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Six Things to Do if you're Unemployed and Trying to Get a Job in the New Year

It’s a new year, the holidays are behind us, and you’re starting a job search, or you’re restarting the one that you had going before everyone checked out for the holidays.  Here are six suggestions for developing some momentum and keeping it going:

1.  Make sure you’re talking to as many headhunters as you can  

Some headhunters won’t talk to you unless they are working on a search for which you’re the perfect candidate.  Others, though, may have a broader, more flexible approach, and will be willing to brainstorm with you about possible places for them to make an introduction for you.

2. Scour the job boards

This is self-evident, but worth stressing. eFinancialCareers is an obvious site (a tip of the hat to this publication!) but there are others as well.  Look at all of them.

3. Network, network, network  

Use the on-line sites for this – Linked In is an obvious one.  But also use old fashioned technology too.  Harness alumni networks as well – undergrad as well as grad/business school.  Most universities and professional schools keep active alumni networking sites.  And don’t forget, phones calls work even in these digital times. Start with friends and former colleagues. Then, when you’re talking to someone, try to get two new names from that person.  Soon your call list will be enormous, and you’ll be networking into firms and businesses that you didn’t even think of when you started.  Finally, don’t be shy about social engagements.  Some people who are out of work will avoid socializing for fear of being asked the dreaded question: “What do you do for a living?” Don’t dread it.  The more people know you’re looking for work, the more likely it is that someone will think of you when a job opens up.

4. Keep abreast of market developments  

Just because you’re out of work, that doesn’t mean you need to stop looking at the financial news or stop keeping on top of developments in your field.  If you’re a bond person, keep track of benchmark yields.  If you’re an equity derivatives person, keep track of major deals done, major product developments.  If you do mergers, be aware of the big deals in the market.  Follow relevant developments on the regulatory front.  When you do get an interview, you’ll be a whole lot smarter.

5. Check out the news sites for recruiting announcements  

When someone leaves a firm to take a job elsewhere, it might mean that the firm that person left has a hole in its organization, a hole that can be filled.  It never hurts to place a call and see what’s up.

6.  Keep an open mind  

Jobs that look unsuitable at first glance may actually seem challenging or exciting when you learn more about them.  Throw away your preconceived notions, and you may surprise yourself.

David Schwartz is CEO at search firm DN Schwarz & Co. He is a former director of recruitment at Goldman Sachs. 

AUTHORDavid N. Schwartz Insider Comment
  • tr
    14 January 2013

    Wow the second comment on here is riddled with management speak and jargon "retool" "foot in the door" "ballpark" "process of discovery". I figure this was written by David Brent's long lost sister.

  • Re
    13 January 2013

    In an industry that continues to cut heads this is list seems rather myopic. I would be very surprised if long-term unemployed financiers haven't been following these suggestions already and, moreover, I would be surprised if many people were getting real ROI from them. You only need to scour the headlines of people on LinkedIn, with financial institutions as former employers, to know that there are too few opportunities out there for people wanting to get back into similar roles and companies.

    Many people are going to need to re-tool and look beyond the obvious. They will need to do more than "keep an open mind" with respect to lateral moves or jobs that equate to a "foot in the door". There ARE opportunities out there - for example, both The City and Wall St are located in cities experiencing explosions in the number of new companies and there are multiple fin-tech startups vying for the market share of traditional companies. In addition, people could consider consulting opportunities - many smaller firms don't have the ability to hire full-time financial assistance but may need help across various aspects of the business including preparing themselves for getting funded. Granted, fees, salaries and bonuses won't be in the familiar ballpark however, it's arguably better to be doing something and consulting won't preclude continuing the job search in tandem. So, I would add #7: Get educated on the wider market developments and disruptive technologies, open yourself up to a process of discovery and see where your finance skills can be of value beyond the obvious.

  • to
    13 January 2013

    Really useful tips, and motivational as well especially the "don't shy about the social engagement". But having done all these months ago, I still can't find a job. So whats up now.

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