This final article on finding your first investment banking job concentrates on the interview and your resume. Remember, although a resume won’t get you the job, it can get your foot in the door for an interview.
Prepare a solid resume
Your resume will play an important role in you earning an interview. You need to create a sharp resume, conveying that you are a good fit for an investment banking job and can hit the ground running. Investment banks have tight requirements and seek well-educated candidates from top business schools who are willing to work long hours and sometimes seven days a week. Make sure your resume is not a generic one, but is focused on the investment banking industry. Position your resume to highlight everything related to banking. If you have no direct work experience, you could highlight the success achieved in your own investment portfolio.
Ace the interview
Some things never change and that includes the basic rules for the face-to-face interview. The first impression is set when you arrive; be professional, arrive early and dress for success.
Be concise in your answers. Don’t ramble on and waste the interviewer’s time. Be sure to discuss experiences where you have burned the midnight oil and made personal sacrifices to meet a deadline. The duties of a junior investment banker include checking a lot of numbers and ensuring that no mistakes are there. So, convey to the interviewer that you have an eye for detail and that you understand the importance to cross checking data. What will help immensely is if you prepare your answers to the most frequently asked investment banking job interview questions.
Landing your first investment banking job is challenging; if you get an offer, you definitely earned it. If you diligently prepare the interview, you increase the probability of landing an offer. By getting to know the players, building relationships and properly preparing for the interview, you could be on your way to a lucrative job on Wall Street.
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Continuing our series on your first Investment Banking Job. The focus shifts to networking and getting closer to the action.
Work your network
Check your network of contacts and start building new contacts of people who are in any way related to the investment banking industry. Get in touch with the MBA alumni network at your school. Most alumni are forthcoming with ideas and suggestions and could facilitate your first step towards an investment banking career. You should also contact executive recruiters specializing in investment banking roles. Do what it takes to get a foot in the door, but remember that it takes time for your network to become established and start producing results.
Improve your prospects
A review of the recruiting scenario plays a crucial role in landing your first investment banking job. Get to know about who is recruiting where. Since most of the top notch investment bankers, like Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, are located in New York, there will always be job vacancies here. All the top investment banks, such as Deutsche Bank, ABN Amro and Barclays, have offices in London – if the UK suits your need. In fact, Europe is a hot spot for US-based investment banks, like Dresdner Kleinwort, HSBC and CSFB. You could consider relocating to places where more recruitment is taking place.
Your endeavor to move closer to the investment banking job is not merely about a change of location. If you have not been successful in getting what you desire, aim for job offers that move you closer to the role you wish to assume. For instance, you could try for a job with a securities placement firm or a fund management firm dealing with any of the bigger investment banking firms.
Building your own brand and getting noticed go a long way in improving your prospects of landing your first investment banking job. Specialties are also helpful. Consider building a blog about investing in your specialty area. For instance, if you are big company technology savvy, you could build a blog about investing in the enterprise software sector. This will increase your visibility and provide potential employers with a sample of the expertise you could bring to their firm.
Stay tuned for the final installment in our series on Landing your First Investment Banking Job
Investment banking is an intensely competitive, action-oriented industry. Being the nerve center of financial activity, investment banks require the services of professionals with good communication and analytical skills, sound knowledge of the industry and ability to excel under high pressure. Investment banking jobs offer big money, along with the respectable status of a Wall Street player.
So how do you enter the enigmatic world of Wall Street finance and land your first investment banking job in highly sought after firms, such as JP Morgan Chase and Credit Suisse?
Identifying potential hiring firms
Begin by thoroughly researching the industry and its current players. Find out as much as possible about the various bulge-bracket, regional and boutique investment banks. Investment bankers, such as Merrill Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Goldman Sachs, are bulge-bracket players, while others, like Piper Jaffrey, cater to the regional market. Then there are small, specialized firms that are oriented towards bond-trading, M&A advisory, technical analysis or program trading. Resources published by well-known financial educational institutions, such as the Harvard Business School, or media organizations, like Bloomberg, will help you in identifying investment banking firms that you may wish to work for.
Check the websites of leading players, like Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, and get acquainted with their requirements. A look at the industry blogs, such as iBanking Resumes, Wall Street Prep, Mergers and Inquisitions, can also help you gain a greater insight into the workings of investment banks.