THE COMMON APPROACH
OK, do you know why most people don't get a specific job?
The typical job hunter will dutifully mail resumes to the human resources departments of
investment banks. Then he/she will do nothing.
This approach is damaging because you don't have control of the process and your resume
will get lost in the thousands of other resumes. There is absolutely ZERO CHANCE of
you getting an investment banking position using the typical lazy job search approach.
I'll repeat it for emphasis, it doesn't matter if you're a 4.0 GPA National Merit
Scholar with two plus years of financial work experience - sending only a resume is a
waste of time!
PHONE CALLS AND YOUR JOB SEARCH
Your job search process is much better, though. You have
already sent a polished, professional resume and a custom-made, informative cover letter
to the recruiter in charge of the analyst program. Now, you will call this recruiter and
tell him/her that you will be in New York on so-and-so dates and you would like to arrange
an interview. You will continue to call to ask for an interview roughly about every eight
The beauty of making phone calls to recruiters is that you are in a win-win situation. The
worst that the recruiter or his/her assistant could do is to tell you, "Sorry, we
select our resumes and then arrange all interviews". The best that the recruiter
could do is to set up an interview.
I know that this sounds like a win-lose situation but you are really trying to both set up
an interview now and ease the way for setting up interviews when you are in New
York. By calling the recruiter while still in Tuscaloosa you are establishing some
familiarity. Honestly, some recruiters will remember that you are the student from the
University of Alabama who has called persistently (not pain-in-the-neck, though).
When you are in New York, after all those calls to the recruiter, and the recruiter hears
you say, "I am here in Manhattan interviewing (or arranging interviews) for a couple
of investment banking analyst programs", a few thoughts will occur in the recruiter's
head. The recruiter will think, "This kid must be something special",
"She's already here, I might as well interview her", and "If I let people
like her slip off to Goldman Sachs then we're sunk".
Carefully exploit the recruiter's fears in your phone calls while you are in New York.
Tell the recruiter about one of your really spectacular skills or accomplishments if the
recruiter is teetering on whether to interview you. Remind the recruiter that you can
interview anytime during the week, you just need an hour to get downtown by the subway.
Just remember that recruiters hate to lose to the competition, don't want to pay for first
interviews, and need encouragement before interviewing you. Note encouragement means
coaxing not begging nor demanding ;-)
RECRUITER'S PHONE NUMBER
If you are trying to find a recruiter's number in a large
investment bank, follow these five easy steps:
- Find any number in the company, for example,
- Replace the last three digits with zeros, like
- Dial this number and you should be greeted with "Hello,
Goldman Sachs" or "John at Goldman Sachs". In 99% of the case, this person
should be the main switchboard operator and can direct your call. If it is obviously not
the right person then apologize and ask for their main switchboard number. If, for some
reason, the person does not direct you to the main switchboard operator then try going up
or down on the fourth digit like (212) 555-4000 or (212) 555-2000. Just remember that
large investment banks receive tens of thousands of calls a day, so no one will catch on
to your technique.
- Once you have the main switchboard operator, ask for
so-and-so's number. If you ask for the number, sometimes the operator will give you it but
most of the time he/she will dial it for you. Be sure to write down the phone number, if
given, for your contact cards system.
- You will most likely talk to an assistant. Very rarely do
you ever get the privilege of speaking with the person you are trying to reach.
WHAT TO EXPECT AND WHAT TO SAY
It is a given that you will speak to anyone but the person
you are trying to reach. Now remember that your goal is "setting an interview
date"; nothing more or less. Since you will probably end up calling the contact's
office many times over the course of your job searching process, you will also become
vaguely familiar to the assistants. Therefore, remember when trying to set up an interview
date always, always, always, be very polite. Job searching is a process, sort of a game.
You must follow the rules.
It is important that when you are calling or interviewing with investment banks that you
repeat over and over to the recruiter - maybe not verbatim but in spirit - "I want
this job" and "I have always wanted to work in so-and-so (Goldman Sachs, Salomon
Brothers, etc.)" regardless of how you actually feel. Gather your job offers first then
make decisions about your future.
I referred to the following script whenever I got
tongue-tied. It is better to sound rehearsed then to sound incompetent ;-) Actually, you
may find yourself dreaming about calls to recruiters. That just means you're putting all
you have into the process!
In fact, visualizing success with phone calls and interviews is a very important part of
your job process. Do it before calls and interviews and during free time.
Note that this script gets to the point very quickly: you have already sent a resume, you
will be in New York on so-and-so dates, and you would like to set up an interview.
Hi Ms. Brown. My name is Bob Jones and I recently
mailed you a resume in regards to a position as an investment banking analyst at Goldman
Sachs. I am calling because I would like to set up a 20 minute interview with you in
October or early November. I will already be in New York during these months.
Would you like me to call to confirm our appointment?
Thank you, Ms. Brown, for your time. I am looking forward to our meeting on ~~~~~.
Be sure to record the following details during every
conversation that results in an interview date.
Interview with Ms. Brown? Or someone else?
You should use YellowPages.com
to look up phone numbers. You may not find the recruiter's number, but you can find it by
using the method above and any number in the New York office.
According to the phone books in New York, you can order NYC Manhattan White and Yellow
Pages by calling 1-800-544-4988 (or 1-800-719-5656). You will pay for the phone book and
shipping, but it may be handy to have the phone book at your home.
Actually, at one time, Gorgas Library had a Manhattan phone book in addition to phone
books for most major cities in the U.S. and the world. When they reorganized the ground
floor, the phone books moved to a new location in the library and I lost track of them.
Most of your work in the contact cycle up until you leave
for NYC will merely set the stage of familiarity between you and the firms. There is
actually a good chance that you won't have an interview date with any firms UNTIL
you get to New York. Once in New York, though, it is much easier to convince the
investment banks that you are serious.