Laid Off - Looking for some WSO Insight

Going on two months laid off as a 1st year associate in a Bulge Bracket Sales & Trading (see: Sales) role, looking for some advice on how to best approach this. My main goal would be to lateral into my role elsewhere, although my view on the long term of S&T in general is a bit bearish. 

I've been reaching out to my network, and seeing if people in the industry know of opportunities, or people to talk to. Roles have been sparse in my network (BBs are downsizing), Linkedin / Banks do not seem to have many openings on their sites for Front Office. I have received a few interviews from recruiters getting me in front of firms, and the occasional cold app, but nothing closed yet. 

I've considered moving divisions, or even cities if I absolutely have to. 

Recruiters have reached out for some opportunities in sales, IR, wealth management, and I have even looked at middle office & trading assistant roles, but not a ton of traction. The other downside is I would also take a large pay cut from BB associate S&T pay (although food on the table is more important). 

Feeling as though I am in some limbo where I'm an associate in a role that is not the most transferrable (structured product sales) to IB, ER, and convincing someone to take me on as an analyst in these roles seems unlikely given the nature of the market and plenty of grads in those roles already hunting. I've been rejected from MO roles, some of which not even giving me an interview (maybe they see a red flag in someone in FO applying?) I am also fully open to considering new career avenues such as consulting, tech sales or account executives.

Any advice from fellow monkeys is always appreciated. 


Hey there, I can see you're in a tough spot, but don't lose hope. It's great that you're reaching out to your network and exploring different opportunities. Here are a few suggestions based on the most helpful WSO content:

  1. Networking: Continue networking aggressively. It's often the most effective way to find job opportunities, especially in a competitive market. Don't just limit yourself to people you already know. Reach out to alumni from your school, join professional groups, and attend industry events.

  2. Broaden Your Search: You mentioned that you're open to moving divisions or cities. That's a good mindset to have. The more flexible you are, the more opportunities you'll find.

  3. Consider Other Roles: It's good that you're considering roles in sales, IR, wealth management, and middle office. While these might not be your first choice, they could be a stepping stone to something better.

  4. Upskill: Use this time to upskill. Learn new things that could make you more attractive to potential employers. This could be anything from learning a new software to getting a certification.

  5. Stay Positive: It's easy to get discouraged when you're job hunting, especially when you're not getting the responses you want. But remember, it's a process. Stay positive, keep pushing, and you'll find something eventually.

Remember, every setback is a setup for a comeback. Keep pushing and you'll find your way. Good luck!

Sources: Laid off, Depressed and Giving up...,,

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

Appreciate the response, yeah you never know what's on the mind of the other side of the hiring desk. My best reception on the outreach side has mostly been in buyside alts IR, or Fintech sales, which from research on WSO seems to be alluded to by other S&T postings. Those roles do seem lucrative, and usually firms willing to have a conversation or two. Other sales roles have reached out, with the hiring team happy to see a bulge bracket name, but the pay is just in some ways too hard to consider, and I'd rather keep riding on my notice period + severance than stepping out of industry just to have a job to fall back on. Recruiters have mostly hit me with WM / MO roles on the inbound side. I hate to be rude, but it seems recruiters are absolutely useless more often than not. Ghosting, missing intro calls, just positions they don't even seem to understand themselves. 


I would look for groups that are hiring within structured finance. I always see openings. Worst case scenario i would consider working at a rating agency or accounting company that audits cashflow models in structured finance so you can develop a well-rounded skillset in the space that you don’t develop in a sales role. For rating agencies i would only recommend krollcause they work on risky deals which is great for development. Second best is S&P

Most Helpful

To further expand on my answer, have you thought about working at a fintech company or any company that has a capital markets team where securitization is important for raising cheap cost of funds? Many fintech companies have flexible wfh policies and pay is not that bad. You can stay there until the economy improves and then bounce back. 

Main issues with securitized products sales roles:

  • it's a niche field, but knowing the investor base is extremely valuable. Unfortunately, this is more important in my opinion at the vp + level. As a Junior you are expected to run the desk, do grunt work, and probably don't have the same type of relationship your seniors do with that investor base
  • The perception is that you don't have a well-rounded skillset, modeling, doc negotiation, doc analysis, credit risk analysis, etc and coming in at the associate level  without those skills will inconvenience your current team. 

If food on the table is important for you I would recommend one of the following:

  • Rating Agency, but join one that works on whacky deals and does things most similarily to the banking side. I think Kroll will be your best bet. After Kroll I would join the rating agency that has the highest market share like S&P. They hire all of the time and your base salary might be competitive. Rating Agencies love former bankers and they can rarely get their hands on one. You might have lots of negotiating power for base salary, but bonus might not be all that great. However, you should be able to take vacation days unbothered and work life balance may not be as bad as banking (wl balance might be bad at agencies fyi)
  • Accounting role auditing cash flow models and collateral. Firms like KPMG, PWC usually have very flexible wfh policy. EY used to be 100% WFH. However, some of these firms are extremely cheap. Nonetheless, you will develop strong cash flow modeling skills here and combined with your sales background and high level knowledge of the asset classes you covered will prepare you for any role in structured finance
  • WOrking for an issuer. All issuers have capital market teams. I think your sales background will be valuable to a team like this. I'm sure there will be some modeling aspects and other analytical parts in these roles that will strengthen your analytical holes. 
  • Keep on applying to different banking roles

Good luck sir.


Just my two cents as someone who was let go from a FO trading role, and then took a MO/BO job out of desperation after months of unemployment - don't do it unless you're willing to give up going back to FO. Since I was let go over 3 years ago, I've transitioned through several MO jobs, and have still not been able to break back into trading again. I'm still trying and getting a few bites, but it's very tough.

You were only let go 2 months ago, so my personal opinion is you still have a few months to ride out the tough market and go for another FO role. Only go for the MO/BO jobs if you're strapped for cash and will be homeless if you don't get another job.


This is all very helpful, thanks all. My current takeaways through this process have been to definitely consider the avenues above (such as a rating agency, or fintech). I've also heard FO -> MO -> FO is basically a huge uphill battle. I have considered other roles within S&T (doing IG Cash / Equity Sales) to keep me moving in FO, although the market is sparse across the entire board. Recruiters always seem to pick up my resume for buyside IR / sometimes the off beat execution role, but I just cannot seem to connect as strongly vs say an ex IB guy looking for better WLB or someone already in IR at another shop. Another thing I have been trying to reflect on is the feedback that being laid off at the associate level,  while surely market related in this environment - also speaks to how my desk viewed my long term horizon with the team i.e. I was probably not going to make VP anyways, or at least anytime soon. I came in a bit bright eyed on S&T out of college, but through this harsh mess I don't think I can in good faith recommend S&T to the graduates of this world anymore lol.   


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