Doesn’t it feel great? You’ve made the decision to quit the Investment Banking industry. You have served your time and have more options than you can possibly dream of. You have thought through what you want to do next and have settled on your ideal career…so where do you go from here?
Most people fail to plan and work through the next steps in a logical fashion. If I’m going to be honest most Investment Bankers’ tend to fall into their next job. They don’t really have a particularly set plan to get into their next career. I admit that I’ve always found this rather strange…the same people just a few years before planned and executed their Investment Banking recruitment strategy so well they were able to beat out hundreds of other competitors…and they forget to do this a few years later.
First work out how much money you want to make
This should really form part of your thinking about what career you want to work in, but even within careers there is a huge difference between the salaries you can earn at various firms or even for various roles within a similar industry.
Be realistic – if you want to get your life back you’re going to be taking a pay cut. The fact is that you may actually need and require far less than you were getting in Investment Banking. I certainly didn’t require an Investment Banking wage to be happy and fulfilled.
Set a number and when you are looking for jobs ignore anything below that number…but be careful not to once again get sucked in by what pays the most. When I left banking I decided that I wanted to make at least $150,000 all in (including bonus) and this set the frame for my job hunt.
Work out what your ‘perfect job position’ would be
Once you have worked out what you want to do next you need to identify what your ideal job position would be. Sometimes there will only be one industry that caters to that particular job position…but more often than not you will find that you can get effectively the same job in different industries or in the same industry with a different focus.
For example…if after doing Investment Banking you decided that what you actually wanted to be was an Investor in equities perhaps your order may look like this:
- Hedge Fund equities analyst
- Long only fund equities analyst
- Equities research analyst
All those roles effectively involve researching stocks for the purposes of investment, but each of them has a different emphasis and focus.
If you had your pick…which firm would you work at?
Make sure you take the time to go through and work out where you would work if you were given two competing job offers. It will be much easier to make good decisions later on if you do it. The chances are that you did this when you were going for Investment Banking roles (you would have ranked them perhaps from the Bulge Brackets with the teams you were interested in first down to the smaller boutique firms in undesirable cities last)
Do exactly the same things now. Make a list within each of the job positions above of which firm you would work at given the chances.
Next spend some time updating your resume
I don’t know a single person that keeps their resume up to date and once you decide what you want to do next the first thing to do is to update your resume before you speak to or call anyone. This topic deserves a whole article and I will post one soon.
Update your LinkedIn account
After updating your physical resume, make sure you update your LinkedIn account. You are probably used to getting cold called by recruiters – you are going to get much more attention if your online resume is up to date and clearly ‘ready for use’.
Further, once you start putting your name out there for positions people are going to start looking you up so make sure your online profile is up to date.
Only after you do all this should you start contacting recruiters and looking for jobs online
Don’t spam every recruiter out there and don’t apply for every job you come across. Make sure you approach recruiters and online applications in a systematic manner. This is especially important if you don’t want the fact that you are recruiting to get around the office. I am going to do a more complete post on this topic in the coming weeks.
Do you really need to do that much preparation?
This seems like a lot of work and it is (especially when you don’t have any free time and when you do have free time you certainly don’t want to spend it on these sorts of tasks). However if you take the time to do the above tasks you will have a better idea of:
- What you want to do
- Where you want to do it
- What you want to get paid for it
- Whether you should hold out for a better position
Knowing each of these will make the recruitment process much less painful and confusing than it may otherwise be.