by Girl Banker®
Some cold calls and cold emails do result in a job. If you can get hold of some quality contacts in an investment bank try putting in a call.
1. Be informed.
Know at least the name and the team of the person that you are calling. Calling a random person is of no use to you.
2. Do your research.
LinkedIn is a great place to start. You can search for stuff e.g. "Head of equity trading at ABC Investment Bank" and you would be surprised what comes up. You might have to upgrade your subscription to see the details you need, however.
If you Google "position and bank" the most amazing stuff comes up. You might find that the Head of HR comes up in YouTube videos and all sorts.
In addition, ask any connections you have to the banking industry for people's names.
3. Don't waffle.
Keep your call brief and to the point
4. Know your objective.
You should have one or both of two objectives in mind: to get a job on the team you are calling or to use the influence of the person that you are calling to get your CV in front of someone else that can get you the job that you want
5. Perfect your timing.
There is an appropriate time and day of the week to call. Read my blog on the best time to cold call or cold email an investment banker for more detail.
6. Know the banking cycle.
If it is recruitment season, i.e. November to March and you are close to graduating your time is better spent applying through the standardized programs that the bank offers. As a student, the time you have available for job hunting is probably limited, use it wisely. If you are an experienced hire, your cold call will be more effective if you are in a job already but just want greener pastures.
7. Call strategy.
State your name.
If you can, say how you came to know of the person. I found your details on LinkedIn is not a good line, you'll sound like a stalker.
Mention a person that you know in common, it will help to keep them on the phone longer
State what you need help with.
If you have done decent research on the person you might have found out interesting things about them, think about how you can spin their experiences to make yourself sound like a knowledgeable person on their industry and their job function and why you would be a good addition to the team or bank.
8. Get a promise.
Before you get off that phone try to get some kind of a promise e.g. permission to call again, a promise that they will forward your CV to someone and, highly unlikely - but an agreement to meet or be interviewed. If you're not getting anywhere say something like: you sound very busy, I am so sorry to have called you at an inconvenient time, can I call you back at a better time? If they say, yes, ask when. Get the person's email if you do not already have it!
9. Follow up.
If you failed to get anywhere on the first call, see what a second call might unveil. A third call is also okay but if that doesn't prove successful, that's where you need to stop. People in banking know each other and if you're branded a stalker it's not going to bode well for your job hunt.
10. Don't feel discouraged.
Cold calling will not amount to anything most of the time. With all the information people are bombarded with nowadays they forget calls almost as soon as they come off them. This does not necessarily say anything about your worth as an a employee. The job market is currently very tough. Brushing rejection off is very important. Don't dwell on failure, there's no point. Importantly, if you did manage to get your CV looked at they might have it flagged on file and if there is something they liked about you, they may think of you when an opening comes.
Call or email? I would say if you can get hold of someone a call, followed by an email, is the best way around.
To Become an Investment Banker is jammed with advice on the whole process. Don't forget to get a copy.
I created my investment banking blog in 2012 as soon as I resigned from i-banking & published my book, To Become An Investment Banker.
Initially published at girlbanker.com, all posts have now been subsumed into my personal website under katsonga.com/GirlBanker.
These blog posts make it as straight-forward for you as possible to get into a top tier investment bank.
I have 7 years of front office i-banking experience from Goldman Sachs and HSBC, in both classic IBD (corporate finance) and Derivatives (DCM / FICC).
I'm also a CFA survivor having passed all three levels on the first attempt within 18 months - the shortest time possible.