When there is a 'credit crunch' with the prospect of recession the finance and banking sectors are at the sharp end of the stick and ultimately the first markets to feel the squeeze. Whilst experienced bankers and financiers will always be able to find employment, graduates looking to gain a position in the banking industry are finding that the current economic climate is proving tough, with a high level of competition in the marketplace amongst other graduates, whilst financial organisations are also less inclined to recruit at a time of downsizing.
When there are large-scale redundancies in the banking sector and recruitment budgets are already cut then competition to find jobs becomes increasingly difficult. As profitability in the banking sector is being hit companies have to cut costs and often graduate training and marketing budgets are the first to be rescinded. Therefore graduates looking to move into the banking and finance sectors need to set themselves apart from other candidates.
Here is a top 10 guide to help find a banking job and survive the credit crunch.
1 - You shouldn't send out the same curriculum vitae to every potential employer, instead tailor your CV for each specific job. There's no need to lie- individual employers are potentially looking for candidates with different skill sets therefore highlighting those specific skill sets in either your CV or covering letter will potentially get you noticed and set you out from the crowd.
2 - Understand the company that you are applying for a role at. Nothing irks an interviewer as much as a candidate who hasn't carried out any research. If you aren't interested in the company then why should they show interest in you? At a minimum do your research, explore the corporate website, learn about what the company offers, discover what's unique about them and read all the latest press releases and aim to 'fact-drop' in your interview. It may be an obvious tactic, which will be picked up by an interviewer, but a tactic which will hold you in good merit.
3 - An interview is prime time to ask the company questions too. Prepare a range of questions so that you'll have something to hand if you're prompted. Not having any questions can look negative, as if you're not really interested.
4 - Consider broadening the types of companies you apply to, there can be a lot of people competing for the same jobs at the largest banks and financial institutions, so look to mid-tier investment houses or hedge fund providers.
5 - Graduates should look for financial training schemes, however in a credit crunch these schemes can be harder to come by, so if you've just left university consider internship, or work experience. A couple of months working for free may not be of immediate financial benefit but could pay dividends long term as relevant experience can be very important and employers are looking for candidates who can hit the ground running, or show the kind of dedication it takes to decide to do work experience. Those that cannot take a financial hit by working for free should look at taking part-time or related work that can be used to show commercial awareness and business skills. Charity work or a job where you can provide that you have entrepreneurial abilities can also set you ahead of your competition.
6 - When you get an interview don't act desperate, as if you need the job. Being keen is great, but if the interviewer thinks that you'll take any job because you need it, the image you a portraying is of someone who may 'jump ship' once you get back on your feet.
7 - You can't avoid the fact that sometimes it's who you know and not what you know. Anyone can use this to their advantage by utilising social networking, contacting friends and ex co-workers to see if there are any opening where they work.
8 - Your personal statement on your curriculum vitae can be one of the first things a potential employer may read about you, so you need to take this opportunity to impress. Keep your personal statement fairly short and snappy and highlight your professional attributes and goals. Remember to sell yourself and avoid typical cliché and empty phrases such as 'team player' etc
9 - Highlight key corporate success stories that you have accomplished. Businesses like facts and figures, so if you're produced some impressive results in previous employment then state them in your curriculum vitae. This separates you from the other candidates and moves you from the 'potentially could do' to the 'has done' thought mentality in the employers mind.
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