Thousands of college students graduate each year with the aim of seeking out careers in finance. The overall industry was hurt after the Great Recession and housing meltdown, but some Wall Street firms are beginning to open up hiring again. However, for those seeking out positions in top-tier firms, it may no longer be enough to simply submit a job application. Today's job applicants are going above and beyond to gain access to hedge fund jobs or those in demanding investment banking fields.
For example, many are signing up on various job placement websites that connect job seekers with hiring managers because these services can often be instrumental in matching specific skill sets outlined by employers with the right type of applicant. In some cases, many employers rely on services that require applicants to affirm that they possess a certain educational or employment background before being permitted to proceed with the application.
In other cases, the competition for elusive investment banking jobs becomes more fierce, a recent Forbes article noted. As entry-level investment bankers typically obtain starting salaries of around $75,000, it takes a great deal of guts, planning and persistence to get the foot in the door of these companies, the article noted. Most of today's successful bankers were able to enter the field after obtaining an MBA and paying their dues in large companies in New York City, Boston and other metropolitan areas in which the financial industry dominates other sectors. Further, the article noted the importance of networking in job seekers' ability to secure high-end jobs in today's economy. In these cases, social networking and maintaining a presence on recruitment and job-related service websites can help put individuals in touch with prospective employers, clients and industry professionals.
Some employers push job seekers to start sooner
While most applicants typically wait until they've graduated from college to begin lobbying for a finance career, a recent article in the Financial Times noted that some companies are pushing students to complete internships to improve their hiring chances with the company after graduation. Citing data from the U.S. Labor Department, the Times reports that the finance sector remains one of the largest growth industries in the country, and employment in each of its industries is expected to increase throughout 2014. Because the competition for internships can be as intense as that for job openings, many large-scale firms such as Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and Bank of America encourage individuals to start making connections and getting their name out there before they graduate.
Regardless of whether job seekers take on internships or apply directly to a firm's website, there are ways today's applicants can improve their chances of obtaining a top-tier finance position.
1. Don't overlook recruitment services
Limiting job searches to a company's website can cause job seekers to miss out on countless opportunities. Some employers may only post jobs through a recruitment service, and other companies may add new jobs to these sites before they update their own web pages. Because recruiters are also trained to match skill sets, they may find jobs that would suit an applicant's career goals before applicants are even aware that a position is available.
2. Networking is crucial
Knowing people in the industry to introduce them to others or pass along useful job leads can help job seekers learn about new positions, narrow down the field they would like to work in and open them up to a new circle of contacts. Applicants should not be shy about attending networking events or reaching out to those they already know about any job opportunities.
3. Be resume-ready
When a job opportunity arises, having a winning resume and cover letter ready to submit is imperative. Being the first on-board to apply can help applicants get noticed before a barrage of other job seekers start submitting their own interest.