As Wall Street firms continue to consolidate, many financial professionals are losing their jobs. Others are having a difficult time finding work. Very few have been able to walk away from the financial crisis completely unscathed.
“What happens when a big company buys a smaller one is that they find out that they’ve got functions that are duplicating each other,” Kerry Given, Founder and Managing Director of Parkwood Capital, LLC, told StreetID. “They realize they can get rid of some people.”
Consequently, Given does not expect future job growth to come from firms that are taking advantage of this M&A trend. Rather, he thinks job seekers should look elsewhere for employment.
“There are still jobs that are being created but they’re kind of in these specialty niches,” said Given. “There are some brokerages that are starting up and growing, and they are typically brokerages that are serving a particular market segment. It’s no longer like the Merrill Lynch (MER) days where you have a huge firm that is everything to everybody. Now the ones that are growing are the one that have hit particular little segments.”
Given said that a good example of this is OptionMONSTER and TradeMonster from Jon and Pete Najarian. “OptionMONSTER is basically their education website,” said Given. “TradeMonster is a classic brokerage that’s catering primarily to options traders, so they have chosen a specialty market segment.”
Most significantly, Given said that both of those firms are hiring.
Rethinking Your Resume
Many job seekers produce one resume and send it to every prospective employer they can find. Some will go the extra mile and tweak each resume to cater to each employer. That might seem like a lot of work, but Given thinks that job seekers need to take this even further and produce two distinctly different resumes.
“You might have a resume that’s kind of simple; a resume that’s as short and hard-hitting as possible — no more than two pages at the very most,” Given advised, adding that it might be best for job seekers to save their most detailed resumes for the first interview. “[At that point] you have the luxury of having an interested audience, so they might be interested in reading a four-page resume. But early on I think it’s important that you really distilled this thing down to be as efficient as possible.”
Given said that it is very important that there is value in every word on every page.
“I think you should read your resume and prepare for your own interview,” he added. “In other words, read your resume and [ask yourself], ‘Okay, what’s somebody going to ask me about?’ If I make a point that I increased sales by 300%, I better be prepared for the question that basically says, ‘How’d you do that?’ and have a good answer for that.”
Given also recommends that job seekers rehearse their answers when preparing for an interview. “Make sure that you can give a good answer in 30 seconds to a minute,” he said, adding that the interviewee needs to be prepared for follow-up questions. “You need to be able to communicate quickly. Otherwise you lose your audience.”
Also, it never hurts to check for spelling errors. “I was shocked at how many resumes had misspelled words and bad punctuation and just bad English,” said Given. “That was really surprising. People talk about making a good first impression — well, that resume is your first impression before you even walk in the door.
“Sometimes people don’t spend enough time on their resume, and I think that’s due to today’s generation is used to texting and tweeting so the value of a good piece of literature, I guess you’d call it, is kind of underrated. I don’t think they think it’s that important. But it is important.”
With regard to his resume, Given said that one of the most important pieces of advice he ever received was to look at each item on his resume and ask himself, “So what!?”
Jesse Marrus is the Founder and CEO of StreetID, a financial career matchmaking, news and networking site.