There are a lot of jobless bankers sloshing around in search of work. In May, Gary Cohn, COO of Goldman Sachs, said that 80,000 people have lost their banking jobs in the past two years alone. Many of those bankers have mysteriously disappeared. Some are lurking in shadowy corners, looking for work – and describing their current status using all sorts of different euphemisms.
These are the self-descriptors most commonly employed by bankers who are out of the market.
1. ‘Seeking new opportunities’
A surprising number of people who previously had jobs in investment banking are upfront about their status and describe themselves as ‘seeking new opportunities’ in the space where they’d usually put their job title and place of work.
Is this a good idea? Maybe. Logan Naidu, Chief Executive of City recruitment firm Dartmouth Partners, says it’s good to be upfront and to state explicitly that you’re looking for a job. Naidu says that when he sees people describing themselves as ‘open to opportunities’, he’s more likely to give them a call: “You know they’re open to being approached.”
On the other hand, seeking opportunities might make you sound a bit desperate. Unless you’re trying to set yourself up as a freelance consultant, you’re better off creating the perception that you’re a rare and sought-after commodity, says Linda Jackson, managing director of careers consultancy 10Eighty.
2. ‘Old job title, old company name’
This is a big favourite too. People who lost or left their jobs months ago will continue to describe themselves as they’re still at Deutsche Bank working in equity sales. Only when you call them or check the FCA Register will you realise that this isn’t the case.
This is perfectly acceptable, says Linda Jackson, and may be a good strategy: it makes it look like you’re still employed, and is easily explained by the fact that some banks now have six month notice periods and very long non-compete times.
3. ‘Old job title, no company name’
This is also a popular option, and may be the best of the lot. By listing your former job title, you’re making it more likely that you’ll come up in an internet search. By omitting the company name, you’re intimating that you’re not working for anyone right now.
This option is probably best of all. Zaki Ahmed, director of Financial Search Limited, an executive search firm, says recruiters who are looking for candidates will typically search on the basis of job titles. If you go for option 1 and simply say that you’re open to new opportunities, you may be overlooked.
4. ‘The job you’re looking for’
Why not just put your desired job in the place where you’re supposed to put what you’re actually doing now? There are plenty of instances of this, with out of work bankers describing themselves as ‘looking for jobs in Singapore’, or ‘High yield trading for large US bank.’
Although this seems like a wonderful idea – you’ll get picked up in searches – it’s not. You’ll just disappoint people says Jackson. Stay real.
5. ‘On sabbatical/gone fishing/in the garden’
Naidu says he came across someone who described themselves as fishing. Other bankers describe themselves as in the garden as a euphemism for gardening leave. Some say they’re on sabbatical as a euphemism for researching their family history and sleeping a lot.
All of these terms are best used if you have another job to go to: they imply that you’re happily occupied despite being out of the market.
6. ‘Unemployed at job centre’
Surprisingly, there are a number of people out there who put ‘unemployed at job centre’ as their job title. We even came across one who listed his profession as investment banking. This is not a good strategy, says Jackson. Avoid it at all costs.