With the first quarter of 2017 in the books, financial institutions are looking ahead and many have already shelled out bonuses for 2016 and finalized their hiring budgets for 2017. As a result, they’re turning their attention to bringing on new talent in the second quarter.
Historically, Mitchell Peskin, Partner and Executive Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division, experiences an increase in hiring needs from employers throughout the months of May and June. “With a thriving employment market, competition is very steep for even the most qualified of candidates,” says Mitchell. “If you are contemplating making a move this year, now is one of your best windows of opportunity to pursue a new role. However, this might also guarantee that many financial services professionals have the same idea. As a result, it’s important that you take the time to find ways to differentiate yourself amongst competition.”
Whether you’re looking to transition to the buy side or looking to take the next step in your career, don’t put your job search off. Be sure to use the following tips to stand out:
Fine tune your resume to highlight your specific expertise
Too often, financial services professionals rely on a results-driven resume format to highlight their professional accomplishments. “While this might be a good format to use for a role focused on project management, it’s better that your resume highlights where your expertise lies,” says Mitchell. “Hiring managers are most interested in your product knowledge, including your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities that highlight the specifics of what you know.”
In addition, be sure that you are prepared to speak to everything that is included on your resume. “Too many financial services professionals make the mistake of listing products or technology they are completely unfamiliar with in the hopes of impressing prospective employers,” notes Mitchell. At the end of the day, if you are unable to speak to everything that is listed on your resume, this will definitely raise major red flags for hiring managers.
Be flexible with your job search and availability
If you are truly serious about taking advantage of this hot hiring period, it’s important that you remain flexible in the types of roles you’re looking for as well as your ability to interview. “I encourage financial services professionals to entertain a variety of employment opportunities that are aligned with their expertise,” says Mitchell. “Focusing too much of your efforts on making sure you have a better title, for example, can ultimately hinder your job search for the wrong reasons.”
Along similar lines, don’t wait until the summer to start your job search. Why? “This season is typically one of the most difficult times for employers to conduct interviews as many of them are on vacation,” notes Mitchell. Therefore, if you have the opportunity to interview with a prospective employer now, make sure you are as flexible as you can be with your availability.
Emphasize specific soft skills throughout the interview
It’s important to note that most hiring managers are in search of well-rounded financial services professionals—those that possess the right combination of professional attributes and soft skills to perform the job at a high level. Therefore, if you want to make a great impression with your interviewer, try emphasizing the following soft skills:
- Work ethic – The financial services sector can be a very demanding industry with intense hours, and hiring managers have a great appreciation for prospective candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to going above and beyond to help their team or company’s bottom line.
- Team player – In most financial services-related roles, you will collaborate with a number of team members. Your ability to highlight examples of working within groups or handling conflict, will speak to your willingness to work with others.
- Communication – Strong communication skills are valued in most roles. However, if you are pursuing a role in investor relations at a hedge fund, for example, you will be speaking with investors on a regular basis, and therefore, your ability to communicate to those investors in a concise manner is important.