A new study shows that, on average, banking professionals have only about seven weeks - 50 days, to be exact - to find a new post in the financial services industry after leaving an old one. Why 50? It's all about acting fast and avoiding the "S" word.
The U.K.-based Financial Services Authority broke down the data, finding that hiring practices at 10 big London banks found, on average, that it took just over seven weeks to land a new job after leaving an old one. After that timeframe, the study found getting a banking job tends to be a tougher slog. In fact, after six months, your chances of getting a new post in the banking industry are significantly reduced. How can you speed that process up? Try these career-saving tips:
No Sabbaticals (The "S" Word)
Banks are dynamic and hiring managers at financial institutions want new employees to be up to speed on changes in regulations, technology innovations, and trading practices. Even a six-month sabbatical can make you, in banking parlance, a weaker asset base from an informational point of view.
Do Your Homework
Banks want new hires who are plugged in to what the bank is doing, what its business strategy is, and who can hit the ground running without any major learning curve. Before interviewing with bank hiring managers, study the bank's mission statement and bring it up during the interview. That lets a hiring manager know you're committed to what the bank is doing.
Get "Insider" Knowledge
Study online job boards and seek out reviews of the bank you're pursuing from former employees. Both Glassdoors.com and CareerBliss.com offer company reviews and insider knowledge about financial services companies. Bring that insider info along on your interview, and use it to talk knowledgeably about the bank. Managers want new employees with insight and curiosity about how the bank operates - it shows them that, again, you're committed to the company and want to help the bank meet its goals.
Studies show that most jobs, in banking and in most industries, come from insider job referrals. For example, the accounting firm Ernst & Young fills 45% of its available jobs from employee recommendations. Take advantage of that "quick path" by building up your list of contacts on career-oriented social media sites like LinkedIn.com. Let other professionals know you're looking for a job in banking. Scour your contacts list for former associates in the industry and drop them a line. You'll need to be aggressive in your job search, and employee referrals represent the shortest route to a new banking job. Always remember, landing a great banking gig is all about the numbers – the more people you contact, the better your odds.
Back to School
Dial it back and contact the alumni office at your college or university. Alumni offices are treasure troves of information and access to banking professionals who have become big decision-makers for their financial institutions. So, contact your alumni office, ask about job opportunities, and ask for contact information to request informal interviews with bank executives who went to your school. Alumni offices are gateways to great jobs in banking and on Wall Street. Don't ignore them.
The Bottom Line
Sending a resume blindly to a bank is likely a waste of time. Follow the tips above and shorten that job search cycle to within that 50 day "red zone."