Networking: How To Get A Financial Job Outside A Graduate Programme

Getting on a Graduate Programme is great if you can but the odds are broadly 100-1 against and unless you are from the university higher echelons you may not even be considered, rightly or wrongly. So you need to take another approach. One is networking your way in; a topic I will thoroughly cover in the future. However this is how it works.

Last night I went for a drink with my young friend Sandra who I worked with earlier in the year mentoring her around her job search campaign, CV preparation, mock interviews, salary negotiation etc..It all went well. She successfully secured an entry level position with a firm that services the London Investment Banks around Securities New Issues. She was up against a few more qualified candidates but she had honed down her interview skills and, as ever, whoever interviews best gets the job!

Sandra has been in her ‘new job’ for six months now and it was great to see her flourishing with her ‘City’ career well and truly started. In our ‘catch-up’ last night Sandra mentioned her company were looking for someone in a similar role to herself although the individual needed to be able to speak German or a Scandinavian language. 

So basically I now know of a vacant position at this company. Not only is it a vacant position but it is one which hasn’t been advertised yet. If they were to receive a good CV / candidate that made the grade that would save this company a whole heap of trouble advertising the role and interviewing a bunch a people.

Anybody now who approaches me and says ” Do you know of any jobs in the City?” and if they speak one of those languages I will then happily pass on the information about the opportunity (contact me if this is you – I actually know of four roles at this company !)

The point is – this is networking. Who do you know from your brothers and sisters, parents, friends, friends’ parents ,university alumni, sports club connections, LinkedIn connections ( a separate subject in itself) .You need to reach out to these people; most people are happy to help. You need to continue to reach out casting your net further and further. When you contact people, if you are able to define, it is best to have a ‘tag line’ so they can remember your interest. “I want to work in Private Banking”. “I want to work in Financial Trading”. “ I want to work in Financial Research.”

Connect with someone and their network automatically becomes your network! 

You also need to re-contact your newly made contacts once a month until you get fixed up “Just thought I’d contact you. Hope you are well. By the way I am still looking for XYZ in case you hear etc..” It does not need to be a long message! This way you have fifty pairs of ears and eyes looking for your way through the City Door.

There are so many people like me who know of vacancies at their own and other firms. You just have to find them.

When you do find that vacancy, if it’s a smaller firm, then you might be competing against 1-5 other individuals. Much better than Graduate Scheme odds of 100-1.

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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’.