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How's the job search coming along? Let's share tips/experiences/updates so far

Hey 300H community, I thought it'll be useful to have a thread for those who are job hunting.

Sharing experiences on the do's and don'ts, pitfalls, or just keeping each other updated of their process is a great way to share the ups and downs of this challenging task! You never know you may find some nice people here that may help you network your way into your dream job!


  • Not much progress so far, still in the midst of converting a technical cv to a not so technical one. #-o
  • SophieSophie Posts: 2,041 Sr Partner
    Good stuff @vincentt - it's an upfront sunk cost, but later one easily used for tons of application!
  • ZeeZee Charterholder London - UKPosts: 1,550 Sr Partner
    I know people may like hearing this, but connections and networking really, really is key. Good networkers always have stuff lined up...
  • @zee you mean in the sense of referral ?
  • Connections and networking have been essential to my career both in finance and, now, IT. My father has observed, however, that he's never found either to be helpful. He has a CPA and has done corporate controllership for >20 years. His resume neatly maps to what HR people look for and pass along to hiring managers. I'm very, ahem, non-traditional. :)

    You have to do what works. But I agree with @Zee that if you spend some time establishing a network of friends in any industry (or maintaining them in several as I try to do) while you're employed you do find more opportunities than many for when you choose to leave your current position or need to find something else. My last period of unemployment was brief because of my network.

    To be clear, I don't strive to cultivate a network for my own benefit. That's a fruit of having a social network, be it professional, religious, hobby-related, or what have you. There are people I know whom I want to help and vice versa. A natural give and take develops among friends. That's the kind of network that keeps you out of the unemployment line or lets you know an AM firm is hiring but not yet advertising the position.
  • Things are progressing fine. Networking is great is lots of ways I won't repeat since most of it has been covered.

    One thing I have noticed is that I need to turn down my passion for finance and keep my actual dreams and aspirations under lock and key. I come to a realization that I was performing well in interviews and never getting a call back because I kept screwing up on the question where do you see yourself in 10 years. I've learned to look them in the eye and tell them of course I want to stay with the company forever (and never breath a word about becoming an asset manager even if they have said division in their company).
  • SophieSophie Posts: 2,041 Sr Partner
    LOL - I'm glad you discovered that @Sarah, at least now you know how to handle the upcoming interviews! Good luck, and thanks for sharing :)
  • ZeeZee Charterholder London - UKPosts: 1,550 Sr Partner
    edited June 2013
    A passage from Liar's Poker that I never forgot, because it's so true, and kind of funny. It describes the protagonist going for his first investment banking interview at Lehman Brothers. Bolding is mine.
    The young man took the seat behind the cold metal desk and began to fire questions at me. Perhaps the best way to describe our encounter is to recount, as best as memory will allow, what passed for our conversation:

    SQUARE YOUNG MAN: Why don't you explain to me the difference between commercial banking and investment banking?
    ME (making my first mistake by neglecting to seize the chance to praise investment bankers and heap ridicule on the short work hours and Lilliputian ambition of commercial bankers): Investment bankers underwrite securities. You know, stocks and bonds. Commercial bankers just make loans.
    SQUARE YOUNG MAN: I see you majored in art history. Why? Aren't you worried about getting a job?
    ME (clinging to the party line of the Princeton art history department): Well, art history interested me most, and the department here is superb. Since Princeton doesn't offer any vocational training, I don't believe that my choice of concentration will make much difference in finding a job.
    SQUARE YOUNG MAN: Do you know the size of U.S. GNP?
    ME: I'm not sure. Isn't it about five hundred billion dollars?
    SQUARE YOUNG MAN (casts a meaningful glance at the woman who I thought was my friend): More like three trillion. You know we interview hundreds of people for each position. You're up against a lot of economics majors who know their stuff. Why do you want to be an investment banker?
    ME (obviously, the honest answer was that I didn't know. That was unacceptable. After a waffle or two, I gave him what I figured he wanted to hear): Well, really, when you get right down to it, I want to make money.
    SQUARE YOUNG MAN: That's not a good reason. You work long hours in this job, and you have to be motivated by more than just money. It's true, our compensation is in line with our contribution. But frankly, we try to discourage people from our business who are too interested in money. That's all.

    That's all? The words ring in my ears. Before I could stop it from happening, I was standing outside the cubicle in a cold sweat listening to the next candidate being grilled. Never for a moment did I doubt the acceptability to an investment banker of a professed love of money. I had thought that investment bankers made money for a living, the way Ford made cars. Even if analysts were not paid as well as the older investment bankers, I had thought they were meant to be at least a tiny bit greedy. Why did the square young man from Lehman take offense at the suggestion?

    A friend who eventually won a job with Lehman Brothers later explained. "It's taboo," he said. "When they ask you why you want to be an investment banker, you're supposed to talk about the challenges, and the thrill of doing deals, and the excitement of working with such high-caliber people, but never, ever mention money."
  • @Zee
    So true. And a great anecdote in book filled to the brim with them. :D
  • I think dealing with so many HR reps has made me proficient with fudging with the truth.
    That being said I scored exceeding on a behavioural test because I knew what they were looking for. Reading all those behavioural economics books paid off =D
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