The Quest: Capitalize on What Works

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Throughout my job search I have been able to sustain a good activity level amid a fairly turbulent job market. I have managed to explore multiple alternatives and significantly expand my professional network.

By the middle of October I expected a response from an interesting job opportunity. However, the sequence of negative events in the financial markets then brought employers to a complete halt as far as hiring in my field. Still, my disappointment at not receiving the hoped-for offer is a small issue compared with the stress levels that investment professionals are going through in this period.

I will get my answer in time, even if it takes a little longer. When I talk to my friends currently engaged in managing portfolios, I realize how much this environment is testing their mettle. In contrast, I feel like I am on the bench waiting to enter the field. I'm confident that my fresh perspective and energy level will serve me well when I land my next role.

Retooling the Approach

As a result of the current turbulence, I decided to suspend my routine follow-up calls until the financial markets stabilize a bit. I also seized the chance to perform some research and identify a new set of potential employers for my next wave of search activities. To do this, I analyzed the companies with whom I had the most success to date, looking for common traits. Then I used those to identify new potential employers. I now have a short list of new companies that I will request information from, and may approach for potential networking.

My job search process is very similar to that of a company that over time learns to pinpoint its most receptive customers with great accuracy, so its marketing becomes more effective. I'll soon learn whether this strategy works.

This is a way for me to work creatively in my search, improving and learning from any positive feedback I receive from a prospective employer. Historically, in a very difficult environment it has served me well to focus on what works by keeping things simple. I feel this is the proper strategy at this stage to move my job search process forward.

James Weldon (a pseudonym) is a portfolio manager. This column details his strategy and tactics in searching for a new job after he was let go by the hedge fund group at a bulge bracket investment bank in New York.

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