Last summer, I completed an internship in an investment bank. During this, I networked like crazy and managed to achieve a 3 hour tour of the trading floor during my last week of work. I did my homework before I arrived and by genuinely caring and showing an interest while I was on the internship, I managed to make some powerful contacts.
This has all brought big advantages. I now have some banking work experience on my CV and I have names to drop – names that can vouch for my enthusiasm and eagerness.
I’m not simply reapplying to the bank I’ve already worked for however. I’m going for a far more comprehensive application strategy, which includes:
- Applying online to banks via their application system
- Finding a range of small boutiques via different student and investment related forums. Applying to those too.
- Finding something unique about every firm (their USP - Unique Selling Point). Citing this in my cover letter/interview to explain precisely why I want to work there and nowhere else.
- Using LinkedIn more proactive – getting my face out there.
- Finding a list of companies on different graduate recruitment sites such as eFinancialCareers. Applying here too.
- Looking at the websites of regulated bodies in each area of the industry I want to apply to. They usually contain members lists, which can be an excellent source of potential employers.
- Starting a spreadsheet with the names of all the companies I want to apply to, their USP and my strategy for getting in touch.
If you want to work in the front office of an investment bank in this market, you need persistence. You need the energy that will put you ahead of competitors and allow you to differentiate yourself in the best way possible. Don’t give up. Ever.
Naran Dasti is the pseudonym for a UK university student who's trying very hard to make it into the front office.