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The best thing to do when your CV is ignored

If you're pushing on a door and that door really won't open, sometimes there's only one alternative: you need to push another door instead. This is what I've learned about my finance career in 2016.

I'm a credit trader. Since leaving university, I've spent my time making markets in bonds. In my trading last role, I was a director in sales trading, working across a range of products. Then I lost my job. And now? Now, I work in risk.

This isn't something I'd intended to happen. I knew being out of the market would be hard, but I still thought I'd be able to move into another trading role within six months. I was fussy. I had offers to move into broking but I turned them all down; they were commission-only and broking seemed a risky option with volumes so low. Besides, I was a trader.

Initially, I was unwilling to compromise. I hung on, applying for trading jobs. I sent out CVs. I heard nothing. I sent out more CVs; still nothing. I began to feel that the market was against me - this was before the EU referendum and hiring managers were holding their breath. It became obvious that finding a job was going to be a lot harder than I'd expected.

And so, I did what you should all do when no one wants what you have to offer: I capitulated. I stopped trying to be a trader and I started trying to be a risk manager.

Suddenly, doors opened.

The fact is, there are far more opportunities now for risk managers than there are for traders. Risk is a growing area; trading is not. The job security is better in risk and the opportunities for career progression are more numerous. I'm not even paid badly - salaries in risk are high, although the bonuses here are startlingly poor.

Working in risk isn't perfect (I'm a trader goddammit), but it is work. Risk doesn't seem my natural home, although I am starting to think I could maybe make a career here. My front office colleagues - who know my background, treat me with more respect than other members of our risk team, so I do at least have some advantages. Yes, I'm frustrated - I miss the interaction on the trading floor and I'm not a decision maker any more, which is hard to get used to. Banks are hierarchical places and suddenly I'm a few rungs lower down. It's weird seeing people do my old job. I feel like a footballer who's stuck in the stands, watching.

Even so, at least I'm near the pitch. I could be sitting at home, sending out CVs, wondering when and if someone will respond. If your CV is ignored, the best thing you can do is to take a long hard look at reality. Don't blame recruiters for failing to respond; don't blame the market for not wanting your skills - repackage your experience into something the market will want. Go with it, you never know where it will take you.

Arturo Martinez is the pseudonym of a senior fixed income trading in London who's currently (maybe permanently) working in risk


AUTHORArturo Martinez Insider Comment
  • pb
    12 October 2016

    But here's the problem. In the world of finance, you can be one of the best in your specific field / specialty, but when your job, and many like it disappear, you don't have any sort of even semi clear path to a new type of position. Sure, a trader goes for, and gets a risk position. But I'm on the IT side, a specialty within it, and hiring managers there look for an EXACT fit for every position. If, indeed, the positions they post are even open. A common practice at one very top bank is to pick someone for a position, then post it to make HR happy.

    So I figured to try IT within another industry - health care. Health IT is amazingly like Financial IT. All sorts of privacy and other regulations, along with the need for tight security and compliance. Need for redundancy, high speed comms, good DR, lots of accounting systems, and high priority real time systems. But at one major health system I applied to, a hiring manager I met at an event told me that he was ordered by his bosses to NEVER even interview someone not already working in Health IT.

    Then there's the age discrimination. These days it's running rampant. The way it works is simple; the brassring or taleo or other online application system requires you to put in the dates you graduated college, grad school, and high school. Put them in, one quick scan you're gone from consideration. Not put them in, you can't submit the application. It is blatantly illegal. But nearly everyone does it.

    On top of that the salary range game; you have to pick one of say 40 salary ranges that you want - and only one of them allows you to be considered for the job, and you have no idea of which. So hey - it really isn't that easy.

  • ob
    29 September 2016

    I completly agree.
    Feel the same even when I am still on the front and place tiny orders on the buy-side but sell-side and prop, decision making and the floor noise is missing.

    And the Problem is the companies are frightend to hire front-Office guys in Risk or Compliance...probably to avoid that we can pop-up some hidden/ unknown Problems...

  • ze
    28 September 2016

    Hi Arturo,
    Thank you so much for sharing with us your feelings... you may not stay in risk forever you know, and maybe this position will bring you more positive things than you had in your previous job? keep the faith! At least you found something after losing your job, what I still didn't manage to do after 3yrs now...incredible isnt'it?!! And I can tell you that I spend every single day in front of my laptop, scrutinizing every articles, ads, that can help me moving forward. However I did like you: reconsidering my position, but still no open doors...but I keep on hanging on my dreams to find a suitable position in a suitable company.:))

    i am sure that you were very good at what you were doing; and I am sure that your new position will show you some awesome and new horizons... believe me ;)

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