11 February 2016
Let’s face it, job fairs can be intimidating! With what can be hundreds of employers and other job seekers in attendance, it can sometimes feel easier to avoid them altogether. Unfortunately, by letting your nerves get the best of you, you run the risk of missing out on an extremely powerful networking opportunity; one that could help you land your next job. While there are many different types of job fairs, they all share one common theme: preparation is key. Therefore, whether you are an upcoming college grad attending an on-campus career fair, or a more seasoned professional looking for your next big break, here’s how you can make your next event a success: Pre-register: Take advantage of your first opportunity to get a leg up on your competition by pre-registering for the event online. In many cases, the registration process allows individuals to submit their resume ahead of time, which can help you get a head start on other job seekers who do not give hiring managers early access to their CV. Additionally, most fairs will give participants access to the list of companies that are attending, so the earlier you register, the more time you have to prepare. Since a job fair can be quite overwhelming in the first place, knowing which companies you are interested in targeting can help mitigate your stress and keep you on track. Do some homework: Use the list of companies that will be there to create a game plan. Prioritize which organizations you want to connect with, and use this new list to build a cheat sheet that you can review throughout the event. Include information pertaining to: the available positions that call for your skills, the company’s mission, any news about the company’s history or accomplishments, etc. You want to prepare for a job fair like you would for a normal interview, so when meeting with company representatives, it’s important to demonstrate your knowledge of their organization and ask well-thought-out questions. Doing so will show hiring managers that you are taking the job fair – and your job search – seriously. Practice your elevator pitch: At most job fairs, job seekers only have a few short minutes to make a lasting first impression with prospective employers. Therefore, it’s important to be prepared with an elevator pitch, or a 30-60 summary of who you are, your goals, and what you can professionally bring to the table. Despite its brevity, crafting and expertly reciting your pitch takes careful thought, so take this task seriously. Once you have given your “pitch” and feel the conversation is coming to an organic end, be respectful of the hiring manager’s time and move on. To conclude the conversation on a strong note, politely ask to exchange contact information and leave them with a copy of your resume. Follow up: Recruiters and hiring managers meet a lot of professionals at job fairs, so the best way to stand out and forge a connection with a potential employer is to follow up within 24-48 hours of the event. When reaching out, try to keep your email straight-to-the point and make sure you reference where you met and what positions you are interested in. Remember, a lack of proactivity can mean a missed opportunity, so don’t wait around for the hiring manager to contact you first.
11 February 2016
Over the past 8 years, financial services firms have worked hard to adhere to new federal rules and regulations, put new compliance strategies in place, and build out compliance departments to adhere to these new strategies. Slowly but surely, the industry is adapting to the major changes it was so suddenly faced with, and with this adaptation has come an increased ability to turn efforts to other areas of the importance: namely, marketing. Many firms have been increasing their focus on marketing initiatives to restore the public’s trust in the financial services sector, and according to our financial services recruiting specialists, hiring trends are reflecting that with an increasing demand for seasoned financial services marketers. “There has been a noticeable demand from these firms for professionals who can help revamp their brand,” says Paul Herman, a Senior Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “As trust is being restored in these firms, they want to make sure their image is represented accordingly when it comes to marketing materials, branding, strategy, and events.” However, according to a 2013 article from Content Marketing Institute (CMI), these efforts weren’t always successful. The article claims that, only three years ago, “financial service providers often fail[ed] to build and execute dynamic content marketing programs”—in other words, their marketing initiatives left a lot to be desired. Why is this important? Because marketing is responsible for the “face” of a company and the image clients have of it. Without an up-to-date marketing strategy, many firms can lose out on customers and clients to their more branding-savvy competition. Thankfully, marketing is returning to the forefront, as our financial services teams have been seeing a greater push for marketing and branding professionals than ever. With the economy recovering and firms recovering from the hit of the recession in 2008, there is now more time and money to be spent on things like social media ad campaigns and building thought leadership through a blog. Through these practices, the industry is finally exercising its creativity in reaching customers, clients, and prospective employees. To source the right marketing talent, firms typically look for: Hands-on financial services experience Experience working with CRM tools (i.e. Salesforce.com) A strong background in leading integrated marketing initiatives and campaigns Experience with implementing marketing programs utilizing social media platforms (e.g. – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc.) Thought leadership Strong understanding of key trends affecting the marketplace According to an article by docturated.com, the main purpose of firms hiring these professionals—and bulking up their marketing departments to begin with—is customer retention and loyalty. With competition amongst financial services firms at its highest and trust only just being restored in the industry, no financial services organization can afford to lose out due to lackluster marketing efforts.