Dear Career Doctor:
I have a friend who has been out of work for almost three years. He worked on the NYSE for 22 years and was a successful equities trader and then went into management and served on a board at a specialist firm. He would really like to get back into that industry given because he loves trading and loves following the market. It’s what he knows best.
He has been on numerous job interviews and even gotten quite far but cannot seem to land the job. One factor which could be hurting him is that he only completed three years of college.
What do you recommend he do at this time? He cannot afford to go back to school full time and really wants to work. What types of jobs could he get without a college degree? What types of positions could he get hired for without a degree?
Thank you for your help!!
Your question has multiple answers, so here goes:
1. The absence of a college degree may be the easiest to solve. He should contact Empire State College, a fully accredited part of the State University of New York system that helps older people get credit for life experience to finish (or get) degrees.
2. A three year absence from the work place used to be the kiss of death, but these days if a person has the right skills and positive attitude, they can get hired in spite of a gap. Where to look for a job? Wall Street and hedge fund jobs are scarce, so I would encourage him to look at pension funds all over the country.
3. The strange part of your story is that he was a successful trader for 22 years, but can’t afford to go back to college for a year. If he’s that broke, he may be projecting desperation on his interviews, and that is a killer. He may also not be showing that he has kept up his skills by managing his own money well. Whatever is going on, he should practice his interviewing skills with these issues in mind. And when he gets a job, he should begin living well below his means, so he never feels this broke again.