Being flexible on compensation can highly increase your chances of getting a job in this environment

An idea to increase your chances of getting a job in this environment

Yes, it is the hardest environment in many years to get a job. Yes, there will be people that still get the job they are looking for. To make sure YOU are one of the candidates that secure an internship or full-time job, Breaking into Finance suggests one thing to consider in order to increase your chances: being flexible on compensation.

Let’s start by saying what I am NOT suggesting here: I am not saying you go out there and advertise loudly that you are ready to work for free. NO. You are a hard worker, well-trained and highly educated, so you have a value that the bank or fund that hires you should pay for. HOWEVER, I heard many times over the past few weeks, that students are being told by companies that there is a freeze on their headcount or, in other words, they cannot increase the amount of money spent on paying salaries.

What I am suggesting here is the following: continue to pursue the jobs and companies in your networking target list either formally (through a recruiting process) or informally, through networking (as discussed earlier this month in an article on Cinco Dias) and try to put yourself in front of the hiring team or the human resources department, be it on informal meetings or in formal processes.

At the right time, if you have done your job right in selling them your profile as a candidate and they would like to hire you; and it is clear, implicitly or explicitly, that spending money to pay your salary be tough to from the company’s finance team, be open to, or suggest directly, the possibility of going, temporarily, for a lower payment than initially discussed, to have an unpaid trial period, etc.

The goals: 1) Signaling: you are showing flexibility and willingness to take a hit to join the team 2) You are a pragmatic professional 3) Get your foot through the door and start getting that valuable experience. 

The caveats: don’t do it upfront, as otherwise can undercut your value or feel like a desperate move. And be firm about setting upfront a plan to get to full remuneration once the crisis is past and once you have proven your value.

Don’t get discouraged by the current uncertain environment. Continue pushing forward, make that call, send that e-mail, get that informal coffee with people in the industry, day in day out, and be sure that the next job in Finance gets closer with every minute you spend on the effort. In the process, contact Breaking into Finance and we’ll be thrilled to assist you in your quest.

2008 versus 2020 – Reasons for being positive and negative comparing with the Great Financial Crisis

In September 2008, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy; Lehman was one of the biggest investment banks and an icon of the 80s, 90s, and 2000s Finance and Real Estate exponential growth. The fall-down from Lehman Brothers signaled the peak of uncertainty in that global crisis that lasted from late 2007 to 2009. We analyze in this write up reasons for being more positive and more negative this time around

  • Better
    • No signs of over-leverage / healthier banking system
    • No widespread property over-building/Real Estate bubble
    • Fiscal and monetary policy responses were very fast, while in 2008-9 it took some time to get a unified fiscal response and a later entry of quantitative easing
  • Worse
    • From East to West, economic shutdown like in a war
    • Challenge at three levels: economic, sanitary, political
    • The speed of the crisis is unprecedented, in how quick it shut down economic activity, how fast the major stock indices and bond markets reflected the correction and how the whole World entered into a recession

It is too soon to make solid forecasts. The end of the tunnel is not yet in sight and all forecasters lack visibility.

But what we can say for sure is that history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes. After a gloomy period of companies canceling summer and full time offers, news about people getting fired constantly from banks and funds and an apparently ever-shrinking finance sector, the sun always comes up and the firms need to expand into the most profitable sectors post-crisis, firms that over-fired (like big investment banks tend to do) go into an aggressive re-hiring and new niches grow fast. Let’s hope for a not-so-long “tunnel” and, in the meantime, safety first for you and your family, and then

  • Keep up the work on your story, your profile and your marketing materials
  • Continue your networking efforts
  • Polish your interviewing abilities
  • Be alert and aware and try to seize specific crisis opportunities like joining firms that are actually going to be extremely busy in H2 2020 or H1 2021 (ie. Special lending, distressed investing, restructuring advising)

And let Breaking into Finance help you with that.

Breaking into Finance: an all-weather course to get your first or your next job in Finance

Navigating the 2nd year of my MBA at Columbia Business School. The financial and real World as we knew it when I started the program, had changed dramatically. Full time and Summer offers are being cancelled or put on hold; foreign workers find it hard to get sponsored for a visa by financial institutions and all plans to develop a career in Finance seem to be vanishing.

That was 2008 and 2009, but when a similar music started “playing” in March 2020, I could see the rationale of the popular phrase: “history does not repeat, but it rhymes”. The COVID19 crisis, sweeping through the World from East to West, has changed in an unprecedented (a very popular word these days) way.

The similarities of the crises, save for the lock-down part of the current one, gave me the final push to launch Breaking into Finance, the program that compiles 20 years Finance networking and recruiting experience throughout 3 continents, for my own career and coaching other professionals. Because there might be yet another crisis of unknown length and consequences, but one thing is sure: as long as you are standing (and healthy), aware and prepared, you shall find your Finance place.

Breaking into Finance: pre-launching in Columbia

t the end of April, I came back to Columbia Business School to present webinar that summarizes the Breaking into Finance program which, unsurprisingly, is an all-weather course. It is not a used-car salesman pitch, but rather, the simple truth that getting the best job you can get in Finance always requires a similar kind of “gymnastics”, for which you need to do more or less reps depending on how bad or good is the cycle, or how much effort you are ready to put into getting the best you can out of your career.

You can go through the video HERE. In the webinar I went through an overview of the Breaking into Finance 4-module program, with practical ideas on what you can do to improve you candidate profile while you spend extra time at home due to the lock-down:

  1. What’s in Finance for me?
  2. Crafting your story and designing your marketing materials
  3. Guide for an effective networking
  4. Getting through the door: rise and shine in the interview process

Breaking into Finance is now fully online

In May 2020, our website has gone fully online, and I encourage you to learn more about our services, explore the rest of the blog articles with practical tips, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter and express your interest in the Individual or Institutional Program , or in the soon to come, online course.

Hoping to hearing from you soon, and to have the privilege of being your coach.

What will happen with my internship or my full time job?

As banks, funds and corporates all go through the same cycle of 1) contingency plan 2) realistic assessment of the overall scenario and 3) action plan for “the day after lock-downs”, the situation can be stressful for a student in advanced talks, going through the recruiting process or even that who had received an offer.

The first thing to do, is to avoid panicking and give in to the urge to call every day your potential employer. Instead, at Breaking into Finance we suggest you have the following decision tree handy and, when reaching out to your would-be employer, do it in a calmed and planned way:

If you have an offer and you have already received confirmation that it is still valid (post lock-down started) and you will start in June or after the Summer: then nothing else to do but to prepare to start in the best possible way

  • If you have an offer but have not yet confirmed, then reach out to your point of contact. Either if it is an HR or your future boss or a future colleague, use the occasion to gather information on how they company is doing and what is the house view. I suggest you send a crisp e-mail (always sent on weekdays and during working hours, to avoid being washed out with overnight or weekend traffic) in which you suggest if it is OK to talk on the phone, then have a short phone call where you should have a few questions prepared in advance. Don’t let it transpire that you are too anxious, or worse, don’t waste anyone’s time with an unprepared call.
  • Your offer has been put on hold or cancelled: as unfortunate as it is, there is not much you can do or blame yourself for. I would suggest to use the occasion to speak with your potential boss or potential colleagues, as it may be an occasion in which, out of feeling sorry for having canceled or delayed your entry, they might be more willing to help, suggest alternative courses of action, give you more insight on the market and even point you to other firms in the market that may still be interested in hiring you.
  • You are in an advanced process, but it has stopped altogether: as is the case if you have an offer, I suggest you reach out in a professional way to your point of contact to try and get the latest news and any clarity on the continuity of the process. Always best to have a clear e-mail with a suggested phone call to follow up.
  • If you have already spoken and they have told you that the process is on hold until more clarity is gathered, try to use the information given to you by HR or the front-office to improve your candidacy (they might hint to room-for-improvement aspects of your profile) or your overall search process (they may give you information regarding the market and other players).

You will see a similar course of action suggested for either option. This is because in Finance it is always best to play it safe, be professional and not show too much anxiety, while at the same time signaling you really want to be part of their team. Stay tuned for more tips from Breaking into Finance and always use the opportunity to make yourself an ever-stronger candidate.