How to uncover hidden job opportunities on Wall Street

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Most financial services jobs don’t get widely publicized. Here are tips for uncovering hidden job opportunities on Wall Street that you won’t find advertised.

Ask for information and introductions from your network

It is just like when you need someone to fix your air-conditioner – before you go to Yelp to get a repair-person who you don’t know, you ask your friends and neighbors for a referral, said Peter Laughter, the CEO of Wall Street Services. Most managers do the same.

Also, companies put an emphasis on employee referrals.

“If you are looking for hidden job opportunities, reach out to your friends who work at that company,” Laughter said. “Often there is an internal job board that only employees have access to. Many larger companies offer internal employees a referral bonus so it is quite possible that your friend will benefit from passing your resume along,” he said.

Explore every avenue to job opportunities on Wall Street

Matt Walden, managing partner of Infinity Consulting Solutions, recommends a well-rounded strategy for any job seeker, which includes contacting friends, family and close connections.

“The first bucket is networking, reaching out to your network,” Walden said. “The second is social media and job boards.

“Third, for a lot of jobs that you don’t see posted, always be asking for a recommendation for good recruiters, because 50% of all the jobs that you typically don’t see on the job boards will go through recruiters,” he said. “You have to build and develop those relationships.”

Always be open to new opportunities – you never know who your next boss might be

Employers like to hire strong candidates; and are usually at a loss when it comes time to hiring one. This inefficiency can benefit you if you are always in a job-search mode, according to Julia Harris Wexler, career coach and the managing partner of Julia Harris Wexler Consulting. That doesn’t mean overtly.

“It means you impress people in each area of your life with your intelligence, work ethic and attitude,” Wexler said. “If you do that, jobs will present themselves to you. It happens all the time.”

Senior managers take note of impressive people, she said. They have the ability to introduce you to the hiring or decision-making professionals at their firms, and even to create a job for you, if they believe strongly enough in your potential.

“Remember, jobs are secured by communication skills more than they are by qualifications or academics – check the research,” Wexler said. “People make decisions about you in the first seven seconds that they meet you! How you represent yourself is key.

“View every single professional encounter as a job interview,” she said. “Present yourself strongly all of the time. Then watch the opportunities present themselves.”

Write job-inquiry letters

Traditionally, when job-seekers were interested in joining a firm that hadn’t publicized any openings, they might’ve decided to send a prospecting letter, letter of interest or job-inquiry letter via snail mail. While that tactic is not as common as it used to be, in some cases, it can still be an effective way to get on a prospective employer’s radar screen.

The goal is to demonstrate that you’re proactive, knowledgeable and have a strong interest in working for the company, as well as gauge whether the firm is currently hiring. It is a good opportunity to briefly highly the skills, qualifications and experience that would make you an asset and a good fit.

You can then make a polite request to schedule an informational interview with someone in HR or, even better, a hiring manager in the division you’d like to join.

Some people feel that sending a letter of interest is old-fashioned and ineffective, however.

“As for a formal job-inquiry letter, I’m not sure how well it’s received,” he said. “I don’t see that strategy working as well in this day in age – unsolicited email is considered spam or they just filter through the mail.

“It’s all about cultivating personal relationships that you have to build and can then tap into.”

Photo credit: Elena Stepanova/GettyImages

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