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What Stops Graduates Landing Investment Analyst Jobs?

Posting date: 14 February 2020
Author: Andrew Coughtrey

Invaluable Tips to Help You Secure an Investment Analyst Job After Graduation

So, you’ve just graduated from university and completed your degree in Business, Finance, Economics or similar, and have decided that you want to land one of the lucrative investment analyst jobs available. It can be easier said than done. You’ll know this if you have made several applications and still not secured your dream position. 

There are a lot more applicants than there are jobs, making competition tough. Investment analyst jobs are in high demand by graduates. They pay well, and as a front office job they have strong appeal. However many applications you have made, here are some things to be aware of to help you improve your chances of being hired.

1. Increased Competition

Highly sought-after jobs suffer from high competition. For example, in 2016 Goldman Sachs received 223,849 applicants for its investment analyst roles. With a total of only 4,000 positions available, fewer than 2% of applicants were successful. 

As degree courses and university places are becoming more accessible, the number of graduates in finance subjects is increasing. Your competition is getting tougher; especially as the number of analyst roles available are not increasing at the same rate. 

Increase your chances of standing out from your competition with these strategies: 

• Learn about the market that you want to enter 

• Attend investment classes 

• Obtain extra skills and suitable experience 

• Improve your professional network by employing a proactive strategy on LinkedIn (See more below, too) 

You need to work hard to obtain rewarding work.

2. Little to No Work Experience

Most university graduates make the mistake of thinking their degree will be enough to earn them a job. However, education is not all that employers are looking for. Experience is a vital part of any job application, especially for roles in finance. While education can give you some of the skills needed to be an investment analyst, having additional experience will make you more desirable to employers and make your application stand out against the rest. 

Look for internships or relevant part-time work that you can take on around your studies. Sometimes, a sandwich course is a good route into the field of work you wish to enter. There is a wealth of work experience opportunities available in the industry, especially in London, Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester – providing you know where and how to look.

3. Lack of Skills Required by Employers

There has long been a debate around the fact that employers do not feel universities are teaching students the skills that they need as future employees. Obtaining technical knowledge of finance and learning the laws and regulations you must work with is one thing. However, university often does not teach you the practical skills needed to work in an investment analyst job. 

Your degree is not enough to set you apart in the sea of applicants hiring managers are fishing from. Think about what additional training you can take to obtain the extra skills needed by employers. Look at industry trends and investment analyst job descriptions to find out what skills employers are looking for in financial analysts, that you don’t yet have. Then take online courses or find work experience that can help you obtain these skills and open a door into your chosen career.

4. No Network

Getting a job is as much about whom you know, as what you know. Having someone to recommend you for a position is a great way to get yourself to the top of the candidate pile. Employers put trust in their network and know that they would not put anyone forward who could make them look bad. This helps reassure employers that a referral will be a good hire (one reason we seek to ‘know’ graduates in the job seeking process). 

But there’s a problem: you’re just out of university and have no network of associates in the industry. So how can you get a referral? Well, it’s time to start building your network. Attend industry events and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. When you meet new people within your industry, be sure to get their full name and the place of work so you can add them on LinkedIn. If it’s appropriate and you have your phone to hand, make a LinkedIn connection with them while you are talking. 

 Be an active member of the suitable social media community. Share other people’s content, comment, and answer problems that others post and with which you may help. Take the time to start conversations with people on LinkedIn so that you can begin to build a professional relationship with them. 

When you apply for an investment analyst role, it’s possible (and in fact highly likely) that the hiring manager will look at your LinkedIn profile. Having a good network of connections helps improve your credentials. The wider your network, the more likely you will have a connection in common with the hiring manager. In this case, the hiring manager may get in touch with the mutual connection to seek their opinion. A recommendation could help you land the job.

5. Poor CV and Cover Letter

Your CV and cover letter are the first impression you give to a hiring company. You must take the time to compose a standout CV and cover letter that really blow away the reader. Don’t pick a generic template that you found online. Take the care to craft your words in your cover letter, laying out all your skills in a way that will catch the reader’s eye. 

Get a friend or professor to proofread your CV and cover letter and ask them to make suggestions of how it might be improved. When you read your own work, it can be difficult to catch mistakes or notice small changes that could make it more appealing to the reader.

6. Interviewing Poorly

If you have graduated recently, you probably have little interview experience. Your interview experience may be limited to a couple of interviews conducted for work experience roles. Avoid basic rookie interview mistakes and: 

• Turn up on time (or preferably 10 minutes early) 

• Wear formal clothing 

• Give the interviewer a firm handshake 

• Make eye contact during the interview 

Before you go to your interview, do some preparation. Research the company you are interviewing with and consider example interview questions that you might expect. Thoroughly read the job description and think of examples of how you can demonstrate the skills it lists, from your work or personal experience, and during your degree.

7. Not Following up

So, you sent in your application and heard nothing back. End of story, right? Wrong. 

Follow up on all your job applications. It can never do any harm. The hiring company may have simply forgotten to get back to you, or never received the application. They may also have received it and be able to give you some constructive feedback on why you were not asked to come in for an interview.

8. Giving up at the First Hurdle

Receiving no response from job applications can be disheartening. Maybe after a couple of months, you feel like giving up. However, this is when you need to stay strong and persevere. It takes graduates an average of six to nine months to find a job in their chosen field, so keep on going until you get the position you’ve worked so hard for. 

Receiving no responses may also be a sign that you need to change something about your application process. Review your CV and cover letter and the jobs you are applying for to assess where you could make improvements.

9. Lack of Interpersonal Skills

Interviews are susceptible to human bias. Having charm and interpersonal skills that allow you to easily communicate with your interviewer are a huge plus. Employers look for interpersonal skills as they allow you to: 

• Easily integrate into the current team 

• Manage conflict 

• Communicate effectively 

• Build trust with clients 

• Network within the industry 

While studying for your degree, you may have focused entirely on gaining the relevant knowledge needed to become an investment analyst and let developing other skills fall to the wayside. However, interpersonal skills are extremely desirable to employers. If you don’t possess them, it’s time to start working on them.

10. Not Using a Specialist Recruiter

Specialist recruiters know their market. By using a specialist recruiter to find an investment analyst role, you will gain invaluable insight into what skills current employers are seeking. They will advise you on ways to improve your CV and build your skills to boost your employability. Specialist recruiters also have industry connections that improve your chances of being recommended for roles you would not have found otherwise, as they are not posted on major job boards. 

A recruiter can also help you prepare for your interview. They will know the company you are applying to, and often the hiring manager, too. Therefore, they will be able to advise you on the best way to approach questions to set the best impression.

Summary

Around 500,000 students graduate in the UK each year. On average it takes between six and nine months for a graduate to find a job in their field of study. You may be worn out from applying for investment analyst jobs, but it’s not time to give up. Review the ways you can improve your application process and think about the additional skills you could learn to make yourself more desirable to employers. And for the very best investment analyst jobs in the real estate sector, at home and abroad, contact the Real Estate Investment Management Team at Macdonald & Company.

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