If you’re early in your career and want a job in finance or investments, how do you do that?
New Zealand is small on a global scale. Our stock market makes up only 0.2 per cent of world markets, and our main financial-market fame is our currency being among the world’s top 10 most traded.
In recent years, the likes of Sharesies, MindfulMoney and KiwiSaver have made investing accessible and interesting. For many, a career in investment or finance is now a dream job.
You might like numbers, markets, dealing with people or helping make things happen. You might be attracted by sustainable finance or impact investing, which are new and exciting growth areas.
Here are five tips to try when applying for your dream job, or even for cold calling by emailing your CV.
Be engaging, be succinct
Make your cover email and CV punchy and short. Forget having pages about your teamwork excellence, loyalty or schooling. Focus instead on what gives you an edge.
Impressive university grades are good, but work you do for charities or sports clubs can differentiate you.
More valuable than playing sport at a high level is the coaching, mentoring and leadership you’ve done.
And simple things like how you sign on and off an email give clear signals – “dear” and “yours faithfully”, or “kia ora” and “ngā mihi”, or “hi” and “thanks and regards”.
What you write is not just about what you tell people, it’s also how you want to make them feel. Colour and simple graphics can help you stand out, and if you do only one thing, get someone to check your grammar.
Expressing self-awareness in your email and CV is invaluable. Know what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at. What motivates you and what is your passion?
Self-awareness also shows from what you’ve posted on social media over the years – how you exercise personal judgment is there for everyone to see.
Remember it’s not all about you: your approach should not be how the employer can advance your career. Turn this on its head – how can your skills help this company flourish?
Just as important as contributing skills is demonstrating you’ll fit the firm’s culture.
Personalise your approach
An email to “Dear Hiring Manager” is unfriendly, address it to a person. Reference, even in a small way, what the business does or what its purpose is.
For example, if a firm specialises in ethical investment and you don’t mention it, then you’re unlikely to be considered.
Also, if you use the same impersonal email template for multiple companies it will be obvious and easy to ignore.
If you are emailing firms hoping to get a job, you may need to spread the net widely. Don’t get disillusioned, you will get lots of knockbacks, and despite firms’ best intentions to reply to everyone, some will ignore you.
Don’t take that personally. All going well you be offered an interview, which makes the opportunity real.
Remember, you need a CV and good written skills to get you the interview, and a CV and good interpersonal skills to land the job.
– John Berry is chief executive of ethical fund manager and KiwiSaver provider Pathfinder Asset Management, which is part of Alvarium Wealth.(This article was originally published by Stuff July 12, 2021)
John is committed to making ethical investment accessible to all NZ investors. Before co-founding Pathfinder in 2009 John worked in law firms and investment banks in Auckland, London and Sydney. He has a BCom/LLB(Hons) from Auckland University and is a board member of Men’s Health Trust.