So, you want to get hired at Investec, Firstrand, or any of those other flashy finance brands. Applicants, form an orderly queue! The hottest finance companies have a never ending line of interested candidates, and if you're pressing the "Apply Now" button, all in all you're just another brick in the resume wall.
If you want to stand out and get that shiny new finance job, you need to get creative and ask yourself what your future team is truly looking for. Luckily, your friends here at Octopus live and breathe recruiting, so we have a pretty good idea what talent acquisition pros are thinking when they go to fill your next dream job. Read on for some outside-the-box methods you can use to turn some heads wherever you'd love to work.
Hit Close to Home
It should come as no surprise most recruiters live on LinkedIn. While your Inmail inbox may be an unmitigated disaster of copied and pasted spam, you can bet recruiters will read every message that comes through. First, identify some talent pros at the company you want to join. Recruiters typically have a handful of open roles they focus on, so ideally you'll find the one who's recruiting for the role you want. Some individuals will do you a favor by specifying on their Linkedin profile that they are a sales, technical, or business recruiter. Unfortunately, with large companies, it may be difficult to find your match on the first shot (unless of course you're on the Octopus platform, nudge nudge). Luckily, good recruiters are team players, and they'll point you in the right direction if you approach them politely and tactfully. Most recruiters are also serial networkers, so once they've connected, shoot them a message that goes a little something like this:
Hi [First Name]
I noticed [company] is hiring for an [open role], and I would love to learn more. Based on [relevant personal experience], I think I could be a great fit. Are you the right person to talk to about this role, or might you know someone else I could discuss it with? Looking forward to hearing from you!
Since recruiters are people persons, you may find yourself on the phone with one before you even realized you were in their hiring process. Don't be alarmed, with a little prep you can put your best foot forward and guarantee you'll advance.
If you're a recently graduate, bear in mind larger companies have entire teams dedicated to graduate recruiting. Rather than connect to a recruiter who focuses on candidates with more experience, do your best to track down someone on the graduate recruiting team. After all, they're the ones who are already out there looking for you.
Straight From The Horse's Mouth
While recruiters will be able to get you in process and are generally familiar enough with the role to know if you're a relevant candidate, the hiring manager is where you really get a chance to shine. Use a similar approach as above to track down a few different managers who could be hiring for your role. Here's where it gets tricky: like you, hiring managers are going to be inundated with LinkedIn messages, so you'll want to reach out via email. Company email conventions are easy enough to track down, and from there a bit of guesswork will land you in the inbox of your future boss.
While recruiters are always excited to network and build pipeline, for team members and hiring managers, the proof is in the pudding. Rather than just saying you're interested, you need to demonstrate value right off the bat. Try sharing an original blog post you wrote where the concepts you cover are mentioned in the job description. If someone on the team is a blogger, a comment on their previously publishes posts could be even more valuable – this shows that you can collaborate on pre-existing concepts and contribute meaningful ideas. The goal here is to go one step further than suggesting you might be a good fit. Make an effort to demonstrate precisely what you can do for the team, and highlight how your experience aligns with their needs. Anyone can write action verbs on a LinkedIn profile. Not everyone can prove they're a value add before they even start an interview.
Put a Bow On It
Remember that thing I said above, about tact and politeness? Let's not glaze over that. A dash of diplomacy is crucial when you cold email your future boss or teammate, so don't be pushy. Approach the interaction from a networking point of view, suggesting you're merely interested in the work they are doing, both from an organizational level and at an individual, team project level. Sharing relevant work you've done shows that you're serious, and not just looking to sneakily leapfrog the applicant queue in pursuit of a new finance job. Further, demonstrating a genuine interest in the work while taking the time to contribute something technical displays a commitment to the industry, an alignment to the passion and values of the team, and a respect for the manager's time. Look at you, setting yourself apart from other candidates!
So you've engaged with a recruiter, hiring manager, or team member, showed them what you can do, and proved you're both qualified and serious.Better start the real prep!