Applying to the Big Firms


With application season continuing all year round, it is imperative as a young professional to truly understand the logistics that goes into applying for a job, especially for the big banking, consulting, and accounting sector. For many of these companies, hiring managers are searching for reasons to rule out applicants. To help better prepare your application in the best light, make sure you invest a strong amount of your time to design a strong and viable foundation that can help design and showcase your personal and professional background and achievements in the best possible way.

Now to start, it is imperative that you understand the type of company and job you want. For many people, it is easy to say that you want to work for Goldman & Sachs or Bain Capital, but to have a strong and holistic understanding of the nature of the job, it is imperative to your job application that you do a sufficient amount of research and cross-examination for that desires and needs of your future employer. To help narrow down your options, think about the kind of position you want and the type of qualifications and assets that you can bring to the table. For many of these high-level positions, they are seeking world-class applicants that are the Jack-of-all-Trades if you will. While this may seem daunting, do not let this discredit your educational and professional work experience. Consider the field and the position and the skills that are required from you and your future employer. If you feel that you have an ample amount of knowledge and skills to handle said-position, continue doing your research. If you feel it may be a bit of a stretch, still do further research. There may be other alternatives for you to get to that position in a different path. The main thing here is for you to create strong and tangible goals that can help proliferate your professional trajectory in the best possible way.

Once you have done a strong overview of the various positions and companies that you are interested in, make sure you take a look at their recruiting timelines. While hiring may be an ongoing thing, do not make the mistake of missing specific recruiting applicant timelines. For many of these big firms, they take weeks, sometimes months to decide if an applicant is right for them. Because of this, they have set specific recruiting timelines in the Fall and Spring, most usually around January to seek prospective applicants from all different backgrounds. By paying attention to the recruiting timelines, you will be able to take advantage of any recruitment events and meet and greets that can get your foot into the door.

Once you have mapped out the recruiting timeline, go back to the drawing board and review the position and application requirements. During this process, you should only have a handful of companies to look at, especially if it is within one of these specific fields and firms. Make sure you do a strong amount of research on the company, the company’s history, and the company’s goals. In addition, look at the application requirements. For these positions, they will go beyond the standard background information and ask you to do various case studies. If they have a particular application toolkit, make sure you utilize that to your advantage. The more prepared you are, the better. In addition, take a look at this in this perspective, much of these interviewing processes are strong learning experiences for the next opportunity. What you say and do that be big factors in helping you move forward in getting that dream job. Now, last but not least, make sure you know what your position entails. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to only know the position by the title itself. Do your research and even ask and interview friends or mentors who are in similar fields. This can give you a greater insight into the type of work you will be doing in the future, while also highlighting your knowledge to a said-hiring manager.  

As you are going through the application process, just know that this will take a lot of time and dedication to truly know the ins-and-outs of the business. Every task and preliminary application case study you will be working on will speak loudly to the type of worker and application you are to whoever is reviewing your work. With that being said, make sure you give yourself an ample amount of time to work on your application. For these companies, they want to see an investment portion as well as the skill during this process. Be cognizant of any mistakes and take a third or fourth look before submitting anything. Any preliminary sloppy work can be incredibly costly to your chances. Remember, not many people have this shot to make it that far. Show them that you are the person that they need.

Last but not least, practice specific interview questions. In many of these situations, you will be asked to interview in a variety of ways: Skype, phone, or in-person interviews. To get you ready for those situations, make sure you have a holistic understanding of your resume, your application coursework, and your knowledge and understanding of the company and the position. Besides the standard application questions, try and think of higher order thinking questions about your previous jobs and what skills can be transferable to that new position. This can give them a greater insight of what you can do for them in the future.

Good luck.

Setting Goals for your Professional Career


Regardless of who they are, successful people always have goals. When establishing yourself at the workplace, it can be easy to feel suffocated, confined, and worrisome with the lack of direction to help navigate your steps within your chosen field. That is why I highly recommend that establish your vision and goals for your professional future before making any type of actions at your company. Having a clear vision of the end-state will allow you to set necessary steps to achieve success during your tenure at your company. For this to be beneficial, you need to be crystal clear on what you are looking to achieve and how it will shape your professionally.

While easy as it may sound, creating professional goals are incredible tough. Yes, we can all throw the goal that we want to be the next CEO of a company. While I will not criticize your professional ambitions to make it to the top, I will question whether or not it is plausible, especially if you are unqualified for said position. When creating your professional goals, you want to make sure it will do two things. The first thing your goals should do is that it should challenge you each and every day. Many people need this type of motivation to get them through the mundane task at the office. They need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Having the goal to move up within your company as a manager or director is a perfect way to start. Now, as much as you want to shoot for the stars, you also want to be tangible. This brings us to our second requirement when creating professional goals. While asking to be the next CEO or the next Mark Cuban is always fun to talk about, having this as a goal can be extremely detrimental to your overall success and growth as a professional. Your goals are meant to push you to be better than who you are. They cannot push you to your best if you know they are unattainable.

So how do you create professional goals? What should you do to make them as effective and beneficial as possible?

Start off by avoiding vague words. One of the hallmarks of a good goal is that they are well detailed and crystal clear about what you are looking to achieve in the future. Oftentimes, people create various goals like “get more clients,” or “make more sales.” While the concept is understandable, the actual goal itself is not. When creating your goals, try and be as specific as possible. Get it down to the number if you have to. Creating your goals in this manner will allow you to internalize what you are actually looking to accomplish each and everyday.

Now, just having a goal is not the only step in creating your goals. In addition to creating your overarching goal, you want to make sure you have efficient and effective steps that can lead you to your goals. Think of these as mini-goals. These particular objectives are meant to help you conceptualize your path for success. To help improve this, try and make sure these steps are able to measure progress. This will allow you to analyze whether or not you are on or off track when it comes to your achievement.

One big mistake many people make is that they are overly optimistic. Earlier I spoke of having tangible goals. The same concept applies here. Now there is nothing wrong with aiming high.  But creating unrealistic targets cannot only hinder your progress, but derail your success entirely. Remember, your goals are there to motivate you, not hinder you. Being overly optimistic of an unrealistic goal can backfire if you are unable to hit that goal. To help conceptualize tangible objectives, try talking to your manager. They should be more than happy to help break down your path for success. At the end of the day, you both are playing for the same team. Utilize this help, and begin building that action plan.