Trying to obtain a Private Equity Associate Position
The Role of the Transaction Sheet

Although there are different paths which can lead into a Private Equity Associate Position, the most common path is having spent between two and three years as an Analyst in an Investment Banking Analyst program. During this time you will be spend many hours performing financial modeling work for numerous pitch books and transactions.  Upon completion of your Analyst program most professionals would agree that you have a solid foundation of financial modeling and have an ability to analyze many different areas of a company’s capital structure.

With the solid financial modeling foundation in hand the question becomes; “How do I get that coveted Private Equity Associate Position?”  In the majority of cases you already possess the experience that these Private Equity funds desire, so it is your job to explain to them in more detail what you have done in the past two to three years, which makes you the candidate they should hire.

Formatting Resume for Private Equity Associate Position

The last two to three years of your life should be represented on your resume in bullet point form.  As should your educational background, community involvement, interests and awards.  What should not be on your resume is a detailed list of the transactions you have worked on for the last two to three years.  This list is your “Transaction List” or “Deal Sheet,” and should be separate as it is as important as your resume if not more so in some cases.

As is the case with your resume, make sure that your deal sheet is continuously updated and before every interview review your deal sheet so you are ready for the questions which will based directly off of your deal sheet.  The importance of having a separate “Transaction List” or “Deal Sheet” is two fold it should allow you to keep your resume to one page and more importantly it provides an easier read for those individuals reviewing your resume.

Whether you are applying for a Private Equity role or a Hedge Fund role this Transaction List is very important. This list should accompany your resume to where ever and whom ever you send your resume.  It represents the more defined details of the last two to three years of your life.  It is extremely important to make sure your Deal Sheet is not only well presented and informative but as also fully encompassing the work you performed.

Each transaction should provide certain information, such as the type of transaction, the size of the transaction and whether or not the transaction was completed. Your role in these transactions should be included with some description regarding the firm or firms you represented in the transactions.  I realize that the firm’s information can be confidential and that is fine, but if this is the case then provide a description of the firm such as, “$100 million market cap Telecom Company.”   All of this information is important for it enables the Private Equity firm to have a better idea of what type of deals you worked on and the size of these deals and most importantly, if you are prepared for a Private Equity Associate Position.

Target the Right Size Firm

If you are focusing your search on firms that specialize in the middle market space and you did all of your work in the large cap space this is fine, although not putting the size of all of the deals might be a good idea.  If you are applying for a Private Equity Associate Position with a firm which specializes in a certain industry sector make sure any transactions you were involved in within that sector are listed first on your Deal Sheet.  If you do not have any transactions within that specific sector but are very interested in that sector make sure you represent this interest on your resume and when discussing your Deal Sheet talk in regards of size and type of transaction rather then sector or firm specifics.  

Do not be surprised if you are asked numerous questions regarding the transactions on your Deal Sheet during the first few interviews for a Private Equity Associate Position. These transactions are your experience and they are one of the best ways for a potential employer to better gauge your experience level and skill set.
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