A key component to your job search process
is to have a good network of personal contacts. It isn't necessary for you to have
contacts with New York investment banks. You just need contacts who are closer to your
desired field than you are. For example, an investment banker in Birmingham or Atlanta is
as valuable as one in New York. It is basically a difference in location.
You should try to find contacts among people at the University of Alabama, your
internships, your friends, and your parents' friends. Often times, you will find that
"six degrees of separation" is very true.
What Color is Your Parachute? and other good career books describe how to
establish a personal network so I won't write about building one. Instead, I'll mention
the key functions of a network for your job search.
Your network will provide you with people who can:
1. Critique your resume and cover letters
2. Offer contacts with people in investment banks
3. Give advice on your job search strategy
4. Provide information about working in investment banking and other industries
Once you have found a good personal contact, place
his/her information in your contact cards system. You can use
colored cards or something to keep personal contacts and recruiting contacts separate. It
is just convenient to keep all the information about your contacts in one place.
You should actively maintain and use your network, but always remember that your contacts
are doing YOU a big favor. Finally, do not try to hit your networking
contacts up for a job.