The cover letter for Credit Suisse: tips for graduates and interns
Credit Suisse requests a cover/motivation letter to accompany its application form. This additional layer is intended to weed out the motivated candidates from the unmotivated; the well-researched from the uninformed; and those who genuinely want to join the team from those who just want a job. There is a big clue in the fact that Credit Suisse calls the document it wants a ‘cover/motivation’ letter: make sure you explain your motivation to Credit Suisse when you apply to the bank.
Therefore, it could be wise to structure your letter by explaining your motivation first and then matching your skills and experience to the requirements of the job. If you leave the part about your motivation to the end you run the risk of firstly not grabbing the reader and distinguishing yourself, and secondly repeating something you’ve already said.
When writing your letter, if you can, highlight information that makes you stand out. Credit Suisse says your covering letter is an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from your peers.
In your Credit Suisse motivation letter, say why you should get the job
Credit Suisse asks you to specify a reason why you believe you’re qualified for a job at the bank. The reason you choose must be underpinned by a solid example which demonstrates how you have employed the specific skills, qualities, experience or attitude Credit Suisse is looking for.
Choose an example from the practical experience, qualifications or knowledge you’ve gained through your academic life, work experience or extracurricular pursuits. Your relevant experiences will already be summarised in your CV, but the covering letter is an opportunity to elaborate on the best and most suitable example. To do that, you’ve to know what Credit Suisse wants in an employee: the job and internship profiles on this employer hub – and the FAQ section of Credit Suisse’s recruitment website – are good places to start finding out.
Most applicants detail their skills, knowledge and experience (which are all relevant and desirable) in their covering letters, but fail to convey how they want to use them to the betterment of the employer. You’ll be hired by Credit Suisse because you meet the requirements in the job description and can identify where you can add value to the bank. Remember there are those who genuinely want to join the team and those who just want a job. You could explain that you want to use your attributes to strengthen Credit Suisse’s operation, client relations, or another aspect of its operation.
In your Credit Suisse motivation letter, provide evidence of your motivation for applying
A formal internship with a finance firm or a particular module you’ve excelled in during your degree are excellent examples to use in your covering letter. The experience doesn’t have to be obscure or novel, nor does it have to be finance-related (although it would help if it were finance-related). What it must be, however, is a clear demonstration of how you have displayed the qualities the bank is looking for.
In your Credit Suisse motivation letter, demonstrate your knowledge
Your reason, supported by your concrete example, will convey why you should be considered for the job, but not necessarily why you should get it. Don’t leave it to Credit Suisse to draw the links between your interest, experience and the job you’re applying for. Spell out succinctly how what you’ve described tallies with the requirements of the job, and why you’re the best fit.
This is where your knowledge of the position, Credit Suisse and the industry comes in. Mentioning something insightful that connects your reason for applying for the job and your example to the job role, bank or industry demonstrates that you’re a conscientious candidate who’s serious about a career with the Swiss lender. It also shows that you’ve done your research, which won’t go unnoticed by the company.
You could, for instance, focus on the bank’s equity research division and how the quantitative and thematic research and analysis work you did at university prepared you for a role within the equity research team.
In your Credit Suisse motivation letter, ensure your motivation letter is personal
You should stress that Credit Suisse is a place where you really want to work, but avoid regurgitating corporate spiel while you do so. Writing the following is a big mistake: ‘I wish to work for a leading global investment bank and Credit Suisse in particular because Credit Suisse culture rewards excellence, entrepreneurialism and teamwork. Your employees work together to stay close to your clients — whether the client is a corporation, an institutional investor or a wealthy individual — first to understand their needs, and then to deliver all of Credit Suisse resources and knowledge to meet those needs.’ This has been copied directly from the Credit Suisse website. Doing this is rather lazy, does not show the critical thinking Credit Suisse seeks and does not say anything personal about you.
It is great for the opening of the letter, in particular, to be personal (but not chatty). For instance, explain you are motivated by intellectual and strategic challenge and then go on to write how that’s demonstrated in your love of playing chess, particularly when visualising of future moves and narrowing those moves down to those that really work for you. These are all things that are useful in investment banking and reflect well upon you as an individual.