paris (#1 Best Master in Finance Worldwide, FT ranking). Lead Research Analyst at ABC Investment Club, writing financial analysis on large-cap European companies in the consumer goods sector. One-year cumulative experience in Leverage Finance at BNP Paribas and Transaction Services at Deloitte. 

Seeking top-tier internship opportunities in M&A across London, Paris, and Frankfurt. Eager to contribute to and learn from dynamic M&A teams with high deal activity and excellent industry expertise. 

Beyond finance, I enjoy playing poker (won 4 Texas Holdem No Limit tournaments in Paris, cumulative net gains of €26,800 since 2017), I am an avid reader of Greek mythology (winner of XYZ prize for a 14-page philosophical essay on Homer’s Odyssey), and I have a lifelong passion for collecting antique coins. 

I look forward to connecting and exchanging with passionate, driven people in the financial industry.”

This, my friend, is a solid bio. 


This section is very straightforward: just list your professional experiences. If you don’t have many, you may want to include leadership experiences to make this section richer and more extensive. For example, if you’re an active contributor to a student investment club, you can include that. 

For each experience, put 2-3 bullets max, highlighting your biggest achievements. The advice that I would give you to write these bullets is the exact same advice I give you for the resume. In essence:

  • Write concise, impactful bullet points highlighting impressive achievements
  • Use numbers to quantify what you did
  • Always start the sentence with action verb at the past tense (analyzed, led, built, etc)
  • Be ultra-specific, but make sure people can understand your bullets easily
  • Show skills that are useful in investment banking (analytical mind, teamwork, industriousness, ability to cope with stress, extreme attention to detail, etc)

We share more resume best practices in our main course, which you can find here.  


Include your current and past educational institutions. 

For each school, it’s best to put your grades or expected grades to show academic excellence. Alternatively, you can also talk about your ranking within the class. 

Also include the main courses that you followed. 

If you completed a Master’s thesis and had a very good grade, mention the name of your thesis, followed by the name of your supervising teacher and your grade. 

If you’re on the “Dean’s List”, you should definitely include it. It conveys a strong sense of academic accomplishment. Finally, if your university is not well known but decently ranked in credible international rankings (such as the FT ranking), then mention the ranking of your university to boost the perceived prestige of your school. 

Licenses & certifications (bonus section):

This one is not necessary, but it doesn’t hurt if you have a few interesting certificates. At best, it can further display your interest in finance. Just don’t expect it to be a game-changer. 

Volunteering (nice to have):

This one can add a lot of value. If you have some legitimate volunteer experience, definitely include it. Recruiters value that a lot. If not, it’s not a deal-breaker. 

Skills (bonus section):

Not necessary in my view, unless you have dozens of high-authority people (teachers and former senior colleagues)  who can endorse your skills. 

Test scores:

Include test scores for the GMAT (if applicable) and all linguistic tests (IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge English, etc.).




Apply these suggestions, and your profile will be ready to go. Now, having a LinkedIn fully optimized for investment banking is good, but it will only get you so far. 

What do you need to get a tier-one offer in IB? Several things: 1) a strategy to secure job interviews predictably and consistently 2) a resume that conveys your full potential AND that respects the subtle codes of the industry 3) absolute mastery of all the most common fit and technical questions during interviews. 

If you want to learn to do all these three things and land a prestigious IB offer this year, check out our leading course, The Investment Banking Blueprint. You can find it on this page.


A word about the author

Aurelian Tran is the founder of Alpha Lane and an ex-Goldman Sachs analyst who has spent 4+ years working in the investment banking industry.

He founded Alpha Lane to help students and young professionals achieve their highest professional ambitions, by securing offers at top-tier financial institutions.