What’s the Key to Getting Hired on Wall Street?

If you’re having trouble getting hired, it might not have anything to do with the size of the job market. You might have simply failed to show prospective employers why you are the best person for the job.

“The key is how you position yourself to show you are a cut above in your area of expertise,” said Price Headley founder and chief analyst at BigTrends.com. If you’re new to the industry, Headley said that you need to show “that your passion will drive you further than any other.”

“I know we’re always looking for computer programmers who can help me code system ideas for testing to prove if certain theories have a trading edge,” said Headley. “I’d think such data-driven types will be in demand, but certainly there’s always a need for people with the knack for sales, marketing, operations and more.”

While Headley recognizes that the market has been recovering since it hit bottom in 2009, “we’re cautious that we’re closing to the top of a decade-long trading range than the bottom.”

“I think after the presidential election we may see more downside risk in 2013 and 2014,” he said. “But there will always be swings both up and down.”

Don’t Fear, Persevere

Job seekers might not be entirely happy with banks or anyone else on Wall Street that continues to layoff their employees. “But that shouldn’t slow any committed individual from pursuing opportunities,” said Headley. “It’s just going to take some time for Wall Street. The upcoming presidential election and potential tax reform are important catalysts to watch.”

Passion and Purpose

Before getting started, Headley said that the first thing job seekers should do is learn as much as they can. “Educate yourself first,” Headley recommended. “Learn about the marketplace, what types of opportunities exist.”

Next, “Define what your strengths are and what job areas would provide the best fit for your unique talents.”

“Post plenty of resumes, but make sure you have an attention-grabber,” Headley insists. “It could be in the resume, but often for me I’ll look to the cover letter. The thing [to] look for is a sense of passion and purpose from an application, someone who will go the extra mile as needed.”

Further, Headley said that you should “hit the pavement.”

“Realize that you have to stand out, so try to get in front of people face-to-face,” he said.

Finally, Headley recommends that job seekers ask for referrals. “If you can go into quick meetings without any pressure of someone having to hire you, find out more about the industry and then ask who they would know that you could talk to further about your area of interest,” said Headley. “This networking effect is very powerful over time.”

Don’t be a Know-it-All

“I think the biggest turn-offs are know-it-alls,” said Headley. “I want to see someone not only sharing their story, but also asking questions about my business. Show [that] you did some research in advance. Look at the company website, the products, [and] ask about industry trends you researched. The more engaged you are in this back and forth [discussion], the more a potential employer can get excited about the prospects of working with you.”

“Just Stick With It”

If you’re not having much luck, don’t get discouraged. No matter what happens, you have to push on.

“Just stick with it,” Headley advises. “Never give up. I’m a Napoleon Hill fan (author of Think and Grow Rich, [a] must-read for any success-minded individual). He said many great things. I’ll quote one: ‘What the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.’”

Your Career Awaits

These days, job seekers have a million options. But there is only one place where they should turn: StreetID. We built StreetID (a financial career matchmaking website) from the ground up to accommodate Wall Street’s growing community of financial professionals. In good times and in bad, current job seekers and those looking to move on in the future can turn to StreetID and sign up for a free account and make a direct connection with relevant candidates and employers.

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