My Best & Worst Job Search Campaigns

It took me a while to learn how it all works – perhaps I can save you some time and pain.

Worst – in order of badness

I relied too heavily on popular job websites where the jobs can be ‘stale’ or even non-existent. More significantly if you apply you are immediately competing with 50 others if not 100 others. I don’t like odds of 100-1.

I sent over 100 CVs with Covering Letter to Corporate Treasury Departments. Not a ridiculous idea and I did have a couple of interviews but most fell on stony ground. I’m going to call that odds of 50-1. 

Applying to companies that visited my university. If they visited my university they visited a bunch of others also. I’m not saying don’t apply but odds are not in your favour. Odds 30-1

Best – in order of goodness 

I analysed my real skill and interests then talked to as many people as I could saying “do you know anybody who uses these skills in this area ?” I was then able to identify a specific job in a specific sector of the financial industry (a Marketing Communications role in Retail Asset Management). Through a friend i.e. NETWORKING, I then met a contact who worked in this exact role. I asked him all about it. He gave me tips and contacts. I also went to a Money Marketing exhibition at Earl’s Court which was well out of my ‘comfort zone’( in my head I asked myself “Am I crazy doing this ?”) I approached several Retail Money Manager stalls saying  “Guys I’m actually looking for a job in this space. Who should I speak to at your organisation?” They ALL gave me a name and contact details. I rang the relevant individuals following up with an email, CV and Covering Letter. Jupiter Asset Management had a vacancy and was looking for someone just like me (a position they felt they could not advertise publicly as hundreds of old marketing types would apply). One job vacancy. One applicant. Odds 1-1

I took Japanese Economic History in my 3rd year at Sheffield University. I asked my tutor if he had contacts at any Japanese firms. He gave me four companies and contacts. Two were financial firms; Nomura and Japan international Bank Ltd (JIB). I wrote to both then interviewed at both. JIB thought the idea of taking a graduate was a good one. I got offered and accepted the job which started my career, my way through the City Doors. Odds 1-1.    

Applying directly to a companies via their website. This is a perfectly good approach. Odds 20-1

You might ask “Why not do all the approaches ?”  You don’t have the time if you’re going to do your chosen couple of channels thoroughly.

I am just trying to make a point. Applying to Graduate Schemes and similar is fine if you want to and can land a job this way but you may need to think and work smarter to increase your odds of walking through those doors!

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About Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the founder of Opening City Doors and is a Financial Market Specialist having worked for several leading Investment Banks and financial technology institutions additionally.He therefore provides a unique insight, and unusually broad perspective, into the opportunities available in London Financial Markets and related sectors and how to launch your career in the ‘City’.