[Career Advice #9] Sam Shannon on starting a career in finance Part II
Hello! Highre is back with Sam Shannon’s Career Advice Part II! Sam shared his personal tips and insights into the financial industry. Are you ready for the advice that will make your job hunting easier?
1. Previous preparation tips:
In terms of previous preparation, I attended all the finance related networking events because, often they are used as a tool by HR to put forward a candidate. When you apply for a position you will need to do some online numerical tests, and you must practice for these, even if you come from a Mathematics degree. I think the recruiters use them as a filter to decide if candidates are willing to put in the time and effort to pass the tests. Disinterested candidates won’t get passed the stage. When it comes to the actual interview, it’s always helpful to figure out who the interviewer is. Often you can ask HR and easily get some information on LinkedIn. Have a look at their background and what they have done in their career. People always love to talk about themselves. Ask THEM questions.
2. Interview tips:
If you are at the interview, what really comes across is if the person understands what exactly the role is about: ‘How does the investment bank make money in its trading business?’ If they can answer questions on the basics of the business and see the big picture, and if they can tell me what I do, I think it’s very impressive. You can’t argue that you are going to be a good candidate for something that you don’t know about. And often, most of candidates show up, having read the company’s website, this will usually include a short description of the role that HR and Marketing departments have put up, however most people can read that and so to stand out you need to go deeper.
3. General insights:
Everyone knows about the big banks and they go for those. What most people don’t see is, that the bankers in big firms in 10 years, they wish to transfer to smaller boutique firms, where they have more autonomy and control over what’s going on. What I want to highlight here is that often, smaller firms are looking for graduates, but people are not aware of these, because they don’t tend to have big marketing campaigns. For example, a hedge fund will never or rarely have a graduate career marketing campaign, because by their secretive nature, they are not allowed to market to retail people.
So then, how do you search for your job? One thing you could do is to sign up with specialist finance recruitment agencies. Another thing is to follow various forums online (I recommend ‘Seeking Alpha’) and to attend talks by various hedge funds and investment firms. If you are trying to get into finance, one of the cleverest way is to apply to where everyone else isn’t applying, the jobs are just as good. With the smaller firms, you could be called in for the interview right away, and that can be it!
Message from Sam for all of you: (yes, even if you are not interested in finance, listen to what he has to say!)
There is this big panic moment when you are in your final year of university and you haven’t got jobs lined up yet or you haven’t finalized what your career is. Then, you might quickly find something and jump into it. The reason for this is because it seems like everyone else is doing something. Typically, you will compare yourself to the ‘Top 10’ people around you, but the reality is, you actually have more time than you realize. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a job straight out of university, I think it can actually be helpful to figure out what you really want to do. Don’t rush to make a big decision. Don’t just choose a job because it pays well. If you are interested in something, do that for a few months, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep doing it.
The best way to learn is to go and do something. But you don’t have to get it right the first time. I am aware that another driving factor for most of students is ‘how much will the job pay’. However, I don’t think you should look at jobs that way. You should think about how much you will learn from the job, that’s a much better way to look at it. Especially at early stages, look for opportunities to learn, not to earn money, and then you can go ahead and make more informed decisions. I know it’s hard, because there is a figure staring at you right there, but if you worry less about money and worry more about the learning experience, you will regret less.
If you haven’t already, check out other articles for more career advice!
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