Dear Career Doctor:
My daughter graduated in May from Hamilton and wants to work on Wall Street. She has gotten a few interviews, but hasn’t gotten any offers. We are teachers and have no connections in the money world. I don’t know if it is our lack of friends in right places, or whether she is doing something wrong in the interviews.
Since I read your column, I suspect you will say that you don’t know how to advise me because you don’t know her. I’m just writing tonight because I am frustrated and don’t know how to help her.
Given the competition for Wall Street jobs, it’s not unusual that a few interviews haven’t produced an offer. So, you are correct that she has to be absolutely certain that she performs at her best at each interview.
The first question I would ask is what kind of entry level position does she want? Would she like to go into financial analysis, sales, trading or back office operations (i.e. making sure all the paperwork is correct.)? Many young people are afraid to say what they want, because they are afraid to cut off opportunities. But the truth is that if she doesn’t say what she wants, the interviewer will think she hasn’t done the research and self-analysis necessary for her to be a good candidate.
The second question is what has she done to show that she is interested and able to do the job? For example, if she wants to go into financial analysis, has she studied stocks and done her own investing? If she is interested in back office operations, what has she done to show that she has good computer skills and can bring/keep order to/in complex and stressful situations?
As for ‘contacts,’ most colleges like Hamilton will let a graduate tap into their alumni network, and you probably know people through local organizations, your neighborhood or even parents of favorite students who might be willing to help connect your daughter, IF she can show that she really knows and cares about the financial world.
That “IF” is most important: when she looks at where she has put her energy, passion and intelligence, does that suggest that she would love to be on Wall Street? Or should she rethink her career objectives?
The Career Doctor