How to Get a Job in Investment Banking
by Ryan Erfer
Becoming an Investment Banker
Trying to land a job as an investment banker is no walk in the park, but with the right preparation and desire the trek can be a successful one. Despite the repetitive application process, applicants still vicariously search for a distinct edge and that perfect formula for success. Such common questions including “Who should I talk to?”; “Is my resume good enough?”; and “How do I nail the interview?” are always being asked by hungry applicants. Thus, it is important and necessary to address these questions as well as others in order to understand the process to land a job.
Who Should I Talk to?
The importance of networking can not be emphasized enough. It is a must if you want any shot at all in the investment banking industry. Networking must become a routine part of your efforts, and it is important to get as much reach as possible. Reach out to the following people: recent graduates, friends who are entering the field as well, family members, friends, friends of family members, friends of friends, teachers, professionals in complementary fields, and of course professionals in investment banking. Students often misjudge and undervalue the power of their network, mostly because they are not using it properly. Your friends and family want to help you, so contact them, see who they know, and then go from there. Not only do you want to be contacting every potential connection to the industry, but you want to be learning, following up constantly, offering them something, asking questions, and building a credible brand image for yourself. Obviously, you must be knowledgeable about the investment banking industry and have a visible desire for wanting the job – something that all people can read in to.
Is My Resume Good Enough?
The resume is the trophy of your experiences and the backbone to your application. When evaluating your resume, look at it from the perspective of a busy and well-seasoned recruiter. Is it overwhelming? Does it look substantive and professional? Also, remember that you are competing against the best of the best applicants from top business and Ivy League schools. While you should be wary of this, it should by no means be a deterrence to your efforts. Build your resume up with finance-related work experience and extracurricular activities with leadership roles. If you don’t have a lot of visible experience in finance it is ok, but be sure that your resume shows depth, an element of personal progression, and that you are qualified enough for the job.
How Do I Stand Out Amongst My Peers?
When it comes down to it, the interview is by far the most important component of the application process. You will hear over and over that you will have to “tell your story” and tell it well. The only way to do this is through practice. Find a list of potential questions commonly asked in an interview and answer them using the STAR method. The STAR method helps you craft your story using the Situation, Task, Action, and Result. The Action component of your story needs to be detailed and strong because, after all, recruiters are evaluating you and your actions. Once you have all of the questions answered using the STAR method, take a step back and see if this collection of stories paints the image of yourself that you want to showcase. Also, during the interview, it is important to ask really good questions that are thought provoking. If you can muster up good conversation and cause people to think in new ways, chances are you will be remembered for it. Remember that all of this preparation takes time, so prepare accordingly. But with the right crafting and effort, you can get the job.