I've been writing for this site on and off since 2012, and while I don't work in the banking business per se, I work in a related field, and I've been lucky enough to have employed five great analysts over the years. So at age 43, and having been an employer many times over, I have a few insights as to what makes a good employee. I think WSO puts a bit too much emphasis on how to get a job, and maybe not enough on how to perform well in a job once you have it. So here we go.
Let me give you a few bullet points on my perspective as the employer, and what I'm looking for in a new analyst.
I'm busy. I am constantly putting out fires, and I need someone to make my life easier, rather than harder. That means:
- The money is less important than you think. I'm always willing to pay a little more to work with good people.
- I don't have time to train you, most days. You have to train yourself.
- I need you to make very few errors. Errors take up my time.
- Time is the most precious resource. Making a mistake that eats up a huge amount of my time is really the worst thing you can do
- If you can get yourself to the point where you can actually take some responsibility and manage stuff yourself, even better.
- How you represent the firm is important. On the phone, with clients, or even if you're running around in bars at night.
- Don't look like a slob. Also, extra points for paying attention to your appearance.
- If I can't put you in front of people, you aren't much use to me.
- If you remember things that I might be forgetting, and actually anticipate my needs, you will become a much more valued employee.
- I don't really want to know about your personal life. Not only will I not ask, but you shouldn't tell me.
- Maturity beyond your years is a huge asset. It's discouraging to think that you're working with little kids.
- You might be the best banker/trader/whatever in the world, but if I have to spend 100 hours to get you there, it doesn't make economic sense.
- My personal life is way more complicated than yours. Kids, sports, pets, house, family, grades, college, wife, in-laws, etc.
- Make me look good, and I'll hook you up. 90% of bankers will go way out of their way to help someone who helped them.
This should give you some tips for dealing with someone who is a little older, who is a managing director. If I think back, I was probably a bit more high-maintenance than I should have been.
As for getting noticed, it's not hard to distinguish yourself. Don't feel like you have to flap your arms and jump around to get attention. Your contributions are valued. If you do want to have a discussion of what a good job you are doing, best to do it in a very subtle way.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I'd love to see some input in the comments.