Before you craft you story, you have to know what you want to do in the world of finance.
Most people looking for a job in finance have NO idea what they want to do in the world of finance. I know this, because I was one of them. I left college not really having any idea of what I wanted to do, I just knew that I watched Wall Street and I wanted to make deals like Gordon Gekko.
If you’re in school, figure that out NOW. If you’re out of school, figure that out yesterday. If you already know what you want to do, figure out if that’s really what you want to do.
What if you’re interviewing for a wealth management position and the interviewer asks if you’re a people person? I hope you are because that is one of the most day to day client facing positions in finance.
If you hate quiet cubicle working, then I doubt you’ll like the long hours of the investment banking world.
Here are some tricks for figuring out what you want to do:
Needs no introduction. There is a wealth of information and first hand accounts about working in different sectors in finance.
No joke, the people here actually know what they’re talking about. Plus, most career centers will get you in touch with an Alumnus of your school that can help you more.
Hit up Linkedin and find Alumni from your University. Hit up old contacts from your social fraternity (see rule #1). Take them out to lunch (you pay) and BADGER them with questions. See if that’s really what you want to do.
Tell Your Story
Now that you know WHAT you want to do, you have to be able to SHOW that you’ve always wanted to do it. You need to craft a gripping story for when this inevitable question comes up: “Why do you want this job.”
This means that you have to walk into any interview with your head held high and show that you’ve always wanted to work in investment banking or private wealth management. You have to prove that everything you’ve done since you we’re a little kid has brought you to where you currently are.
Your story should have all the elements that any great novel has:
You want to start off by talking about what you were doing before you got the idea to get into finance.
For example, you might say “When I was a kid, I opened lemonade stands with my brother and saved over $1,000 before I was 12. “
What was it that triggered your interest in finance? How did you further this interest?
Continuing the example, you might say: “When I was about 15, I started reading the Wall St. Journal and found that I really liked reading about technology companies. I opened up an account with etrade and purchased Google stock which then soared. I started researching other companies in different industries and I did pretty well. Before you know it, it was Christmas and I was recommending stocks to my Grandparents. Throughout college, I joined the investment club in school and studied for and passed CFA Level . I also interned with a private wealth management firm in the building next door.”
Here it is, this is the climax. This is the part of the story where you tie back everything to why you’re sitting in that chair and proving yourself worthy for that job.
You might say, “The reason I’m so interested in applying for this equities research position is because I found out at an early age that I love researching companies, I love getting into the heads of managers and understanding the company struggles, and how the management may or may not overcome them. I did enjoy the private wealth management internship, but I declined an offer with them because I wanted a career where my main focus is research.”
That’s how its done ladies and gentleman. If you can WOW an interviewer with this question, you’ll be on GREAT footing for the rest of the interview.