If you’re looking for an entry-level job in wealth management, you’ll need to craft a cover letter that conveys a specific understanding of the actual skills required to succeed. Talk yourself up as a stock-picker and you’re unlikely to end up getting an interview. A strong wealth management cover letter will accentuate your ability as a salesperson and relationship-builder who has a large network of potential customers.
No cover letter should ever exceed one page in length, according to Afzal Hussein, a former member of Goldman Sachs’ asset management team and founder of Official CV Doctor. Three quarters of a page – or between 300 and 500 words – is a good length to shoot for. If avoidable, don’t begin the letter with: “To Whom It May Concern.” In this day and age, you should be able to track down the name of the hiring manager – an action that will suggest you put in the appropriate effort and aren’t blasting your cover letter and resume all over town.
The letter should begin with a brief introduction about yourself and what you’ve been up to over the last 1-3 years, as well as detail why you want to work for that specific firm, Hussein said. Dropping the name of the company (more than once), any employees you’ve met, networking events you’ve attended and details about the firm will show that you’ve done your homework. This should represent one-third of your cover letter.
At this point, you’ll want to transition to the most important aspect of the cover letter: why you are suited for the role and company in question, both in terms of your relevant experience and your skillset and personality. This is particularly important in wealth management because many inexperienced candidates don’t understand the realities of the position, according to a current Morgan Stanley broker who now runs a small team.
For the first few years, “it’s 100% a sales job,” he said. Yes, you’ll need the acumen to understand investment products and gain market knowledge, but all that can be taught. The ability to sell yourself, earn the trust others and develop a list of people to call cannot, he added. “If I get an email from some kid three years out of college who says they’re the next Warren Buffett, I delete it,” he said.
Highlight any experience you have in financial services – even if it’s only being a member of an investment club in college – and stress your background and aptitude in dealing with customers. Then explain how your experience and skillset would make you a good fit as a wealth manager. “I look for thick-skinned yet personable relationship-builders,” the Morgan Stanley broker said. Briefly include relevant figures and achievements like hitting sales quotas. At this point, you can mention your passion for and knowledge of the markets if you have no direct work experience. Many brokerage firms now hire people who worked in completely different industries who may be older and have more established networks, according to recruiters.
Using your cover letter to tease the potential power of your personal network – the people you’ll likely need to lean on to start building your own book of business – is up for debate. One recruiter who places experienced wealth managers feels a young recruit would come off as overly egotistical. The Morgan Stanley broker disagrees. “I want to know how you plan to generate revenue – through your skills as a relationship-builder and the people you know.”
Finish your cover letter by briefly reiterating your interest in the position and the firm in question and thank the person for their time. Try not to waste any sentences and avoid clichés and fluff. “You have a finite number of words to use in your cover letter in order to sell yourself to the reader,” Hussein said. Brevity is key.
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