Our Top Stories of 2006

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At this time of year, people are focused on getting their breaths, taking stock, mulling their bonuses - real or imagined. It's a natural time to consider goals for the new year and make your plans to achieve them. With that in mind, we gathered our favorite stories from 2006, with hopes you'll put some of these ideas to use in 2007.

Career Strategies

Position Yourself for a New Job - Discreetly

Leading executive recruiters say financial professionals can gain an inside track for plum jobs through a proactive approach that includes regular networking, researching potential employers, working selectively with recruiters and undertaking projects that will broaden your skills. All of these activities, they point out, can be pursued without signaling an interest in leaving one firm for another.

A Static Network Can Be Dangerous To Your Career

They say it's good to have friends in high places. And yet many on Wall Street - particularly women and minorities - spend most of their time with people just like themselves.

How To Develop A Relationship With A Recruiter

Even if you possess a world-class rolodex, you may not have a direct link to the manager who's doing the hiring for your next job. Often, the gatekeeper - the intermediary between that job and the key decision maker - is a recruiter.

On-The-Job Challenges

Communicating is Important. Here's Why

We hear it again and again: Finance isn't all about numbers. It's about communications, too, whether you're developing client relationships, pitching new business or working with colleagues on the trading floor. Here, Petter Wendel, chief financial officer of Greystone & Co., shares lessons he's learned about communicating and relationship-building.

Use Facts to Deal with an Unreasonable Boss

Have a difficult boss? Calm and facts can help you cope with uncomfortable situations.

Diversity

Women, Minorities Lag In Executive Ranks

Women and minorities continue to lag in reaching the management ranks of large financial firms, according to a report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "This report shows that we still have some ways to go," EEOC Chair Cari Dominguez said. "The report found that women of all races and backgrounds advance more slowly as they climb up the career ladder."

Is Rank And File Skeptical Of Diversity Efforts?

Almost 68 percent of the eFinancialCareers users who responded to a snap poll said their company is "not really" serious about diversity. But while acknowledging the industry isn't where it wants to be, the Securities Industry Association says firms are making real progress toward increasing the diversity of their workforces.

Breaking Into Trading's Insular World

Whether acting as a floor trader handling options, or working the desk on the retail side for an investment firm, a trader's job certainly has allure. However, for women and people of color, breaking into this insular world can be particularly difficult.

Trends

More Firms Edge into Restructuring

The number of companies whose debt has fallen from investment to speculative grade is outpacing the number of firms whose debt ratings are improving, says Standard & Poor's. And though some say no overt signs of weakness are evident in the market, a number of firms seem to be positioning themselves for a downturn.

Boutiques Push Beyond Traditional Limits

The big winners in today's mergers & acquisitions environment are the 30 or so regional and boutique investment banks who focus on middle-market advisory work and private investment. They've been growing rapidly, some of them "stretching the definition of boutique," in the words of Investment Dealers' Digest.

Hedge Funds Seek Talent In Fundamentals

Hedge funds are seeking candidates with experience in fundamental analysis to help them develop initiatives in private equity and venture capital. While it's not new for investment bakers to migrate to hedge funds, recruiters say the funds' interest in candidates with investment banking or private equity backgrounds is notable.

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