Wall Street Job Search

In New York this year, there have been over 49,000 layoffs in the financial sector. Lehman contributed a lot of those and other firms had their share. The job market on Wall Street is going to be tough for the foreseeable future. So what do you do if you’re a finance professional in NY?

Although the economic situation on Wall Street has many unique aspects, the challenges facing the job seekers there are common in other sectors and regions. Many job seekers are in markets with more competition than available jobs.

To get hired in a highly competitive job market, it is essential to demonstrate how you will provide more value to a company than other job seekers. It’s not good enough to be capable of doing a job. There are a lot of capable people available. When an industry has some big companies downsize, a lot of good people end up on the market. The firms that are hiring have the ability to pick and choose the best available.

Talent and Potential

The key to getting hired in this type of environment is to demonstrate a higher talent level and greater potential than everyone else. This doesn’t require having the most experience or the best education. It requires the ability to show a track record of accomplishment, growth and success, demonstrating the value you will provide.

In every job, there are qualities that differentiate success from failure. The first step is identifying those qualities. I’m always surprised when I speak with someone they can’t explain what success looks like in the jobs they have held. This is much more common than it should be. Review the positions you have had and the position you are seeking to identify the three to five most important results that the position should deliver. These should be tangible results directly related to the success of the company.

The second step is to review your performance against each measure. Identify where you were successful and where you weren’t. Ideally, you will be able to describe how your successes contributed to the overall goals and success of the company.  To be most effective, develop specific examples of how you contributed value to the company. 

Finally, determine how your past successes would benefit a current employer. Will you generate sales and increase revenues? Will you cut costs and boost net income? Will you improve quality or customer service?

The key is to show three things on your resume and in your interviews:

  • Will you do the job successfully

  • Will you add value beyond the core responsibilities of the position

  • Will you develop and grow to contribute in new ways in the future

If you demonstrate you can do these three things, you will have a leg up on the vast majority of your competition. Most people focus on demonstrating just the ability to do the job successfully.  In a tight labor market, when companies are desperate to hire, that’s fine.  In a weak labor market, there’s to much competition and the job seekers that show they will add the most value beyond just doing their job will get hired. 

Companies are still hiring. The challenge for many job seekers is showing their true potential. Work on demonstrating your record of achievement and potential for success and you will achieve better results in your search.