Jazz Up Your resumé
These days, many resumés are scanned by computers, instead of people. How do computers do this? It’s actually quite simple. Programs are set up specifically to recognize and set aside resumés that contain certain key words and phrases that the firm finds attractive.
With that in mind, there’s no guarantee that including any one item, detail or keyword will get your resumé noticed. However, there are certain things that should be emphasized because they can increase the chances of your resumé being picked out of the lot.
For example, high grade-point averages, well-known school names, honors, licenses or significant career accomplishments should be emphasized – as well as associations with well-known organizations (the New York Society of Securities Analysts, for example) or affiliations with well-known firms, such as Merrill Lynch or Morgan Stanley. Another item that should be highlighted on a resumé is any cost savings or revenues that you were able to generate for a prior employer. Broker-dealer firms tend to be quite interested in how you have been able to save and/or make money! (For related reading, check out Students, Get Your Foot In The Door!)
Keep in mind that brokerage firms ideally want to hire individuals that already have an understanding of the securities business and who’ll be able to hit the ground running. To that end, prior to applying for a broker trainee program, consider obtaining a job as a cold caller, an assistant or some other position that demonstrates your eagerness and desire to learn and succeed in the securities industry.
How does one go about lining up an internship?
There a few possible ways. First, if you’re currently in college or graduate school, contact your advisor or guidance counselor; he or she may have an intern program already in place with local firms. You may even be able to obtain college credits for your efforts.
If you’re out of college, probably the best way to obtain an internship is to send an email or letter to a firm you’re interested in and tell them about your objectives and background. Also, if you’re willing to volunteer to work for minimal pay – or for free – you may increase your odds of landing an internship as well.
An internship is usually worth all of the effort because it can help set you apart from other candidates with less experience. (For more information on internships, read Finding Your Place In The Financial Industry.)
Have you ever heard the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? On Wall Street, this saying tends to ring especially true. Try to seek out someone, a mentor perhaps, who will assist you in your career and/or provide you with a solid reference so that you can get into a program.
How does one go about making contacts?
Again, tap your college, or contact older friends who may have already landed jobs at a good securities firms. And again, consider joining professional associations, where you can meet professionals who can help you get your networking started. (To learn more, check out The Benefits Of Joining A Professional Association.)
Develop a Unique Pitch
Would-be broker trainees should consider developing a unique sales pitch and/or way of contacting and obtaining clients that will set them apart from others. The pitch might entail a predetermined and well-thought-out set of lines that may be spoken over the telephone to a prospect, or a unique method for getting yourself in front of potential prospects. This pitch may then be demonstrated and/or discussed during the interview process with the brokerage firm. Remember, setting yourself apart from the crowd is key! (And, the fact that you’ve made an effort to think these pitches through in detail will likely impress those meeting with you.)
During the interview, consider demonstrating and/or pointing out things like your phone voice to the person conducting the interview. If possible, also consider discussing how you plan to get leads and build your business. It may also be helpful to mention your contacts in the business world.
Finally, if applicable, emphasize the fact that you live in the local area and have the ability and desire to work long hours. This can go a long way because firms are often reluctant to hire those that don’t seem to have the drive or ability to work extended hours. (For more on nailing an interview, read Taking The Lead In The Interview Dance.)
Getting into a broker training program isn’t easy. However, you can significantly increase your odds with some careful preparation and thought.