How to ask someone for a job

Making Gravy's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,884

I have two contacts at two funds I'd like to work for. One of them has no junior team, only a handful of partners and one "fellow" who is current pursuing their MBA at Stanford.

How do I ask for a job?

The other works at a company with a couple of analysts who are about 1 year into their jobs. How do I ask him if I can interview when the time is right?

The latter I am more familiar with and go get drinks to talk shop with every few months.

Thanks!

Comments (62)

Feb 12, 2018

The exact wording changes depending on the context of your recent interactions with them, but at it's base, it's about letting them know that you're really interested in what they do and that you'd be excited about an opportunity to interview with them if a position opened up

Feb 12, 2018

Thanks. I think I can swing that for #2. For the guy who has made it clear that they don't have junior employees, it is much more context dependent. I think I have two routes:

Passive: "If you ever have any opportunities, I'd be excited for the chance to interview"

Aggressive: "I've been doing edtech consulting for a year and I know I'd bring a lot to the table at your fund, the portfolio of which I have tracked closely for years. Will you consider interviewing me for an associate position? I am happy to and capable of performing sourcing, diligence, modeling, etc..."

Best Response
Feb 12, 2018

Nice, yeah I think that's a good way to think about it. There's not a right answer, but personally, I'd lean towards the "passive" approach and see how they respond to that. (That probably says more about me than whether it's a better strategy). Admittedly, the most likely outcome is that they just say "sure we'll let you know" and you may or may not hear from them again. That being said, I think it leaves open a better path for continuing the conversation and staying in touch over the longer term assuming you think you'd still be interested in working with them down the line

The tougher part about the "aggressive" approach is that it "requires" a more immediate and definite answer. And for a firm with no junior people, the hurdle to bring on someone at your level is that much higher. From their perspective, they'll have to figure out how much to pay you, get you all set up with desk/office space, determine what kind of work to give you, etc. etc. That being said, the advantage of this latter strategy is that you're likely to get a more direct answer one way or the other

Feb 12, 2018

Your aggressive choice needs groundwork. Find out why they don't have junior employees. Will they need them in the future if the fund grows? Or is the business model such that they'll never need someone to do what you're offering?

Just like any good salesman, find out what your prospect needs before you pitch your services.

Feb 13, 2018

Recently someone emailed me after we had a quick call. Made changes to the email but it was straight to the point.

I had asked him for a work sample. If the quality is okay, then I will probably start hiring on a consulting basis.

Subject: Volunteer to help your project

Hi Naoki,

Hope you are doing well. Thanks for taking my call a few weeks ago. While going through school full time, I am wondering whether I can volunteer to help with any of your current projects.

My technical finance skills includes basic 3 statement modeling, valuation (football field, scrubbing comps, DCF) and conducting basic desktop dd. I am also able to use Capital IQ and Bloomberg to help you to get basic data and put together in a meaningful analysis for you and for your clients.

I am willing to work free to charge with the only condition of you mentoring me in putting together industry standard decks that I can use in future interviews. I am also wiling to sign a NDA to comply with your internal compliance.

Would this value proposition be something that you can entertain? Thank you for your time and for your consideration. Much appreciated.

Best regards,
Fellow Monkey

    • 2
Feb 13, 2018

@Naoki Hanzawa The problem with this, is that there is no such thing as "free" work, per say. From an employer's prospective, it will still come at an actual cost (think employee safety, HR, etc). Also, that is a nice e-mail. I do not fully understand the industry itself, but wouldn't the NDA will not allow the person to use the standard deck for future interviews? Forgive my ignorance on that part.

For OP, @Making Gravy , I would not try and get a job at the funds through contacts. I would network, and see if there are positions available and apply directly. However, it would provide you a better 'upper-hand' so to speak if they approached you knowing your background. This will give you 1) Leverage as an industry expert 2) Stronger salary negotiation 3) People are a lot nicer to you on referrals.

If you bug them too much about it, good chances are they'll give you the run-around or try and avoid the topic completely. Good luck.

No pain no game.

Feb 13, 2018

If there were no non-public material info on there - it should be fine. And they can always take out the sensitive info. And once the deal is done, those presentation decks will be released to public domain via company filings (SEC website). And a lot of the industry deck are standard info that are being combed from Capital IQ - as long as there are no proprietary data with company logo on it - it should be fine.

Feb 13, 2018

What do you mean not try to get them through contacts but rather network and apply directly?

As in, ask contacts to let me know when there are job openings and then apply?

Thanks. Really really appreciate the response. This has been my choke point so far: I've built this network at the funds at which I'd like to work but have no idea how to convert that to a job.

For what it's worth, they are at sector funds: I majored in that sector; and specialized in that sector immediately doing PE DD, so in all honesty I have that sector expertise (only mentioning because of your point about expertise--nobody has approached me though)

It's a shame VC recruiting is so much harder.

Feb 13, 2018

From my understanding if you've made a good impression, it's assumed that they will either refer you to their manager and if not, they vouch for you when screening. I don't think there's a way to explicitly ask tbh

Feb 14, 2018

Well, after all this, here I am with a job interview later today!!

It's a screener interview, but nonetheless excited.

Quick question: is it okay to talk about something the GP I'm talking to posted on twitter recently? I will be upfront like "hey was doing research prior to our call, saw you posted about [company]". It's a company in a space I can talk truly extensively about and give insights I'm nearly certain he hasn't thought of, is why I ask.

Feb 15, 2018

I would stick with the interview q's.

No pain no game.

Feb 15, 2018

yeah. quick.

they'll just say "No buddy. Good try."

Feb 15, 2018

I can't see "cold-emails" resulting in employment, but I don't think it will hurt you. It may result in some good networking; when the job market picks back up it will be helpful to have some contacts.

Feb 15, 2018

This is what I've been told about networking, that I have to ask them to advice, never ask directly for a job, speak with them about their careers, etc.

But a lot of these alums that I'm emailing work at smaller private firms. I'd feel like I'm actually wasting their time by pretending to call them and hear about how they got into the industry, etc.

I'm going to assume that they wanna help out someone from their school. What I hope to happen is that 1) If they like my resume and see an opening, pass it onto HR. 2) If there are no openings then just tell me no. Saves everyone time.

Anyone see anything wrong with my reasoning?

Feb 15, 2018
jason:

Anyone see anything wrong with my reasoning?

I get your point. But you have to make people like you (not just your resume) before they do favors.

They key about talking about the industry is that it gives you the chance to ask informed questions. Ask questions that show that you've done research into the field.

Still, the big thing is ettiequet. Girls know you want more from them than inane conversation, but you still have to go through it.

Feb 15, 2018

When you talk to a girl for the first time, do you say, "So, are we gonna have sex or what?"

No, you talk about some other crap and hope things progress to a proper level.
Email alumni and tell them you would like a little insight about their careers, experiences, futures, market outlooks etc.

Some of them ignore you, but some are happy to talk. After you've warmed them up a litle, then you can get direct. The best case scenario: they like you, and ask for your resume, and then forward it to hr.

Basically, be persistent, but not a pest.

Feb 15, 2018

haha great post :)

Feb 15, 2018

I think the girl comment is very insightful. E-mailing someone out of the blue asking for a job comes across as presumptuous and can really backfire, especially if you try to get a job at the firm later.

I don't know about your situation and experience, but at least remember there is still Spring semester recruitment for things like internal finance. Good Luck though!

Feb 15, 2018

But I am not asking for a job and I am not asking for an interview. I am asking if they know of a job that I can apply for. Basically if their firm is hiring or not.

If their firm is hiring then tell me and I will apply. If there firm is not hiring then tell me and I won't apply. Something wrong with that?

Do I really have to engage them and suck up to them for them to just tell me that Bill Smith down the hall is the HR director?

Feb 15, 2018

2.7? What have you been doing at school?

Feb 15, 2018
bumpthethread:

2.7? What have you been doing at school?

Fucking up, obviously. If it's one thing I learned, I don't think I'm cut out as a math major. There are a few successful people in my program. I didn't care to switch out into something else because I'm already this far in, may as well finish it off. I'm definitely not going to be considering any sort of post grad in math (lol who would take me?). Can't really do anything about it now though, have to move on and see what I can do.

And @ above. Thanks for the reply, sorry for the ignorance but what's MSF? If you mean masters in finance, how did you get in when you had a lower gpa than me if you don't mind me asking. I've looked into post grad MSF/MFIN /MBA and I'm not sure how I can really get accepted unless my final year is super stellar which it may not be.

Feb 15, 2018

Better apply to an MSF while you still can.

I graduated with a significantly lower GPA than you currently have. 1-year MSF was the cure.

Take this with a grain of salt, because I worked my ass off during the MSF program. From the day I got there I was hitting the phones and emails of people I wanted to get experience from.

Managed to get 3 relevant co-ops on my resume during my 12-month MSF program; set me up nicely for graduating with a job.

Feb 15, 2018

Thanks for the help! I was expecting to get ripped apart posting this thread haha.

Feb 15, 2018
toobored:

Thanks for the help! I was expecting to get ripped apart posting this thread haha.

No one's gonna rip on you unless theyre an insecure cunt.
notaspammer gave some great advice, try that

Feb 15, 2018

work in audit.

Feb 15, 2018
toobored:

Just wondering if anyone has ever cold emailed hunting for jobs?

I have. While I was hunting for jobs, I would apply to a lot of jobs online. Occasionally, I'd stumble across small local firms without job postings and send them an email with my resume. I didn't hear back from many of them, but occasionally someone would respond with an interview offer.

Feb 15, 2018

options:

  1. MSF -> reset button on recruiting. GO TO A GOOD SCHOOL AND FOCUS
  2. start at shitty part time jobs and work your way into the system

I did #2, and I'm making a lot less than the guys who got an MSF. I have a more varied experience and will get through Bschool sooner than them, but really, I wouldn't do it this way again knowing what I know now. I know several people with 2.7's that got great gigs by teaching themselves and networking, my grades were even lower, but you really might want to sit out the next 9-14 months in school considering that 21,000 people are set to be laid off in a few days...

Feb 15, 2018
Feb 15, 2018

I'm still confused about how you can get into MSF with a gpa as bad as mine? Aren't the requirements higher? I thought all my hopes for post grad are dashed.

Feb 15, 2018

Not really, they're much more straightforward than MBA applications. Kill the GMAT and you'll be ok. Hell, I was accepted into a program (in NYC) without even having taken the GMAT, just contact the head of the program and chat them up. MAKE SURE to research the recruiting options of the program, as each one has it's own network and focus.

Also, contact ANT, he's the resident MSF/MFIN guru.

Feb 15, 2018

If you know him well and won't hurt your relationship with them, it wouldn't hurt about asking about a position (Not for one), but have a specific position in mind when you are looking. So say for example there is a job you're interested in posted on their job site, let him know you are interested, why your skills match that job (don't have to spend a lot of time here if you know them pretty well but just to prove you're worth the time to try and help), and see if they can help you with contact information to learn more about the job from someone directly responsible for that posting. It would be hard for someone to help without any additional guidance as to what you want, by making it specific they are better able to address your goal.

I wouldn't ask for assistance finding a job, they are not going to google openings for you, but what you can ask if you want more generic assistance, you can have him tell you about different roles at a fund, other funds that you may not know of that you can look for opportunities at. I think that would provide more insight than just asking for a job. Good luck!

Feb 15, 2018

Best if you can get a name from a professor or someone the alumnus knows. If I get a call from out of the blue from Illinois, that's one thing- but if Prof. Erickson, Jeff from ACM, or Ted from Campus Crusade gave you my name and suggested you call me, that's quite another.

I would not recommend blasting out a mass, unpersonalized email to your alumni. Remember that these guys are the folks who will be hiring you next year, and you don't want to risk looking unprofessional.

Send me a PM if you'd like. We can talk about a few specific strategies for your situation.

Feb 15, 2018

Nah, don't do that, how much does it take to draft an email that you can use for multiple alums ? Just customize it individually, it could be worth it. Don't ask for a job directly, they'll ignore it most likely.

Feb 15, 2018

Think of how you would react to a college kid asking you for a job when other kids are trying to speak with you, meet with you, set up informational interviews, etc.

Probably not the best way to go about the job search.

Feb 15, 2018

Our OCD told us not to directly ask for a job. Build your network, keep in touch, talk to them, take time to get to know your alums and bring it up once you've established some connection. That's why you should start networking early on...it may be a bit too late now.

"Whenever I'm about to do something, I think, 'Would an idiot do that?' And if they would, I do NOT do that thing."
-Dwight Schrute, "The Office"-

Feb 15, 2018

Seems like a good approach, just make sure to gently word your email.

Feb 15, 2018

Have you tried your professors or just any of the finance/econ teachers at your school? A lot of times, they have connections with people at various institutions. They're a very good source of networking. You should definitely talk to your professors first.

Feb 15, 2018

its not too late for summer internships. its still january.. (maybe late for some elite boutiques and BBs, but most firms are still hiring). also, as a sophomore dont expect to get a FO IBD SA position at goldman or lazard.

Feb 15, 2018

Yes man, hard.

Think of the internship as an extended interview. And absolutely show them you want to stay at the firm after the summers over - commitment goes a long way.

Feb 15, 2018

wtf... i bet they gona kick u out if u just ask them up front

Feb 15, 2018

I would see what your acquaintance says and wait it out. A lot of people are out of the office this week so I doubt you are going to hear much back anyways. If you start firing off emails it may look a bit odd.

Feb 15, 2018
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Feb 15, 2018
Feb 15, 2018