If you’re out of college already or going through a career transition, this post will give you an idea of what your competition looks like. Hopefully you’ll take this the right way and parlay this information into a harder work ethic when job hunting. If you’re still in school, use this list as a guide!
The perfect finance job candidate has ALL of the following:
A 4.0 economics/business degree from a prestigious Ivy League University
I don’t think I have to tell you why this is important. All positions in finance are very competitive, and although the rigors of the job are completely different than what you get in school, it’s a good indication of how well you’re able to succeed in work you don’t necessarily want to do (there is a lot of that in any finance position).
Two summers of RELEVANT internship experience AND • Another year or two of part time work experience (during the school year)
Hiring managers now expect previous relevant work experience. It should be as relevant as possible to the career you want, but take ANY internship that will give you enough experience in the three things that any finance career requires: Attention to detail, Excel knowledge, professional client interaction. A solid internship that many investment bankers tank are ones at wealth management firms (big bank private wealth management internships are boring, but the name brand gets hiring managers excited).
Fraternity/Social club president (Skull and Bones?
What? Those frat guys are all alcoholic losers! Not so fast. I was a Sigma Chi back in my college days and although I might have wasted away plenty of weekends, it came back to be a wise decision for a few reasons:
- I networked with other Sigma Chi alumni throughout the country, and did plenty of informational interviews over the phone. I was even offered an internship that I ultimately rejected (it was in real estate, which I wasn’t interested in).
- When I was interviewing for the bank I ultimately ended up working at, my hiring manager was also a greek in college (and we shared appropriate stories).
- While I was working, I developed a camaraderie based on the
Hiring managers not only want to know if you can do the work, but if you can get along with the other people in the office. A social fraternity shows that you can, at least, get along with a group of people (look up the Airplane Test).
Philanthropy club president
Anything that makes you look good makes the company you work for look good. If you’re involved in extracurricular activities that reflect highly upon you, it reflects highly upon the firm. Hopefully you didn’t join the club just for a spot on your resume…
Research with a well-known faculty member (business or economics)
Most research is very meticulous in nature, working with large data sets. The best position would be one in which you aided the professor through the data gathering process, and we’re along for the ride during the conclusion stage. Any job in finance is just like that, gathering facts and making conclusions based on those facts.
Parents with finance connections
I don’t think you’d be reading this guide if your mom or dad knew a managing director at Goldman Sachs, but most of the time those lucky job candidates have to go through the same recruitment process as you do. That means that they have to screw up monumentally to not get an offer. Network like a pro and you can gain that same advantage
Even if you don’t have any of these qualities going for you, I have some good news: you can still beat a candidate with the right game plan. Sign up below for my free whitepaper on winning a career in finance.