You thought you’d be a Research Analyst; making projections and evaluating balance sheets. But before you knew it, campus placements were over. You got stuck with a job – selling Mutual Funds for a brokerage!
Firstly, this is the story of at least half the finance MBAs, of your profile. Secondly, campus hiring is not the only one of your options. You still have the time AND the opportunity, to get that finance job through off-campus placements!
Here are some powerful tips that will aid you in your off-campus efforts.
1. Make a list of prospective companies:
The main opportunities for off-campus placements in finance are in:
- Equity Research – Brokerages and KPOs
- Credit Analysis – NBFCs and HFCs (Lots of new companies here)
- Investment Banking KPOs
So, make a list of the top 10 companies in one or more of the above areas. Not necessarily the ten largest. Choose the small or mid-sized ones. They often don’t have large campus hiring programs and hence are open to recruting freshers off-campus.
Plus, since you won’t be just restricted to a very specific task in small and mid-sized companies, your experience here will be invaluable.
2. Strengthen your CV:
You’re now not bound by campus rules, so tweak your CV, to reflect the skill sets, that the role would require. You must add a great internship and/or a certification, in the relevant area. Look for something you can do in about 3-4 weeks. A short, recognized online course, with a certification is a great idea.
For more information on how to choose a good certification program, you can refer to the following article: How to choose the Best certification program for you?
3. Make a separate cover note for each company:
“Every time I see those standard LinkedIn/ Job site cover notes, I just reject the application”
– Recruiting Manager of a leading Financial group.
Always prepare a customized note for each role you apply. The note should be brief, with 3-4 lines on:
a. Why you’re interested in the role? (sincerely, NO CUT PASTE),
b. What extra initiative or effort you’ve taken that shows you’re keen in that area?
c. Any highlights of your CV (ranks, awards, extra currics).
At the end, ask politely, for at least a Skype interview.
4. Leverage LinkedIn to apply for jobs:
LinkedIn is one of the most effective platforms to get into finance via off-campus placements. This of course means ensuring a good LinkedIn profile first. A professional picture (not one of you posing for the catwalk or on holiday) and relevant highlights are crucial elements of your profile.
DON’T make the mistake of putting tit-for-tat batchmate recommendations! Get them from your SIP guide, faculty, etc.
Now, look for the relevant business heads in the companies you’ve shortlisted. NOT the HR or Recruitment Heads.
Why? A Recruitment Head is swamped with CVs and yours is one among hundreds, or even thousands. An HR Head will just forward it to the Recruitment Head!
On the other hand, a business head (for example, the Research Head of a Brokerage, or a KPO like Evalueserve or Valuenotes), may actually say, “hey, this profile looks good!” and ensure an interview.
You can either write to them on LinkedIn directly –the Inmail option is worth investing in – or derive their work email, and write on that. How do you ‘derive’? Just visit the website of the company, and if it’s listed, under the ‘investors’ tab, you’ll find some email contacts. If they’re for example, in the format ‘email@example.com’, then since you have the first & last names of the business heads, you can derive the email IDs.
5. Maintain a dossier:
Make a soft copy folder for each company. Update news items. Update key stats/people. Any key happenings in that industry. The knowledge built up over weeks and months, will really help rather than a panicked night a day before an interview.
You owe it to yourself, to explore the opportunities available to you. Go for it! Act on these tips and you will have a good job in hand in no time.