This is the third part in a series on how to get a job in sales, trading and finance. Read part 1, what is sales and trading, here, and part 2, what working in sales and trading is really like, here.
So, you’ve decided that you think the trading floor is for you. What next? Here are some tips to put you onto the road to success?
Resume, Covering Letter and Questionnaires
For your resume, do not exceed one page. People in Finance face daily information overload so keep your resume succinct, to the point and use bullet points. Succinctness and the one-page rule also apply to your Cover Letter also. Take a look at material provided by your university and websites that discuss Investment Banking recruitment for further resume writing tips. Each sentence should be meaningful and should sell your best attributes, experiences and outline what you have learned from your experiences.
Some banks also have questionnaires as part of their online application process, generally requiring responses within 200-400 words. Ensure your responses demonstrate your particular experiences and strengths – this will ensure you distinguish yourself from the hundreds of other applicants, while still remaining true to yourself and your skills.
For everything you submit, I urge printing and reading it a few hours later with “fresh eyes”. Asking a family member or friend to proof read it is a good idea, too. Attention to detail is critical in Finance and your online application is a good opportunity to exhibit your detail-oriented capabilities.
I highly recommend getting a LinkedIn account or improving an existing account. Ensure consistency between your resume, covering letter and your LinkedIn profile. Also, while your resume will not feature a photo of yourself, ensure your LinkedIn photo is professional and not pixelated.
Favourable personal branding is critical and you should ensure your online presence portrays a message consistent with what you present professionally. Ensure your personal social media accounts show your best attributes. I have been told that many recruiters have been drawn to applicants because of their social media. Use your social media to demonstrate your interests outside of finance. If you are a keen hiker, don’t shy away from making that photo of you hiking up a tall mountain your cover photo! Love travelling? Let it shine through on your Instagram.
If you haven’t followed the financial press throughout your studies, I recommend starting 4-6 months ahead of interviews to get a full understanding. This is also important for investment banking interviews. You will need an understanding of corporate transactions and these can evolve over a long time horizon.
The best way to stay on top of financial news is a subscription. The Australian Financial Review occasionally offers a discounted online subscription for students, as does The Australian, who has recently offered a free online subscription to students at selected universities. Take advantage of these. During semester, you may not have time to read all articles everyday. Reading the headlines will usually give you enough of an understanding to scrape by – just don’t make a habit of it! I highly recommend reading a market wrap for the Australian and overseas markets on a daily basis and opinion pieces regarding topical stock and economic specific news to enhance your understanding. If you cannot access a subscription, the websites of Bloomberg and the ABC have great resources that you can access free of charge.
If you are a Finance major, ensure you have a glimpse of your old study notes occasionally to brush up on your technical knowledge. It is useful to understand concepts such as put-call parity or bond pricing for technical questions.
If you have not studied Finance at university, a great way to develop knowledge is using the many free online resources that advise on technical interview questions. That being said, interviewers are likely to not expect you not to have great technical knowledge of Finance if you have never studied it!
Most banks will require you to complete psychometric tests as part of their screening process. To maximise your success, I recommend practicing these tests leading up to submitting your application.
There are many free online practice tests that cover areas of numerical, verbal and logical reasoning, which are typically tested. There are also phone apps which feature psychometric quiz questions, as well as apps that test your mathematical capabilities without a calculator. These are both productive ways to pass the time when you’re commuting! You should expect to be asked in interviews to solve mathematical calculations in your head.
Another part of the process ahead of interviews is attending Networking Events. Click here to read more.