Five Books to Help You Get Hired in Financial Services

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With many predicting significant job losses in the banking sector, it may be time to get out of your comfort zone. Here are some reading recommendations that might help you land a new job.

The New Geography of Jobs

Start by looking for your same job in another place. Your current location may be shedding jobs for reasons that are not immediately apparent. University of California-Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti explains in The New Geography of Jobs (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012) that you really do have to follow the global shifts in job creation. He has found that “at the same time that American communities are desegregating racially, they are becoming more segregated in terms of schooling and earnings.” It is the same story around the globe. Look for thriving “brain hubs” that have managed to produce clusters of innovative companies. You may not want to work for the innovator, but that company is generating a wide variety of business-related jobs for the surrounding area. He provides helpful maps that include patents per capita and average life expectancy.

The Little Book of Hedge Funds

Then look for work in related industries. Although the hedge fund industry has taken its knocks, it is soldiering on despite punishing markets and the relentless march toward more regulation and greater transparency. The Little Book of Hedge Funds: What You Need to Know About Hedge Funds But the Managers Won’t Tell You (John Wiley & Sons, 2012) by Anthony Scaramucci of SkyBridge Capital can give you a road map to hedge funds and includes an intelligent discussion on where the industry is heading. Scaramucci is the founder and managing partner of SkyBridge Capital, which hosts the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference (SALT). He knows the industry inside out and has some valuable advice for anyone who is thinking about hedge funds as a career. Don’t miss his “Due Diligence Questionnaire” for what to assess when you are looking at a particular asset manager.

How to Make Money with Junk Bonds

One of the less dismal sectors of the market this year has been high yield bonds, which means it may be generating jobs rather than shedding them. Old pro Robert Levine has penned an admirably lucid guide to a field that one top financial editor, who will remain unnamed, told me “you have to be crazy to understand bonds.” Though it is quite true that price and yield of the same bond run in opposite directions, How to Make Money with Junk Bonds (McGraw-Hill, 2012) assures that the bond market isn’t the murky, scary place it used to be. Information is easier and cheaper to get in a timely way. He shines a bright light on the world of corporate debt, moles and all. This is from one who really knows: Levine is founding president of Kidder Peabody High Yield Asset Management and founder of Nomura Corporate Research.

Rigged Money: Beating Wall Street at its Own Game

If you are thinking about becoming a financial advisor or even investing your way to financial freedom, pick up Rigged Money: Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game (John Wiley & Sons) by Lee Munson, a former trader who pulls the curtain on fund fees and high frequency trading among other obscure ways that Wall Street collects your money. He takes on gold and dividends, while providing tips on how to truly diversify your portfolio in a highly correlated world. The financial Web sites listed and the Future Reading List are especially helpful.

The 2-Hour Job Search

Last but hardly least is The 2-Hour Job Search: Using Technology to Get the Right Job Faster (Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, 2012) by Steve Dalton, a senior career consultant at Duke's Fuqua School of Business who has also worked for General Mills and A.T. Kearney. Dalton essentially provides the book form of presentations he has given at business schools. It details how to use databases and contacts to speed up your job search even though technology has complicated the task by making it easier for everyone to inundate employers. Get ready to breakout the Excel. Dalton urges readers to use spreadsheets to prioritize their targets and any contacts they have to raise the chances of landing a gig. He has very useful tips on crafting a cover letter that will elicit a response. Go for it.

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