100+ job applications, 4 interviews - is it time to "give up"/face the music?

Hi, I'm 24 and I would like to change my job into something more numerate in finance/banking - FO. I'm currently in a role that involves research - MO.

I have applied to over 100 jobs, received 4 interviews (2 of which I never heard back from again despite chasing up) and I'm at a bit of a cross road. I have applied internally several times which accounts for 2/4 interviews but now internal HR pay me no mind. They don't even reply back to my emails. :(

I believe I am well educated (masters level), strong cv and interesting experiences. I have worked VERY VERY VERY hard to be where I am.

I wouldn't say I've lost hope but I wouldn't say I'm too far off. God forbid I send another 100.

Should I just give up? I mean 100+ is a lot!

Comments (33)

Sep 28, 2017

Just got rejected from a role :/

Sad! I've only had 1 year in finance/banking. It was an analyst programme too. So it's not like I am untrainable...

Sep 28, 2017

NOPE, just reinvent yourself. change your C.V format. Update your LinkedIn Start using LinkedIn to network, And be purposeful with everything you do, I wouldn't mind helping you out with your LinkedIn,

    • 1
Sep 28, 2017

Thank you! You are so right. I will not give up AT ALL! By the end of this year I will be in a FO role doing what I love! I have been applying for jobs all morning/afternoon. I know my time will come!

    • 1
Sep 28, 2017

keep going man!
dont be this guy!

Sep 28, 2017

There is not enough information here to determine what, if anything, you are doing wrong.

Sep 29, 2017

you're not doing anything wrong per say
just network more
my first internship i blindly applied to 139 places, heard back from 5 and they were all rejections...
after having someone refer me at every firm/place I apply to the %of interviews has gone from 3.5% to ~90%
just make linkedin your new life and message everyone who is connected to your school/you

Sep 29, 2017

100 is nothing. Also, get a head hunter.

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Best Response
Sep 29, 2017

100 applications, as said above, is nothing. Just to give you some perspective from when I initially broke into finance to now, my applications number 600+ (and that's only the count on LinkedIn jobs). Keep in mind that number doesn't reflect other job boards and the countless cold emails/phone calls I've made. Get well acquainted with rejection and failure. It's a part of the process as is success, and you need to have enough confidence in yourself where you can internalize that. Also, life is all about embracing what makes you uncomfortable. You got rejected over 100 times? Great. Now go for 200. Get rejected 200 times? Wonderful, now go for 300. You get the picture.

It really comes down to how badly you want it. If you've worked "VERY VERY VERY" hard to get to where you are, can you live with giving up? Something tells me you can't.

You need to also ask yourself- are you doing enough? In addition to applying to jobs, are you drafting and sending cold emails? Are you networking with finance professionals and meeting up for coffees/lunches? Are you utilizing every tool at your disposal to get to where you need to be?

If not, get to work, and don't stop until you accomplish your goal. PM me if you need help.

    • 16
Sep 29, 2017

Great post Anon, I'm hoping to break into finance after I sit for level 1 CFA in December. I know its going to be a long road ahead, can't give up though.

    • 1
Sep 29, 2017

Absolutely. You need to be willing to just keep on keeping on. Perseverance is a hell of a thing.

Oct 7, 2017

Hey Anon, that was a great post. I'm in a somewhat similar situation as OP. Would it be ok if I PM'ed you?

    • 1
Oct 7, 2017

Of course.

Sep 29, 2017

I sent out around 250 emails applying to boutiques. That landed me around 10 interviews, and then I got an offer. It's a numbers game man, just keep at it and you'll eventually get something.

It would be a shame if your 101st email got you your dream job, but it never got sent out.

    • 3
Sep 30, 2017

Were these 100 targeted job apps, or just throwing stuff against the wall hoping something sticks?

there is a difference between the two

Sep 30, 2017

You think 100 is a lot? I sent in 500-600 applications for my first job out of undergrad. I ended up breaking into banking at a solid MM post-graduation. Anything is possible with a bit of luck.

    • 1
Oct 6, 2017

I'll tell you the same thing I tell kids in school who are panicking because they didn't get an offer in IB or whatever.

The only way you will fail is if you quit.

Period.

Unless you're not that intelligent or a complete ass, you will eventually catch a break. Trust me, i know it sucks. Lots of people know it sucks. But the only way you will get what you want is if you keep going.

There's a >0% chance that every single coffee, phone call, or interview will result in a job.

There's a 0% chance that doing nothing will get you a job.

You're 24? I've never met anyone who was 35 who said "man I've been trying for the last decade to get into IB, I just can't do it. I'm perfectly prepared and polished and I just am not lucky enough." That doesn't exist. Either you stick with it and get to where you want to be or you quit and you don't.

Stop posting on WSO and go memorize the 400 questions guide, practice crafting your story, and send a couple emails. Leggo bro, you got this.

    • 5
Oct 6, 2017

100 applications is not a lot, you are just warming up. Good news is that you are getting interviews... which means your resume is at least broadly in line with what they envisage might work for the role. In my opinion that is more than half of the battle. What went wrong at interview? Were there any technical questions that you didn't nail? How was the rapport with the interviewers? They wouldn't waste their time speaking with you if there wasn't at least a rough fit. For the 96 that you did not get an interview, did you follow up?

The best advice I could give you apart from being able to nail every question you can think they might ask you is to develop a very well thought out question list for them. It goes without saying that you shouldn't ask questions where the answer is freely available, you also shouldn't ask something obscure/confidential. However you should research a topic related to their business, ask a broader question to start the conversation on that topic then wow them with your thoughtful conversation.. It has to be subtle but it is a strategy that I have seen work well. Its great to have those questions with an interviewer who is difficult to build a rapport with (fills the time with something positive to your application)

Finally, watch the movie The Usual Suspects. You need to be like Mr Soze (i.e., willing to do what the other guy isn't).

    • 1
Oct 7, 2017

giving up isn't a thing man. i tried giving up a whole bunch of times and, if you're truly built for this, then you never actually stop trying. sure, you might take a step back, rework your approach, and fine tune some things, but that's only just to chase it again and put yourself in the mix. not sure how old you are, but i'd place a relatively safe bet on the fact that you (most likely) have more than half of your life to live. Just cus things aren't working out now, doesn't mean they can't work out in a year from now? right? no one ever said this was gonna be easy bro, and some may even tell you it's not worth it. You won't know until you do it yourself... everyone on this forum faces their daily trials and tribulations, and i know for damn sure that many of us have gone to pretty far lengths to try and make it happen .. sometimes to succeed .. many times only to fail. that's life. Taking a swing at things is naturally a risk, but when you connect, it's always a home run, and when you fail, it's an embarrassing strike out. Doesn't mean you don't go back to bat bro! keep your head up and send 300 more! Talk to people just to talk to people. If you're in it for the means, then I can guarantee you that you won't make ends meet. Plant seeds, cultivate them, and execute when the time is right, and have some fun doing it for pete's sake! cheers bro

P.S. i'm not sure what you're doing to "apply," but i'd suggest talking/reaching out to as many people as possible. even if they're not hiring or have no damn idea about their firm's recruiting efforts. practice telling your story. find what works and what doesn't. I've realized that you can be the brightest individual on this planet, but if no one is following what you're saying, then it's ultimately pretty pointless. by practicing I mean adapting your story to the situation. if you're telling an Asset Management firm, an m&a advisory boutique, and a capital markets desk at a BB all the same story, you're doing it wrong. Connect the dots. Unfortunately, the lives we've chosen require us to express a reason for the reason for the reason as to why we even breathe. it's just the nature of the beast. you got this!

    • 1
Oct 7, 2017

100+ is less in my opinion to give up. I got 3 calls after my first 100 applications. None were converted. I got my current opportunity at 404 application with 7 interview calls (that;s the number I lost count at. My actual number will be around 500 i guess :D ) . Mind you being a foreigner in France I did not know the language. Took 20 hrs a week classes during the summer and started applying in French. Started getting calls because I started applying in French. But hey lets be realistic. Even after two months the level of improvement in my language skills are nothing compared to people who speak it fluently. But that did not matter. Got an offer in Project Financing. But I did not like it so did not join and kept applying. Currently, I am in MO in the Markets division of an investment bank. Yeah I know MO is not fashionable but I just wanted to get my foot in through the door.

Uber got rejected 537 times before being funded. My goal was to keep trying until I reach that many applications and some more.

Its just like Elon Musk said "If something is important enough for you, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor"

Cheers

"The markets are always changing , and they are always the same."

Oct 7, 2017

I don't think that I've ever gotten a job that didn't start with someone contacting me first (e.g. recruiter or someone in my network). It's just too competitive to go it alone. On the other hand, I've ignored lots of recruiters who've reached out to me, so how can I be angry that some recruiter seemingly does the same to an application?

Oct 7, 2017

I completely agree! To be honest it's either FO or Management Consultancy for me. Hopefully by the end of the year!

Oct 13, 2017

Thanks for the messages guys. I got rejected from about 4 more jobs this week. Feedback from my the recruiter was "overall positive but we have decided to go with 2 other candidates closely in experience".

Another big blow! I've been networking and usually that is my thing! But yesterday I felt so down. Luckily my mentor who is a big MD was around and told me not to worry my time will come. She's tried to help in the past but to no avail.

I cannot lie I feel really depressed and rejected. I have a video interview for an internship. Imagine, I'm contemplating leaving a full time permanent job for an internship that only lasts 12 months!!!!

I honestly feel so sad but oldly determined.

One day, all these people who didn't give me the time or day, literally looked down on me will regret it. I just need to buss my ass off to make it happen for me! But it is very hard! I hope I get my break soon!

Oct 13, 2017

ill give you a tip, find an sec directory of registrants or something of that nature, a database of firms registered with regulators (pretty much all firms are). thatll give you a brute force method to go through the full list and uncover names u never seen before. good luck

Oct 13, 2017

It is getting to be quite late. If you haven't, call places and let them know you'd be willing to work for free (it helps but you'll need to apply for academic credit with your school). Another option is to take the upcoming fall term off from school and do an off-season internship since it might be easier to find.

Oct 13, 2017

How are you limiting your search geographically?

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Oct 13, 2017
happypantsmcgee:

How are you limiting your search geographically?

Anything within 45 miles

I can't afford to relocate to another city, even for a few months

Oct 13, 2017

I got my internship last summer in may. Don't give up.

Oct 13, 2017

What city are you in?

I had three boutique banking interviews the last week of may last year.

Oct 13, 2017

ive had a couple in the past week

Oct 13, 2017

I'm cold calling boutiques every single day. I've called about 200 or so in the past month. Got 2 interviews. Some banks haven't even started looking/interviewing yet for internships. I know because I followed up. Keep at it. Instead of doing google search, try and use CapIQ to find a list. I searched for investment banks in NYC and came up with a list of about 650. I still have another 450 to go!

Oct 13, 2017