You may have an impeccable CV for a job in banking (or hedge funds, or fund management). But is that enough? If you want to get shortlisted, it will also help if you’re an interesting person with exciting extracurricular interests and philanthropic tendencies. Banks like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan are all big on ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR).
The simple trick that will make your banking application stand out
How can you showcase your CSR activities so that banks and recruiters appreciate all the good deeds you’ve been up to?
Simple: set up an account in your name on a site like JustGiving or VirginMoneyGiving. Both sites are heavy with bankers engaged in everything from competitive cycling events, to football tournaments or charity hikes. More importantly, both sites are SEO optimized such that a Google search for your name by a recruiter or line manager will bring your endeavours to the top of the page. Even better, any named charitable donations you’ve made using your account will also be clearly listed.
“If you’re not well mentioned on the web, then anything involving your name will come up in a search,” says Michael Moran, chief executive of career management company 10Eighty. “From a candidate’s perspective, anything that involves CSR is going to be good for your career,” he adds.
Take, for example, Daniel Burton-Morgan, the 29 year-old head of EMEA equity capital markets syndicate at Bank of America Merrill Lynch who was promoted with prodigious speed. Not only does Burton-Morgan have a VirginMoneyGiving page showcasing his own charitable activities, you can also see how much he’s donated to other causes. Meanwhile, Jarett Gedir, an FX trader at Merrill Lynch, has raised £3k cycling over the French Alpes. Or Richard Aboboto, an equities trader at Citigroup went on unspecified ‘Grand Walk’ in 2007 which still features at the top of a search for his name today. Other bankers have raised far more.
Moran says CSR endeavours are good because they not only show that you care and are an interesting ‘corporate citizen’, but that you’re willing to venture beyond your ‘comfort zone’ and learn new skills (like fundraising).
Not everyone agrees entirely. “If I Google a potential hire, the first thing I’d like to see is something about their ability to do the job, rather than their Just Giving account,” says Victoria McLean, an ex-Goldman Sachs recruiter turned managing director of City CV. “However, it can make a difference if you’ve raised money in interesting ways like running a desert marathon or swimming the Channel,” she concedes.
Sometimes JustGiving accounts can cause confusion. Mark Shillam, an emerging markets trader at Mizuho, appears to have raised over £1k for multiple sclerosis by walking across the UK, beating his target by £600. We asked him whether recruiters had reacted favourably to his adventure. “That’s not me,” said Shillam, “- it must be someone else with the same name.”