Investment Banking Job Strategies in a Tight Market

If your ideal investment banking job requires skills you don’t have … or if you have been let go recently and you’re unemployed … should you settle for a lesser job or something easier to land? Not according to Win Sheffield, a New York City career coach, whose job search wisdom was highlighted in a recent article in Forbes online.

Turns out the deciding factor in many hiring decisions isn’t a candidate’s skills. It’s their enthusiasm for the job, says Sheffield. Recruiters confirm it. Put yourself in the employer’s shoes. All else being equal, wouldn’t your rather have a candidate who’s dying for that job and ready to do anything to learn it, rather than someone who’s simply applying because it’s the best option they have at the moment?

The trouble is, not being able to land a job, or losing your job, tends to undermine your self-confidence. So after a while, you may begin to narrow your search and go after lesser job options, simply because they may be easier to get. Sheffield lists a bunch of examples: 1) going after jobs in sectors that don’t interest you; 2) pursuing a lower-level job, because it might be easier to land; 3) only looking for entry-level jobs, if you are new to an industry or function and don’t have a lot of experience; or 4) only looking for jobs that closely match your past or current job description, even if you weren’t happy with this work.

The truth is, people change jobs all the time. And today’s graduates will work in jobs and industry sectors that may not have even existed 5 years ago. So employers today are looking for candidates who really want a particular job and can demonstrate their enthusiasm for it, above all. If you wind up getting hired for a job your don’t really want, sooner or later you’re going to feel bored or unmotivated. And employers know this.

That’s why Sheffield suggests that you only pursue opportunities that light your fire. It makes the arduous process of hunting and landing that job easier, too.

If you’re not happy with where you are now, take a look at what has inspired you in the past. What are your interests? What are you curious about? By pursuing your passion, your enthusiasm in the job interview shines through. It also leads you to jobs that you may not even know existed.

What about you? Have you reached the point of frustration that you’re finding yourself applying for jobs that aren’t in investment banking, or really what you’re dreaming of? Add your comments below.

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