Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 3 of 3

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 3 of 3

Question Category: Technical Competence

This is the third in a series of posts about how to best answer interview questions for financial analyst jobs, based on question categories: Education and Work Experience; Goals and Company Knowledge; and Technical Competence.

In the first two posts of this series, we discussed financial analyst interview questions you should expect to tackle in the categories of Education and Work Experience (part one) and Goals and Company Knowledge (part two). To wrap up the series, we will conclude with the category of Technical Competence.

As we mentioned in the earlier posts, interview preparation is key if you want to stand out as the best candidate for the job and advance your finance career. A seasoned interviewer will notice immediately if you are not prepared. Whether you are applying for an entry-level finance position or have a few years of work experience under you belt, do your homework.

Here are some of the questions regarding technical competence that you could face during your interview, along with some tips on how to approach them.

Technical Competence Questions

The interviewer will ask specific questions pertaining to finance terms, methodologies and your industry knowledge. Further, he or she will want to hear how your past experience (work experience, course work, industry involvement, etc.) has prepared you for the job duties at hand and which tools you have used. Some potential questions may include:

General Finance Questions

- What is EBITDA and how does it figure into revenues?

- What is a DCF analysis and can you walk me through how it works?

- What is EVA and in what scenarios would you use it?

- How do you define cash flow?

- What steps would you take to determine a company’s cash flow?

- When would you use a ratio analysis?

- How would you define present value analysis?

- What is a capital market and how does the concept apply to our clientele?

- What methods would you use to value a company?

- Can you explain in which scenarios you would use marginal costing, standard costing and activity-based costing?

- Which profitability models do you find the most accurate for forecasting?

- What impact can accounts receivable and inventory levels have on an income statement?

Questions Regarding Your Experience

- What quantitative coursework did you complete in college?

- Can you describe in detail a case study you completed in school, how you approached it and how the results would inform how you would approach this job?

- What software programs have you used for financial analysis?

- What types of charts and reports are you comfortable creating?

- Can you share a scenario (course work or real) where a company’s credit risk figured prominently into a financial analysis you performed?

- What stocks do you follow and why?

- Can you explain a financial analysis recommendation that you later regretted and what you learned from the experience?

- On a scale from one to 10, how would you rate your technical writing ability?

The interviewer is trying to: find out if you are well-versed in key financial terms and methodologies; learn how much experience you have making financial analysis decisions based on quantifiable tools and theories; get a grasp on how you approach a project; and determine how capable you are at formulating a recommendation based on the data and intelligence you uncover.

Prepare yourself for this series of questions by doing a thorough review of your past course work, case studies and job experience – essentially take a walk down memory lane. Refresh your knowledge of the different skills and methodologies you used, and think about how they would apply to the type of financial recommendations you would need to make if this specific company hired you.

The job description will help you focus in on the areas of expertise that the interviewer is hoping to find in a candidate, so review it closely and be prepared to address how you can excel at handling the specific duties and objectives listed.

There is no doubt that you will encounter a number of questions in your financial analyst interview that we didn’t cover in this series of posts. As we’ve said throughout, if you take the time in preparing for an interview and research the top companies on your list, you can increase your odds of standing out in this competitive job market.

Doostang strives to offer helpful insight here on our blog and offers a number of other great tools for recent finance grads and MBAs. Visit our website to learn more and search for the top financial analyst jobs, today.

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Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 2 of 3

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 2 of 3

Question Categories: Goals and Company Knowledge

This is the second in a series of posts about how to best answer interview questions for financial analyst jobs, based on question categories: Education and Work Experience; Goals and Company Knowledge; and Technical Competence.

In the first post of this series we discussed how to answer financial analyst interview questions based on the categories Education and Work Experience. As with the first post, we’ll share some of the questions you might expect in the categories of Goals and Company Knowledge, along some tips on how to approach the answers so you make a great impression.

As we mentioned last time, if you want to make it past the first interview, you must take time in preparing for an interview and practice answering frequently asked interview questions. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will feel. So do the prep work and practice hard if you want to stand out.

Interview Questions to Expect by Category

Here are some of the questions you will likely be asked during your interview, along with some tips on how to approach questions about your goals and your company knowledge.

Goal Questions

The interviewer will ask questions about your finance career goals as they pertain to the financial analyst position you are trying to secure, as well as your goals for the future. Some potential questions may include:

- What are your short- and long-term goals in this financial analyst position?

- Where do you hope your finance career takes you in the next five years?

- How much money do you expect to earn in the next five years and 10 years?

- How can your personal career goals help our company achieve its goals?

The interviewer is trying to determine if you are a good fit for their organization based on where you are today and where you intend to be five and 10 years from now. The type of work you hope to do as well as the amount of money you hope to earn should align with what the position in question allows. He or she is also trying to learn how much you know about the company’s goals (more about this in the next section) and if your experience and desire will benefit the company.

Prepare yourself for this series of questions by researching the roles of the financial analysts who currently work at the company. Try to speak with someone who works at the organization and has an understanding of the financial analyst roles, goals and responsibilities to gain some insight. Otherwise review the job description closely, and tailor your answers to align with the duties outlined there.

You can also review the profiles of financial analysts who work at the firm (now or in the past) on LinkedIn to see if there are any consistencies across backgrounds and experience, and highlight any of those qualities that you also offer. Earnings information is pretty easily found online or through word of mouth.

Company Knowledge Questions

The interviewer will ask you questions that are specific to the company to which you are applying. Topics can range from specific stats and history to how your background aligns with the organization’s goals. Some potential questions may include:

- Why did you apply for a position with this organization?

- Why would you like to work for us?

- Can you tell me what you know about our company?

- What qualities do you have that make you a better hire for our company than your competition?

- What experience or knowledge do you bring to the table that will help our company improve or grow?

- What challenges do you expect to experience in this company’s financial analyst role?

The interviewer is trying to find out if you did your homework and took the time to research their organization. They are looking for people who will be passionate not only about the finance industry but the firm in particular. If you don’t show any specific knowledge about the company, its history, goals and challenges, the interviewer will likely write you off. And if you can’t show how you can contribute to the organization’s bottom line, consider that another strike against you.

Prepare for this series of questions by doing some good, solid research about the company and try to answer each of the aforementioned questions specifically. Read the company website from top to bottom, and look for the latest news about the organization and its key players online. Again, arranging to talk with people who work with the firm can really give you an edge. Do your homework.

You can read part one of the series here. Next up? We will address questions about your Technical Competence.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

How To Land the Highest Paying Finance Jobs on Wall Street

How to Land the HIghest Paying Jobs on Wall Street

If you plan to climb your way up the corporate ladder and secure one of the top paying finance jobs on Wall Street, be prepared to pay your dues. The most coveted Wall Street jobs typically require an MBA and several years of toiling away in the trenches.

There is no question that finance jobs can pay well, which is one of the main reasons people choose to pursue careers in finance. Even entry-level financial analysts can expect to start out well. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the 2010 median annual income for a financial analyst was close to $75,000.

For finance pros who hope to earn the big bucks – millions of dollars in salary and bonuses – the opportunities are better in finance than in many other fields. It still isn’t a piece of cake to land the highest paying finance jobs on Wall Street or elsewhere. If you do want to aim high, here are a few jobs you might consider along with some insight on what it takes to get hired.

Stockbroker

If you have a 4-year degree, competitive spirit, thick skin and excel at networking, a career as a stockbroker might be a good option for you. Your degree might get you in the door, but you’ll have to work hard and compete with hundreds of other brokers to get the most desirable, high-net-worth clients to utilize your services. Long-term success in the brokerage world relies on referrals, so you need to deliver great results for your clients in order for them to recommend people from their circle to you.

Head of Investment Banking Firm

Have you set your sights on the investment banking world and the big paychecks that come with it? Getting to the top of an I-bank isn’t a walk in the park. While entry-level investment banking jobs pay a decent wage to start – you can expect to make about $75,000 per year – you will need to have a top-tier MBA, do your time as a financial analyst (80 to 100 hours a week) and be a great networker to become a head of an I-bank. You will also need to be a stand out contributor in big-money deals, have strong accounting skills and be able to deal with egos and office politics to get the top investment banking jobs.

Chief Risk Officer

If you have a passion for risk management, actuarial work and your MBA in hand, the role of Chief Risk Officer could be your ticket to a big payday. The demand for experts in risk management has grown in recent years due to the economic collapse. Expect to spend your early finance career years doing actuary work (the median income level for actuaries was close to $90,000 in 2010 according to the BLS) and accumulate a decade or so of managerial experience before qualifying for this position. Excellent communication skills – verbal and written – are a must for Chief Risk Officers.

Mutual Fund Manager

Are you a team player who is willing to spend time in the trenches researching companies and fetching coffee? A career in mutual funds might be a good fit for you. Entry-level mutual fund analysts can expect to make a decent starting wage similar to other entry-level finance positions. Once you make your way on to a mutual fund management team, salaries in the low to mid six figures are common. Managing multi-billion dollar funds comes with a great deal of pressure, because a lot of people are relying on your decisions, so you’ll need to handle stress well. Mutual fund companies also prefer to promote from within, so you’ll want to avoid job-hopping to land the top-paying mutual fund jobs.

Finance Media Superstar

If you’re looking to see your name in lights – or on the TV screen – you could expect to make a good chunk of change in the finance world. According to Forbes, big names like Suze Orman and Jim Kramer can pull in $10 million to $20 million or more annually. In order to work your way up the media ranks, you’ll need to start with a journalism degree, and an MBA will help get you in the door at the top media networks – Bloomberg, ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox. Expect to spend several years working behind the scenes doing research and supporting other players before you get your chance in front of the camera and a book on the New York Times bestseller list.

Head of Mergers and Acquisitions

Like other finance careers, you’ll need to do your time as a financial analyst and have an MBA to be a top M&A earner. Expect to do the legwork, research and number-punching for a managing director then set your sites on an associate position at one of the top banks. You’ll need to advance your career from associate to VP to managing teams and hone your relationship building skills along the way if you hope to land a top job in mergers and acquisitions.

Big Money Means Hard Work and Time Invested

All of these finance jobs have several things in common, aside from the multi-million dollar paydays. If you want to secure a top job on Wall Street, you will need a great education, an MBA, years of experience working through the ranks and a strong network. If you hope to make your way to the top, expect to invest many years getting that top degree and working hard.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Resources:

“Occupational Outlook Handbook; Financial Occupations.” U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistics. 2012. Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

“Making It Big on Wall Street.” Forbes website; May 18, 2013. Available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2013/05/18/making-it-big-on-wall-street/. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

LaRoche, J. “Can’t be a CEO? Here are 9 Other Super High Paying Wall Street Jobs and What You Need to Do to Get Them.” Business Insider website; July 20, 2012. Available at  http://www.businessinsider.com/9-high-paying-wall-street-jobs-2012-7?op=1. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 1 of 3

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 1 of 3

Question Categories: Education and Work Experience

This is the first in a series of posts about how to best answer interview questions for financial analyst jobs, based on question categories: Education and Work Experience; Goals and Company Knowledge; and Technical Competence.

According to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 236,000 financial analyst jobs in 2010 in the U.S. The job outlook for those seeking positions as financial analysts is also promising, as BLS estimates there will be 23 percent more financial analyst jobs (54,200 positions) from 2010 to 2020.

While this all sounds great, you will still have to contend with stiff competition if you’re looking for a financial analyst position with one of the top Wall Street firms or in a niche industry where there are fewer desirable jobs available. Acing your financial analyst interview is a must if you want to come out on top. And in order to succeed, you must take time in preparing for an interview and practice answering frequently asked interview questions.

Interview Questions to Expect by Category

Here are some of the questions you will likely be asked during your interview, along with some tips on how to approach questions about your education and work experience.

Education Questions

The interviewer will ask you questions about your education, how you spent your time in college and why you chose to focus on finance. Some potential questions include:

- Why did you choose to major in finance (or related degree)?

- When did you know that finance was the right career path for you (and why)?

- How did you spend your time outside of the classroom during college (what did you do for fun, what extracurricular activities did you choose)?

The interviewer is trying to find out if you have a passion for the finance industry. They don’t want to hear about the parties you attended, so if you can tailor your answers to experiences that tie into finance-related activities, you’ll be set to impress – as long as your responses are genuine.

Prepare yourself for this series of questions by asking yourself how your interest for a career in finance revealed itself (a job, a class, a competition, an article, exposure to a thought leader, a game, etc.) to you and how you chose coursework, study groups, finance competitions and the like to enhance your knowledge and feed your passion for the world of finance.

Work Experience Questions

The interviewer will focus on your resume and ask questions about past jobs in general, other entry-level finance jobs, volunteer work, etc. Some potential questions may include:

- Of the jobs listed on your resume, in which position did you feel the most pressure and why? How did you deal with the pressure?

- Tell me about a scenario where you made a mistake or missed an important deadline and how you dealt with it.

- What was the biggest challenge you overcame in a past job and how did you resolve it?

- Which on-the-job duties or experiences have frustrated you the most?

- Why did you leave your last position?

The interviewer is trying to assess your attitude toward the job at hand and what skills you use to overcome challenges.

Prepare yourself for this series of questions by making a list of the key challenges you faced in your work life to date, then think about situations where you can share a positive outcome.

It’s OK to admit that you faced some tough challenges, and even made a small mistake. You just need to show how you turned things around quickly and what skills you learned from the experience.

Most of all, the interviewer is trying to see if you can handle the pressure and do so with a positive attitude. Avoid talking about negative experiences, unless you can show how you turned that negative into a positive.

In part two of this series, we will take on the categories of Goals and Company Knowledge.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Resources:

“Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Financial Analysts.” Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm. Accessed   Nov. 5, 2013.

How Your Career Can Benefit from a Professional Portfolio

professional portfolio

When you think of a portfolio, you usually think about career fields such as modeling, art and writing. However, it doesn’t stop there. Every professional, no matter if they work in the consulting field or the engineering field, can reap the benefits of the portfolio.

Creating a professional portfolio does not mean that you have to have the perfect looking template with visual images of your past work, but rather that you have taken the effort to show how you have been successful throughout your career. Whether you create a professional portfolio website and submit it with each job application, or you put together a sophisticated binder to present at certain times throughout your career, having a professional presentation of your work will help get you to where you want to be.

Your portfolio can also help you market yourself. While jobs can come and go, your portfolio remains constant. Your experience is what gets an employer to hire you, and a portfolio can back up the claims you make about your skills, accolades, certifications and experience. You are highlighting what you’re great at and offering it up for current and future employers to take advantage of.

It is inevitable that you will end up in the following scenarios throughout your career, and the time you put into making a portfolio will get you positive results:

Job interview

Career professionals stress that there’s no better place to provide proof of your experience, skills and knowledge then a job interview. Employers can look at your resume as a quick summary of who you are as a professional, but they look at your career portfolio for a depiction of each accomplishment you have had. While discussing your experience for each of your past positions, refer to your portfolio and show them exactly you contributed to the success. Everyone can say that they turned around a client’s sales numbers, but not everyone can show it, and you can prove that you can through your portfolio.

A great portfolio also gives off the impression that you are a candidate who is passionate about your career and motivated to succeed.

Reviews at current positions

A career portfolio is not only beneficial during your job search; it can also be useful during performance reviews at your current position. They provide you with a source to look back on to highlight how you have made a positive impact while at your position. You’ll be able to go beyond just saying that you’re a great asset to the team by being able to show and remind your employer that you’ve done certain things that have added to their success as a business.

Salaries and promotions

Often, one of the most uncomfortable parts of your career is when it comes time to negotiate a salary or asking for a promotion. In order to even be considered, many employers ask that you explain why you feel you deserve it, and that can be difficult when your heart is beating a thousand miles a minute and your mind is racing. Many people leave the meeting wishing they remembered to say certain things, but career portfolios prevent this from happening. By using your portfolio as a reference, you’ll be able to provide your employer with an endless amount of reasons as to why you should receive a certain salary, raise or promotion.

 

Making a career portfolio is one piece of advice that you shouldn’t ignore, and not having one may cause you to miss out on numerous opportunities throughout your entire career. Therefore, make your job search noticeably easier by backing up your claims with proof and showing that you are determined and motivated to excel at what you do.

 

How to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile to Improve your Job Search

linkedin optimizationLinkedIn has been a source, not only for job seekers, but also for an endless amount of recruiters using it to connect with potential candidates that they wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise. This social media platform for career development has helped numerous users land the job of their dreams that they may have always thought was unattainable.

You may already have a LinkedIn profile, but chances are you aren’t making those connections that you desire, and your profile isn’t getting the views you’d like. You may even find that you’re not ending up in recruiters’ search results.

LinkedIn has over 225 million users, meaning that there are likely hundreds of thousands of candidates who would be interested in the same position as you. Your chances of landing at the top of the list of candidates depends on how optimized your LinkedIn profile is. Everything from how often you put up a status to the content within your previous job descriptions factor into how well you show up in results.

Follow these LinkedIn profile tips to help you optimize your page and surpass your competition!

Simplicity is key

When it comes to your profile headline, keep it straight to the point. Adjectives that are used often, such as energetic, determined, motivated, etc., should be avoided because of the amount that people that use them within their own profile. It would be difficult to rank high in results when everyone else has the same descriptive words as you.

LinkedIn profiles can also easily be consumed with too much content; don’t let the work that you put into developing it goes to waste. The top optimized profiles don’t limit their possibilities. While you are happy with your VP title, consider leaving it out to help you broaden your range of options.

Don’t make the summary an essay

When recruiters or companies are looking at LinkedIn profiles, their goal is to be able to quickly read over the summary and immediately understand the basis of your knowledge and experience. They do not have the time to read a summary that is more like an essay about every single aspect of your career.

They are more interested in the skills section of your page. Be sure to highlight them in the summary, but you shouldn’t delve into them in great detail because you don’t want to lose their interest.

Don’t overload the content with keywords

If you are familiar with search engine optimization, you’re aware of the fact that keywords that are mentioned throughout a page help it gain a high ranking within search engines. However, in order to optimize LinkedIn profiles, you have to be careful not to overdo it. Use free keyword search tools such as the Google Keyword Tool to help you determine which terms you should use throughout your content. Spread them out and include them in the summary and bullet points regarding your skills. Using two or three different keywords, mention them about two times each throughout your profile in over to avoid repetition and overwhelming the search engine.

Get your name out there

The best LinkedIn profiles are constantly updated by their owner with fresh and original content to help build awareness of their name and work in the industry. For example, if you are passionate about your industry, then take the time to write blogs or articles about industry news and post them on LinkedIn. Include them in your status, as well as in groups that focus on the topic.

Also, remember to put a link that goes to your profile within the articles. This will help optimize your page further and increase your reach among professionals in your industry.

Accept connections and join groups

Whether you know the professional or not, it is important to accept the invitation to connect, unless you feel uncomfortable doing so. LinkedIn profiles are meant to help exhibit your skills so that you can build more connections and help you get to where you want to be within your career. Another great LinkedIn profile tip is to utilize opportunities to connect with everyone you can in your industry, as you never know who can help you land your dream job. Also, connections help you show up among recruiters’ searches if you end up being connected to someone within the company looking to fill a position.

The plethora of groups that you can join within your industry gives you an extra leg up on your competition. The LinkedIn profiles that are viewed the most are the ones that make their presence known throughout many platforms. Therefore, join discussion boards, be the source of information for the other users and always talk about recent news and events within your industry.

 

Optimizing LinkedIn profiles goes beyond including keywords in the content―you have to do the work outside of that. Remember to consistently update your page and avoid narrowing your page down too much to the point where you don’t show up on results. Recruiters appreciate when LinkedIn profiles are filled with useful information that displays skills and knowledge, while not being too overwhelming.

 

8 Tips to Master The Art of a Winning Handshake

 

Ah, the handshake. A simple social grace toward which thousands of articles and seminars have devoted countless efforts deconstructing, analyzing, and perfecting. And yet, the notion of the “ideal” greeting seems to vary across the board. Some advocate a tight grip, a slight squeeze of the elbow, a flick of the wrist…alas, you may feel as though you are mastering sleight of hand in the end. Bear in mind, however, that all tricky, crafted handshakes aim only to appear simple, personable, and to the point.

So it is with this in mind that we distill for you a few basic tips to ensure you will confront your interviewer with a winning handshake to match your winning self.

1. Make a Strong First Impression

A handshake is part of a first impression. You get one shot. No do over’s on this one – if you creepily go in for the other guy’s hand again, you may inspire alarm. The handshake is a chance for you to connect with someone the moment of your very first encounter. Use this to your advantage. A handshake can at once be warm and friendly, which sets a great tone for the rest of your meeting.

2. Find a Happy Medium

What if someone asked you to stick your hand in a vice? Would you do it? Unless you’re being surly, the answer is likely “No”. So please, avoid extending the death grip toward your unsuspecting interviewer. A handshake shouldn’t be a show of bravado. Likewise, don’t be a wet noodle. Weak, floaty handshakes are awkward, and leave the person on the other end of them hesitant to make the next move for fear that they might break you. A good handshake is one that is firm without causing pain. Relaxed and snug. You get the idea.

3. Don’t Sweat It

Offering up a clammy hand may ruin an otherwise masterful handshake. A handshake should be over when it ends, not stick around with your sweat. Make sure your hand is clean and dry when you are introducing yourself to someone. If you tend to perspire when you’re nervous, keep a tissue or a handkerchief in your pocket.

4. Calm with the Palm

A solid handshake should last for about two to three shakes. After that, it can feel like manhandling. Don’t let your companion imagine that they’re holding onto an old school generator.

5. Eye Contact

Another simple rule: eyes meet with the eyes, and hand meets with the hand. Looking a person in the eye exudes confidence and is much more respectful. Avoid looking down at the other person’s hand while you go in for the shake – it comes off as insecure. This may seem like a tricky dance, but if you practice with a friend, you’ll have the steps and coordination down in no time.

6. Say Hello

There’s nothing worse than dead silence when you go in for a handshake. A handshake is a greeting, so greet the person with a friendly, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.” Top off the routine by showing off your pearly whites.

7. Show Initiative

When you walk up to meet with an interviewer, extend your hand first. This shows that you are poised and ready to take action. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t make the overture, but never show hesitation when shaking hands. The gesture should be friendly and comfortable.

8. Seal the Deal

You walked in, made eye contact, smiled, said “Hello”, and executed an all-around wicked handshake. Now you get to do it all over again! (And you thought it was all over…) When you excuse yourself from another’s company, make sure to shake hands one more time. The great thing about handshakes is that they’re so versatile. Perfect for many a situation, and just as appropriate for a farewell as a greeting. A departing handshake reaffirms the kinship that you established with the other person, and serves as a final signing off.

And, once your hand is free from the clutches of another, don’t forget to wave goodbye!

6 Tips for Landing a New Job

Job searches can feel contradictory and confusing at times as you try to cover all the bases while simultaneously targeting a specific industry. In these tough economic times innovation is often necessary to land a job.  At the same time, you don’t want to be seen as too far removed from the mainstream when trying new approaches.  Balance is helpful in strategies and personal responses throughout the ups and downs of a challenging job search.

1.  Target Large and Small Companies

Don’t just pander to the Fortune 500 companies in your job search. As most economists note, small and mid-sized businesses do most of the hiring. Maintain a balance of the large companies and smaller regional businesses in your targeted job search.

2.  Consider a Temporary Position

Taking a temporary position doesn’t mean you will always be in a temporary slot.  The contacts may lead to full-time employment or another project with other businesses by further expanding your network.  Temporary positions can also lead to full-time positions, depending on your performance record and personal relationships while in the position.  Act like a full-timer in terms of big-picture planning and personal investment, and you’re likely to find yourself in that full-time position.

3.  Pursue an Internship

If you are interested in a career shift, consider an internship. These positions are no longer just for those finishing up college. Internships now accept established professionals who want to make a significant change in career direction. And an internship – at any stage in one’s career – serves the same purposes.  The internship will help you make contacts while you establish a skill set in a new industry.

4.  Follow up Judiciously

If you have posted your resume on a job site, be certain to follow up. Check email carefully for related job postings or additional leads. Cold call new prospects and conduct appropriate follow-ups. But remember the fine balance between being persistent and being a pest.  Anxiety or desperation about your job search can be conveyed in following up too frequently, appearing too eager or asking too many questions about the projected time-frame for interviews and hiring. Your best business suit is your confidence.

5.  Adjust Your Expectations

Balance your expectations with the reality of the job market. You may be ready to move into an upper management position, but find those jobs are unavailable. Look at the demographics of those currently in the job you desire. In many companies, those positions are held by folks who may have weathered the recent downturn and could be looking toward retirement over the next few years. Although it is hard to be patient and you may certainly feel you are over-qualified for a lower-level position, it can be important to simply get into the organization.  Once you have been accepted as part of the team, it is likely that you can move up quickly and perhaps that plum position will open up sooner than you anticipate. Moving into key positions is often more likely to occur from within the organization, so place yourself in a position to take advantage of eventual opportunity.

6.  Balance Traditional and Emerging Job Search Strategies

Networking is a tried and true method, but it doesn’t always have to be face-to-face.  Use social networking sites – appropriately – for your job search.  Professionally oriented sites such as LinkedIn provide a great place to start, but be sure to clean up questionable postings on Facebook to improve your chances in a competitive job market.

Dream big and balance your expectations with the economic reality. Maintaining a healthy combination in your approach and attitude will move you toward your ultimate career goals!  Balance is the key to your interactions, plans, and attitude in creating a successful search and landing that job!

Author: Alesia Benedict

4 Steps to Secure Your New Job

 

Shifting the focus of your resume can make a more powerful impact on hiring managers. A positive new attitude can help open doors to a new job. Try the following few simple steps:

1.  Focus on Accomplishments

A strong resume highlights accomplishments.  It can be easy to forget achievements if you have not included them in past resumes or kept a separate file. Build your confidence by brainstorming positive results you achieved in past positions.

Give yourself time for this activity and think about what you can measure.  For example, what did you produce for your last employer? Not every industry will have sales numbers, but perhaps you managed the United Way Campaign more successfully than prior leaders. How many junior associates did you coach toward promotion?

You may need to “think outside the box” to identify tangible results of your skills and talents.  Once you have your list, add those accomplishments to your resume. Now tell potential employers how your skills will transfer to their environment and benefit the bottom line!

2.  Target your Industry

The target for your job search may be different from what you have done in the past. As a result, you may have a broad range of skills or a diverse professional background.  This can be a strength or a detriment, depending on how you present yourself.  Research basic skills expected for a candidate in the position in which you are interested. Then expand to the next level by identifying qualities that define an outstanding professional in your target field. Next begin matching your work history with the basic and expanded skills in the new industry.

Look for common skills in your background that will be an asset in the industry where you are currently targeting your efforts.  Broad experience may help if you are working with a diverse clientele, such as in sales or healthcare.  Re-frame your wide-ranging experience as strengths rather than a lack of focus or inconsistency in job history.  Finding that common thread will provide insight into your values, and believe it or not, employers are definitely interested in candidates who share their values in support of the corporate mission.

3.  Keywords

Keywords are critical in any job search today; not only for capturing the attention of hiring managers, but also in rising to the top of electronic searches. Translate your skills into just a few buzz words that are likely to get attention. Use powerful language in your resume by selecting descriptors that capture your strengths!

Research companies of interest to you. Most corporate websites will include a mission statement, and perhaps a description of their community involvement.  Not only can you mirror the language of the vision statement in your own resume and cover letter, but you may also discover opportunities to network informally with staffers and executives involved in community campaigns.

4.  Practice your Attitude

Job searches are challenging and can wear down the most positive of attitudes. Change is difficult, but don’t let it get you down. Pessimism never landed anyone a job!

Enlist family or friends to practice your elevator speech and interview skills.  The more you repeat these brief descriptions of your strongest skills and values, the more comfortable you will be in an interview or networking situation.  Don’t just save it for the interview. You never know who you may bump into in the corporate lobby or on the way to HR. Everyone in the corporate environment is a potential advocate for you in the hiring game!

Project enthusiasm into your networking and resume. A fresh year coupled with fresh perspective may give you just the boost you need to energize your search and re-organize your resume. Use your research skills to match your experience with the companies in which you are interested. Re-package your skills, rev up your job search, and then get ready to listen for opportunity’s knock!

 


Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC)

6 Great Tips to Landing an Interview

 

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The emphasis for most job seekers is on how to clearly communicate strengths to the potential employer.  While that is critical, the way in which you focus on skills, experiences, and talents has to appeal to the needs of the hiring manager and corporation in order to get an interview.  One of the most productive strategies to facilitate this “match” between you and the company is to do a little background research.

1) Research the Company

Use the Internet and local resources to find out all you can about the organization.  Most communities have a business section of the newspaper or perhaps a separate publication. The Chamber of Commerce may also have company profiles.  It’s not just major corporations you want to investigate; it can also be helpful to analyze changes among small, local businesses.  Which ones may be expanding? Which ones are on the decline?  Target your energy toward those most likely to render positive results.

2) Local Networking

Expand your research to look for networking opportunities.  Most papers continue to have local news about social events and the “movers and shakers” in attendance.  Perhaps there are some opportunities for you to become involved in the same organizations and meet these individuals outside the office.  Most sources still report that networking continues to be a job-seeker’s strongest key to opening employment doors.

3) Cold-Calling

Okay, you’ve identified the best potential prospects within your target market.  Now, you must get ready to start calling.  Be organized. Rank your contact list from those companies that are most appealing to those that are least interesting.  Include phone numbers, email, snail mail, and the identified contact person.  Set it up like a log so you can keep notes about conversations, such as the day you called, the outcome, and any follow-up plan.  You don’t want to appear disorganized by calling the same person within a couple of weeks!

Prepare a script for phone calls, including your selling points, but more specifically, have responses ready for potential objections. That’s the beauty of phones – no one can see you’re referring to your notes.

Typical examples of objections include:

“I’m very busy” or “We’re not hiring”…

I understand, however, in researching your organization, I feel I can positively impact your bottom line perhaps without the investment of a salaried position, at least at the outset.  May I send a proposal?

“You need to talk to HR”…

Whom should I contact? I’m happy to provide a resume and an outline of my proposals to improve sales or maximize employee productivity to keep on file.

4) Dropping by

Take a resume and a brief bio of your highlights that align most closely with the organization’s current mission.  Here is where your research pays off.  Brainstorming about potential special projects or ways your unique skill set can benefit the company’s new direction can set you apart.  This approach is an expansion of old ideas about cover letters – showing the company you have gone beyond just “doing your homework” to actually envisioning yourself within their corporate mission.  Companies typically need people with vision and initiative, and they will take notice.

Don’t try to make an impression by leaving your glossy 8×10 headshot, using fancy fonts, and colored paper.  Take a professional approach. Attach your business card and make certain you use your best contact information – which means staying away from anything related to a current place of employment or an informal email address.  Include your bio or project proposals.

5) What is your brand?

Think of yourself as a product. What are you trying to “sell” to the employer? What is it about your “brand” that can optimize the company’s bottom line?  These are points to emphasize in any brief contact you have with the organization.  This can be the brief bio you provide, a voice mail, or an email message, all of which should contain a consistent message about strengths, skills, or that special project you are offering. This is not a time to be secretive, coy, or too concerned about proprietary rights.  If you have a great idea and the company actually usurps it, you have dated documentation of when you provided this to the company.  In that event, you have a very different scenario on your hands.  What you want to focus on is your initiative and willingness to be a team player even before you become a part of the team.  Hopefully, you can lessen the odds of any negative outcome by conducting thorough research that includes some information about the company’s ethics, relationships with staff, and orientation toward innovation and intellectual property.

6) Stay Positive

Keeping up your energy level and a positive attitude are important aspects of your job search, though a bit less tangible.  Be aware of the energy you project when you enter a room.  Even though it can be easy to slip into the doldrums if you have not been able to achieve the results you want as quickly as you would like, it is critical that you maintain a positive attitude.  Perhaps doing research about the company has energized you about new possibilities.  Remember to keep up your exercise program, leisure activities, and friendships for rejuvenation.

Your positive attitude is the strongest asset you can display to potential employers.  If contacts at your target organizations remember their interactions with you in a positive way, you are more likely to get a return call.  Do your research and put your plan in motion to get that interview!

Private Equity Research Associate

Financial Analyst / Associate

Fund Analyst

Investment Banking Associate

Financial Analyst

Venture Capital Analyst

Find Local Jobs In Your Area

Author: Alesia Benedic