It seems that many readers are at the college aged level and are in two buckets 1) Trying to break in while in undergrad, 2) graduated with an iffy track record and want to find a new path to get in.
Lets Start with the Cookie Cutter Track:
Go to the university website, find the career center link and find out how many banks recruit at the schools you may attend… Higher the better.
Immediately gain finance related experience, we would rather hire someone who worked at “Joe Shmoe’s investment bank” than a person who simply has a 4.0 in Chemical Engineering. We will choose work experience because we are lazy and want you to “hit the ground running”
Maintain, a GPA of 3.5+. There are a few banks now that require a 3.7 however a 3.5 and relevant experience will net you interviews
Go look at the Q&A we have and ask many questions there, they will be addressed (no the answers don’t get old)
Take the best offer you get in the field you want to work in, better to work in Banking at Jefferies than Goldman for Sales and trading if you want to be a banker… makes sense but for some reason people believe prestige trumps relevant equivalent work experience. It does not.
Lets Look at the Hard Track: Here we assume that you didn’t quite make it in undergrad and now you’re wondering how to clean up your resume. Get ready to work harder than a Wall Street Employee (you are allowed only 4 hours of sleep) because you are going to play large amounts of catch up. As you already know change is gradual and if you’ve been going the wrong way for who knows what reason, you must turn the car around.
Networking. This is going to be your absolute best bet. Find every single finance professional possible from your school and get ready to cold email and hope you get a bite. Be sure to convey that you know exactly what you would like to do.
Get an internship. Paid or unpaid in a field as closely related to front office finance. One of our writers worked for a no-name, public finance investment bank in a non-finance hub in the center of America… for free. Talk about the worst job in history… that tells an interviewer you’re serious.
Do not get levered up and get an MBA. Our advice is to maximize your life and low and behold more people are realizing it is just a big sham. Can’t say we didn’t call this. If you absolutely want to do nothing but work your balls off for 80+ hours a week at the age of 28+ for 4 years to earn your stripes because you love finance and would rather die than not work in finance… Then the MBA is your best bet. Hope you can understand the sarcasm there.
Get out of useless jobs. If you have a college degree from a legitimate school the worst thing you can do is work a “nowhere job”. This kills your soul. If you’re just looking to make money to make ends meet, anyone who can type over 50 words per minute can work for a temp agency and work as a bartender for income. Think about that one. Where do well off bankers cool off? Probably a good idea to work at a high end bar where there are a bunch of finance people and hook them up with girls/drinks. Wait… that is exactly how another one of our writers got his job… by being the “favorite” of a high roller in Manhattan… 6 months later the guy explained that he was a Managing Director at a Bulge bracket bank and offered him an analyst internship. Look around you… Is there anyone around you doing well? Then why are you even in that area.
Get creative. Find every single relative you know and have multiple resumes with … multiple addresses.This sounds “illegal” it really isn’t, its called hustling. If you really want to get a job in NYC make it seem like you live there already and when you get that job offer … You Simply Move. If it looks like you live in the middle of no where with your parents we’re not going to bother flying you in for an interview. Saying this is “lying” is ridiculous because the chances of all your addresses ever matching properly on all your forms of identification are next to zero, who in the world changes their permanent address to “NYU Dorms”. No one. Note this also applies to any side job you want to grab, better to work in a major bar in NYC than the best club in… Nebraska.
Conclusion: The above sounds rough. It is. There is no way around it. You’re already grinding in college or you are going to be grinding incredibly hard out of the gate starting 4 years ago. If you have not started fixing your resume and sending out feelers by the hundreds already then you’re not going to get in. Start hustling. Start working. Stop doing the same thing you’ve been doing expecting things will change that is the definition of insanity. Time is NOT ON YOUR SIDE.
With that said, we’ll move into resume mistakes, resume examples and college personal finance as subsequent posts.