Barclays Resume Writing Session by Neil Yang

Author (s): Grace Chan
Barclays Resume Writing Session | 14 March 2018 | LT27

The gloomy sky of 14th March contrasted sharply with the inside of LT 27, which was bustling with activity. Students, eager to master the art of acing banking recruitment interviews, briskly entered the lecture theatre. Neil Yang, Campus Recruiter, Barclays Asia Pacific and our speaker for the day, stood at the podium with a welcoming smile and commenced the Resume Writing and Interviewing Workshop with a question of reflection: “How well do you know yourself?”.

“Many of you are probably having an internship for the summer,” said Neil, “and you’re probably thinking of how you can better position yourself…[but] if you choose to do something in your life that does not gel with your core values, it is not that you will not be able to achieve good results, but there is a dissonance. The person who you are privately may feel you are not doing [a] role that…resonates with the core values [you own]…This is important because if you know yourself, this sets the direction in which you know your base and you know the various options that are available to you in your university life.”


Naturally, students will also need to research on the company culture, strategy and its current plans to get a head start, advised Neil. Most companies have Campus Recruitment sites that students can rely on; for instance, Barclays’ Campus Recruitment site elaborates the 6 key competencies and 5 values that they look for in candidates, which can help students frame their applications.

Neil then proceeded to introduce the purpose of the resume and how it can be designed to attract recruiters’ attention. Neil suggested using a ‘Competency-Experience Matrix’ as well as the STAR format in effectively highlighting experiences into quality summaries that can fully showcase relevant competencies.

“Hard truths: the resume is solely for the recruiting manager to be able to get a good sense of who you are, [and it] is effectively a document where you try to sell the best side of yourself,” he said. Students can also consider adding their LinkedIn profile links in their resume, which Neil feels is an emerging trend. However, “if you put it in, make sure it is interview-ready.”

Neil went on to introduce tips on how to ace the selection processes, from phone and video interviews, to assessment centres and face-to-face interviews. Interestingly, he emphasised how humane these processes are at Barclays, unlike the dominating and cruel elimination rounds most students associate recruitment selections with. Furthermore, Neil also stated that whilst some students might be tempted to employ interesting backgrounds for their video interviews, a white and plain one would still be the best option for a professional impression.

When it comes to networking, Neil urged the audience, “I want to erase one thing from your mind, and that is NTU students cannot network. I can tell you that is not the case…Everyone has a network: seniors, alumni or persons you meet in university, even the sponsors, speakers from professional events, or fellow attendees from talks.”

“Network is measured by quality before quantity,” Neil asserted. He suggested that the audience prepare an elevator pitch, and to be sincere and open-minded in conversations. He also shared several ways to build networking relationships with the people, after the actual meeting.

Following his presentation, Neil also entertained some questions from the student audience. Questions ranged from the importance of having an overseas university exchange experience to how to answer technical interview questions. In particular, the concern of how applications were filtered was quite prominent. Neil admitted that although some companies might use algorithms to identify certain keywords in resumes, amongst other methods, Barclays’ recruitment process is very much a ‘human system’, where ‘every resume is seen by recruiters’. Upon application to most roles, candidates will be invited to sit an online assessment and a video interview. It is only after the review of these elements of the applications, that recruiters refer to that applicant’s resume. “We look at how you display competencies in the assessments, but of course how you perform your interview will be important as well,” Neil said.

Neil concluded that the recruitment process in the finance industry is not just about the resume. Students should focus on developing their characters, competencies, and experiences, and think of how to leverage on those assets in the future. “Be open to your career, get a rough idea of where you want to go, but also never box yourself in when you are young,” Neil encouraged.

To help pre-penultimate students explore a career in an Investment Bank, and to better prepare themselves for it, Barclays will be hosting the inaugural Barclays Insight Program, for pre-penultimate year students, from 15-17 May 2018. To apply, please submit your CV and a Statement of Intent (of no more than 400 works) to about why you would like to join the program. The applications window closes on Monday, 16 April.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *