The odds were against me. The economy and job market was really struggling, I didn't go to a "big name" or "Ivy League", and worst of all I had zero connections in the industry I wanted to break into. My plan was to get an analyst gig in the finance industry. My major wasn't even finance and I didn't even know I wanted to pursue this career until the summer of my junior year. Most of my freshmen and sophomore years were spent experimenting with different courses, and switching majors and minors. So how did I do it? How did I get a great finance job in New York City? How did I get more interviews than most of the finance majors at my school? Was it luck, sure maybe a little. But it was more taking action, hard work, and willpower, than anything. So I thought I would share a few simple tips on how I accomplished this:
- WORK IT. Set a time DAILY to focus on your job search. I usually did this every morning when I would wake up, right before classes. Every day you do this it just becomes a habit, and the momentum from doing this process can really bring you some surprising results! I even went to extremes with casually emailing companies during class or taking time off class to take important calls with companies. Make this your number one priority! Jason Nazar the CEO of Doctsop actually talks about skipping classes to promote himself as class president and when he started working on his startup business (YouTube this). So focus on what you want, not what you don't want. Make sacrifices and direct all your energy consistently on that one thing you want.
- WORK EVERYTHING to get the trickle of leads and interviews you desire. Looks for jobs on your career center site, Craigslist, Google, word of mouth, professors, networking, previous internships, alumni, to anything!
- SEND EMAILS DAILY to companies. Have a standard email template with your resume attached and just mass send. You can change the wording a little bit with each different company you email but don't spend more than five minutes on each email, the goal is volume. I used Google Maps to help find the companies I was interested. For example: I would type"Wealth Management Philadelphia", and visited each individual company website and emailed them my resume. You should also monitor the jobs that are on the career center webpage (and other sites I mentioned before) and check it daily. Apply to all the jobs that you are interested in, its all about volume.
- VOLUME. Focus on volume, I can't emphasize this enough. This is what will get your foot in the door with multiple companies. I never spent too much time on one job application or email. You can spend all this time in the world on one application, and it can be perfect but you might never even get a good look from recruiters or callback from HR. Don't take it personally! I actually didn't even bother with some very large prominent banks job applications because they were too long and time consuming. Also, those banks tend to hire more candidates from where they recruit and receive hundreds to thousands of applicants! Instead, I decided to focus my energy on getting my resume out to as many firms as possible.
- FOCUS ON having an excellent and simple resume. See your Finance and Business Professors during office hours and get their constructive feedback. Get feedback from everyone- friends, family, and the career center. Also, have at least one thing on your resume that is related to the industry you are trying to break into to. For me I worked very hard to get an internship at a prominent wealth management firm in Washington DC. I actually cold-called them and offered to work for free.
- ITS SIMPLE MATH. In a tough market if you email hundreds of companies per week, someone is bound to take a bite. I had no other choice but to do this, and it was a great way to get a consistent trickle of job leads. If you want to get an idea of what I had to go through, I spent almost a whole year emailing different companies until I finally landed a job. I must have sent several thousand emails and job applications! However, the process was well worth it as I learned a lot about the industry, different companies, and got pretty darn good at interviewing from all the interviews I received!
I will probably write a follow-up to this article to go into more detail on some of these bullets but feel free to shoot me an email (below) with anything you would like me to cover on the next series.
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