Extend Your Connections to Get That Investment Banking Job

Ever wonder how one candidate manages to land that investment banking job, when hundreds, even thousands of others are out of work and still looking? CNNMoney revealed the tenacious strategy used by one candidate named Ebony Blue, a financial analyst laid off by Citigroup in December, 2008. A graduate of Ithaca College, Ms. Blue had only two years of experience before she was let go.

After running up against the usual wall of rejections and lack of leads, she took time off to think about her future. But then attacked her job search with renewed tenacity, spending 10 hours a day on the hunt. She widened her horizons to target London, Atlanta, New York, Boston and several cities in Texas. More importantly, she focused on building her network of contacts from college, colleagues, family and fellow members of a non-profit organization called Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT).  MLT assists African American, Hispanic and Native American professionals to join the ranks of business leadership.

After identifying a potential investment banking job online, Ms. Blue used the MLT database to find a member who worked at the company. She sent him her resume and cover letter and landed four interviews with the firm. And the next day, a job offer.

All together, Ms. Blue applied to more than 700 job openings. But it was the combination of online job search and extensive networking that got her the job. It’s a strategy that more candidates should use, according to executive career coach Cheryl Palmer of Call To Career in Silver Springs, Md.

Job seekers should network far beyond the people they know personally, she says. Palmer notes that connecting with friends of friends, second- and third-level contacts on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, as well as university, community and religious associations, can exponentially expand your network. It might just find you that key contact for getting a foot in the door for your next investment banking job interview.

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