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The one simple mistake that could crush your chances of clinching a banking job in Asia Pacific

A no-conviction CV

Are you applying for banking jobs based overseas – be they in Singapore, Sydney, London or New York – and are you continually failing to get a positive (or any) response from recruiters? There may be a simple reason for your lack of success, as I shall explain.

I have worked as a financial-markets headhunter for well over a decade, in London and now back home in Australia – and in both locations I’ve always been inundated with CVs from across the world. The one thing that strikes me about these candidates (for example, Western bankers looking for work in Asia Pacific) is that so many of them think an international move will “just happen”.

The problem typically lies not in their skills and experience, but in their desire to move to a foreign financial centre. They fall at the first hurdle by not telling me why they want to work in the city where the job is based.

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Let me give you one example from a Sydney-based buy-side equities job I worked on recently. I was impressed by the quality of the CVs I received – more than 40% of the 80-plus applicants were from global funds and bulge-bracket banks based all over the world. But whether these foreign candidates were from London, New York or Frankfurt, not one of them bothered to attach a covering letter or write a brief paragraph stating: “I am seeking a role in Australia because...".

Have you ever applied for an overseas job without even offering an explanation to justify your move? If so, why? Are you lazy? Are you so arrogant that you think an international relocation will just happen? Or are you a mediocre candidate, endlessly applying for jobs in the hope that eventually some recruiter or financial institution will happen to like the look of your CV?

Whatever the reason, if you are serious about a global career, you have to change your mindset. Like it or not, you have to play by the rules set by recruiters and hiring managers, who invariably treat overseas applications differently from local ones.

As an overseas candidate, you first need to work out why you want to leave your current city. Then instead of spamming your CV globally – identify exactly where in the world you wish to work.

When you’ve done that, but before you contact recruiters, research that country’s visa process and familiarise yourself with its investment markets and job market. For example, if you work on the buy-side, understand which financial centres have the investment activities that you are seeking and research the highest-performing funds.

Once you properly understand your desired location, you will be far better able to apply with conviction and recruiters will treat you more seriously. Instead of just sending your CV, take time to explain your story. What visa processes have you already fulfilled? How long do you plan to stay? Perhaps add some personal and/or family reasons for the relocation plans, if they complement your professional rationale.

In summary, if you are going to apply for overseas career opportunities, at least show some conviction in your application.

Warwick Peel is the managing director of Search360 in Melbourne.


AUTHORWarwick Peel, Search360 Insider Comment
  • ca
    20 May 2014

    Local skills/connections is just one thing. The key element is to identify the right person and do the right thing. In general, trust and loyalty are necessary for a long-term business relationship, hard to practice though.

  • Ge
    Get Real
    28 February 2014

    To job seekers from anywhere , seeking jobs in australia. Get real, please if you have no local experience no matter what high flyer organisation, the chances of landing a job is next to nothing, Your best bet is to secure a transfer from HO to a position in an Oz offshoot. If you don t have that connection be prepared to do time as cab driver until the job market becomes tight again which is unlikely given the massive economic restructuring woes the country is now undergoing.

    Please don t come if you don t have local skills or connections to get you by. Australia does not have open doors like HK or Singapore

  • Nu
    27 February 2014

    Good Advise for every one who is searching globle JOBs

  • ZX
    ZX Khoo
    27 February 2014

    I have had a lots of applications for a job in Australia turned down despite clearly stating that I have a skilled migrant visa, and that I am seeking to live and work in [Sydney/Brisbane, etc] as my extended family has been living in Australia for some years now, and I am seeking to join them with my own family. The wall of having no Australian experience remains steadfastly against our faces.

  • di
    27 February 2014

    All well and good, but another angle is the fact that recruiters couldn't be bothered following things up.
    I had a call from a firm for a specific job great chat, JD was sent down for closer look at job specs, along with a request to let them know when we could talk again.
    Advised times I was available and confirmed interest in the role and silence.
    2 weeks later after a couple of messages I got another email asking when we could talk. Again advised times. Again silence.
    Personally I think recruiters are worse than used car salesmen, their biggest issue is they forget that the candidates will eventually be hiring people - who do they think will get their business.

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