After you have decided that you want to leave Investment Banking the next thing you need to work out is where to look for jobs. If Investment Banking was your first career after university then the chances are that you aren’t really an expert on job hunting…after all what you needed to get into Investment Banking was a list of the Investment Banks and the closing dates for applications.
Unfortunately the same does not exist when you are looking to leave Investment Banking. Before I go into some of the ways you can look for your next position I just want to remind you that before you start looking for jobs you really want to:
- Make sure that you have done the time necessary in Investment Banking
- Have thought about what you want to do next and the type of places you want to go
- Have updated your resume
- Have a shiny new cover letter that is going to have prospective employers drooling
Once you have done all of those you’re FINALLY ready to start your job hunt.
How to get out there and start looking for new jobs
Occasionally the perfect job will be sitting there for you once you start searching. Other times it may take a while for the right opportunity to come up. As much as I know you are desperate to leave Investment Banking right now the best thing you can do for yourself is to keep your expectations in check.
When I decided to leave Investment Banking I was ready to walk out the door. Hearing that it could take anywhere from 3 to 6 months was soul crushing (it actually ended up only taking 3 months) but if I had kept my expectations in check I would have made it a whole lot easier on myself.
One of the hardest things about job hunting is knowing where to start looking for new jobs
This post is designed to help you start the process off. All of the avenues I talk about below are ones you should look into…what you want to do is maximize your opportunities. Sometimes you never know what will come up.
So where should you look for your next job? Broadly there are 4 main areas you should tap:
- Friends, family and contacts
- Online job boards
- The Newspaper
Below is a brief overview of all of the above and why you must tap every single area in your job hunt. Some of the best outcomes for me personally came from some of the most unexpected sources.
You MUST use recruiters while searching for your next job
If you are leaving Investment Banking then recruiters are one job searching avenue that you should not ignore. You are in demand and are often looking for hard-to-get jobs.
Companies, especially ones that get a lot of demand from prospective employees, often use recruiters as a screening tool and some jobs can only be found through recruiters.
Recruiters also love Investment Bankers because they are so easy to place and they get paid a percentage of your first years wage so they will be knocking on your door to have them on their books.
Before you run out there and sign up to every single recruiter than you can find you should know that there are several downsides to recruiters
- They are only remunerated when they place you in a job. Any job. They are not looking for the best job for you and will often pressure you into accepting a position that may not be right for you
- Recruiters will often ‘shop’ you around far more than you want. The last thing you want is for your employer to work out that you are in the market…what happens if you don’t get a job you want and decide to stay in banking for a few more years…not a good look!
Using recruiters is a skill form in itself and requires much more space than I have here. I’m going to do a post shortly on how to use them effectively so keep your eye out for that.
You have some amazing contacts…and you should use them
We all have contacts. Some are better than others but if you are an Investment Banker the chances are that you have some pretty decent contacts. As an Investment Banker you have the following contacts:
- Family who may or may not be in the industry you are looking to get into
- Friends from university who are spread through different industries and careers
- Clients from your years in Investment Banking who you have a good relationship
- People at your bank who are not invested in you staying at the bank
When searching for your next job you should use all of these contacts. Obviously use the ones that are going to be most useful to you. It doesn’t do you any harm to mention to them that you are looking for a new job, the industry you are looking in and waiting to see if that yields any fruit.
Be careful if you mention it to people within your bank. You don’t want it to get back to your managers or even to start circulating among your colleagues on the floor because that sort of thing never stays quiet for long.
Also be careful if you are tapping clients for ideas…you run the risk of them mentioning it to your boss. I’ve seen this happen before and it really doesn’t look good!
So how useful can using your contacts be?
This particular strategy paid significant dividends for me. I was looking for a very specific buy side role and I mentioned this to all of the groups I outlined above:
- I mentioned it to a VP who I trusted and he put me onto someone in another division at the bank who gave me tips on where to look and passed on several job offers to me that were just not public (even through recruiters)
- I mentioned it to a university friend who happened to see a job come up that I had completely missed…I applied for that job and got it
I know speaking to friends, family and contacts can work. I’ve seen it work too many times including for myself so don’t ignore this avenue!
Online job boards are a great way of keeping a tab on the job market
The chances of an online job board having the type of high profile job you are looking for is pretty low but you never know. I have seen some pretty decent exit jobs for Investment Banking analysts come up through these job boards so make sure you keep an eye on them.
The best thing about this is that you can do it at your desk and check it daily without every arousing any suspicion. Make sure you close the window when you are finished looking at it though…you don’t want to be busted just because someone happened to walk past and glance at your unlocked computer screen.
Newspapers still have jobs…no really…they do!
I know you’re going to laugh at me for suggesting newspapers but sometimes an organisation is so old school that they will not advertise any other way. That is actually how I landed my current job which I love and which pays incredibly well. The guys that run the business hire so infrequently that they think newspapers are still how companies hire.
I was not looking at newspapers at all and only found the job ad because the friend I mentioned above happened to see it and gave me a ring to look at it.
Obviously the newspaper matters. You’re not looking at your local newspaper. You’re looking for whatever the financial journal is in your country (e.g. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Australian Financial review etc).
It does take a while to find the perfect next job so make sure you are tapping all available markets and resources to make this search easier and quicker. Want more job searching tips sign up for the newsletter below (no spam or advertising ever!)