Nine Months of Soul-Crushing Unemployment - Advice Needed
About nine months ago, I was let go from my first post-grad position at a small RIA (a story that I shared here previously). I've since met up with my former boss a few times, and he confirmed that my position was eliminated - they haven't hired anyone in my place. That being said, my job search in the past nine months has been an absolute misery. I have been ghosted more times than I can count, showed up at final rounds only to find out I was totally unqualified to begin with, and had not one, but two separate offers fall through due to internal company reasons.
To give you a little more background, I have some experience in corp dev (six months as a intern, and few more as a contracted Analyst) for a small to mid-size firm, and a little over a year at the RIA prior to my layoff. Believe it or not, I had actually secured a full-time offer for the corp dev role out of school, but the pay was low enough to be barely livable in my city. I now sorely regret turning them down.
Finding another job has been a shockingly difficult experience. I feel like I've interviewed for everything under the sun - ops roles at local credit unions, small investment banks, real estate funds etc. I've made plenty of final rounds (and obviously the two offers that didn't work out), but everything has somehow found a way to fall through in the end. That being said, I have managed to distill a couple insights as to what might be holding me back:
Honestly, I feel like this is the primary problem. My resume gets me tons of phone screens/interviews, but when I finally get in front of the hiring manager, it's usually a different story. Once I describe my previous experience, I usually have to overcome the "You might be bored here" objection. I always try to have a coherent and convincing "story" behind my application, but it's still a tough sell a lot of the time. It's hard NOT to look desperate when you've been unemployed for over six months, and no one wants an employee that's going to jump ship in three months when a sexier opportunity shows up. I certainly understand their skepticism. I'm a pretty good interviewee, but Investment Analyst to Ops at a local bank is a hard story to spin at the best of times. I generally try to draw parallels between my previous responsibilities
- Skillset (or lack thereof)
This has only affected me in a small number of cases, but it's enough to be worth noting. The vast majority of my interviews have been fit-based, and I'm usually able to speak intelligently enough about my prior responsibilities that I don't get many technical questions or shit-tests during interviews. That being said, neither of my previous roles involved much financial modeling. In corp dev, most of my job was just scanning CIMs, putting together internal pitchdecks for the Board and dataroom/diligence tracking. As far as my year at the RIA, we were a wealth manager first and foremost. We did invest directly, but the rigor of analysis was nowhere close to a true AM/HF kind of shop. If you'll believe it, we weren't even building operating models for the companies we owned. Even full-on equity research is doing pretty poorly as an industry right now, much less the watered-down version on my CV. I've obviously been doing some self-study/Macabacus stuff, but it honestly seems like I'd need to look into one of the paid courses for any real improvement. Again, #1 above has been a much bigger issue across the board.
This one is more of a "maybe", but sometimes I do wonder. I'm currently in DC, and I'm wondering whether staying here is making things harder. I've only ever recruited in this area, but it's not exactly a financial hub, and some people seem to think that it's a particularly brutal job market. I don't tend to focus on this kind of stuff, but it's worth considering.
So anyhow, that's the gist of my situation. Definitely open to any and all suggestions, though I'm also just venting here. And finally, a word of caution to any hopeful undergrads that may come across this: Give some thought to the longevity of your career field out of school as well as how transferable your skills are. So much of the stuff you read online (on this forum and others) is laser-focused on getting a job in finance. There's precious little content focused on what to do when that opportunity doesn't work out. It's something I wish I had considered more carefully a few years ago, and I'm paying the price for it now.