Breaking into the buy side fresh out of school

They say the buy side analyst is a dying breed, but there's no need to fret. As long as you know what you're doing, there's still a career for you on the buy side, even if your resume is looking bare. 

There are people that say that the buy side is dying, and there are others that explain that the best way to get to the buy side is to start on the sell side. The thing is, research analysts on the buy side aren't a fading breed, and it isn't necessary to start somewhere else to break into this sector of Wall Street.

Is prior experience necessary for the buy side?
One buy side equity analyst who spoke with LifeOnTheBuyside explained that he went into consulting immediately after receiving his undergraduate degree, to amass some experience before taking a stab at investment management. In the interview he explained that, given another chance, he would have skipped the consulting gig and shot straight for the buy side. He explained that his consulting job did nothing except show the hiring manager he had "real world" experience.

But while you don't need a ton of work experience to get your start on the buy side, that doesn't mean you can just stroll into an office and walk out with a new job. Though the buy side can be infiltrated, it takes some know how to get hired. 

It's possible to get a buy side job fresh out of school. It's possible to get a buy side job fresh out of school.

How to get a job fresh out of school
Ultimately, you will need a passion for investing to serve as a foundation for everything you do in your career. This isn't something you'll get the hang of if you dislike investment. And your love of the subject will come through in the interview. One thing you'll need for success is the ability to break down at least two stocks in your interview. You will need to know those stocks inside-and-out, and if you aren't completely dedicated to a future in investing, that sort of research will probably be exasperating. If breaking a stock down to its most granular of details sounds like a Saturday night for you however, then don't stop your pursuit of the buy side. 

Your ability to break down stocks won't be enough to prove this passion for investing though – you'll have to go deeper than that with some stories about past experience. Sure, you don't need to have previous professional experience, but you don't just fall in love with investment jobs out of the blue. Something brought you here. 

Finance jobs don't just appear, they take work to find.

Additionally, when you're searching for a job, make it your full-time gig. Networking especially should be at the top of your priority list. It's tough to get a job as it is, but with a bone-dry resume you're going to need to be a talented networker to get the job that you want. Finance jobs can be difficult to find sometimes. Don't be afraid to reach out to people already in the space and make sure you search sites like OneWire to see who's hiring.

Don't forget that though you're heading toward a Wall Street career, you're jumping onto the bottom rung of this ladder and you're doing so with little-to-no experience, so compensation isn't likely to be what you dreamed of. But if you're passionate and hard-working enough to break into the buy side with no prior work, then you should be ambitious enough to get that paycheck you've always dreamed of as well, while doing what you love.