I came across your profile on linkedIn while going through the ‘Business & Jobs New York’ group, and you came across as a great person to connect with. I am writing to you because I am really interested in joining the XXX Group at XXX Firm and would really appreciate getting some insights from your end. I have been making online applications to this group and nothing has come up so far.
To give you a brief overview of my background; I graduated from XXX College with a bachelors in Economics/computer science, joined XXX Bank prime brokerage group for over a year then XXX’s wealth management as a Client Service analyst for a couple of months. Thereafter I went to graduate school at XXX University where I received my masters in Financial Economics.
I would like to forward you my resume for critique and directives. Kindly let me know if you will be willing to assist me. Your advice and time would be invaluable.
Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.
Of course, this is a very articulate and well-written letter. Now, why do I have an incentive to write back to this person, among all others? Because he/she perfectly answered three big questions in my little head whenever I am reading such letters.
We have been hiring in our group and the resume screening process is kind of fun. I know there are many articles all over the place on how to write a perfect resume and I can tell many of the resumes I’ve seen have tried very hard to follow these rules. But then, what can possibly still go wrong?
1) What the hell is that experience on top of your resume?
Wharton MBA, 4.0 GPA, absolutely impressive. And all the other work experience only makes him more qualified for the job. Wait, but his most recent position for the last 8 months is in MUSIC PRODUCTION? It’s not that you can’t try something new about your life, but why is this RELEVANT TO THIS JOB that you’re applying? You can be a very artsy person or a super talented guitar player and that’s probably even a plus, and it could become a very entertaining topic at the interview. But it’s usually a BAD idea to put this in bold letters on the TOP of your resume applying for a job in a totally different industry, because people will have a REALLY HARD time making the connections.
Your resume represents who you are before you get a chance to convince anyone face-to-face. You want to make it REALLY EASY for the resume screeners to pick you.
2) Those two lines at the bottom of your resume
At some point you are going to ask yourself: Do I want to be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond? It’s a tough decision.
A big fish in a small pond can be an attractive idea to everyone. Some headhunter called me again yesterday, another marketing/investor relations/client-facing position at another boutique fast-growing HF. More freedom, more flexibility, and more money: the rosy picture of the so-called “fast-track”.
I would by no means want to discourage those who want to really step up in their career, but before you get too much ahead of yourself, take a moment to think about the following:
Success here doesn’t promise your greatness there
You might be very good at a big firm, but chances are this it not because of who you are and what you are capable of (of course these matters big time too), but more importantly because of the training you get, the resources you have at your disposal, and the whole supporting platform that lies in every aspect of your work life.
If you ever worked in banking, you probably know and have experienced the following: You stayed very late to work on an assignment due this morning at 10am, and then for the next 6 hours you have basically nothing to do. At 4pm you got your assignment back with TONS and TONS of comments, and you know it will be another really long night ahead of you.
Have you ever thought about: is this really how it is supposed to be? Or if there is anything you can do to make your life easier? Well you know, probably the first step to making your own life easier is to make other people’s lives easier. And here is how to do both at the same time:
Understand the end objectives
There are many reasons why you have to do certain things that may not quite make sense to you. It’s probably done that way historically, or the client requested it that way, or it’s the only data you can find, or it’s for your manager’s convenience. But a lot of times it will be really helpful to know the following information: why am I doing this, who is this for, and when exactly you need this.
Sometimes it is not you who decided to move on. Sometimes you just have to move on, because someone else has been staring at your spot for too long. –thoughts on the competitive job market and career path
The first day on the job I sat down with one of my managers. After going through the major tasks and responsibilities and the organization of the team, I said, I really want to do a good job, so I’m wondering what are the major expectations you have on me as an analyst?
My manager smiled: well there are three folds basically: get your job done; get it done well and efficiently; get it done elegantly. He said yes client relationship management and communication is, at the end of the day, an art. It is hard to explain what kind of “elegance” is involved but you will understand along the way.
And it’s been two years since, and then finally I realized what it means to do your job “elegantly”. It means say what you have to say and do what you have to do At EASE. Never be desperate. Never freak out. No matter how dire the situation may be.
The following is from my lovely, sweet, and dearest colleague Esther Kim and I resonate with so many things she has said below:
You know you’re a true financial analyst in New York city when you know:
· the late-night security guard by name
· how to fix all kinds of printer problems
· if you can’t fix it, you know 4 back-up printers in your building
· that the starbuck’s staff notices when you’re taking a day off
· your co-worker’s favorite work outfit
· when to go get water and use the restroom to avoid bumping into people you prefer not to small-talk with while you take care business
· which fruit stand sells the best fruit
· at what speed to walk in order to catch your next subway when transferring
· your cabinet has a full inventory of eye-drops, some for of Excedrin, and a week’s worth of power-bars
· you have failed to find a way to stay away during long meetings after an all-nighter
· which conference rooms are always freezing
· been asked to do the Vending Machine challenge
· you can’t use any other font style other than the one used at your firms
· you want to say “going forward” instead of “from now on” and “month-end” instead of “end of the month” when talking with your friends outside of work
· you don’t have friends outside of work
· how to turn pages at rapid pace without drying your fingers
· when to pull out your metro card and how to swipe without slowing down at the turnstill
· know who will notice if you sat in his chair
· when to order food to get the fastest delivery
· quirky eating and sleeping habits of your cub-mates