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AAAgent's landing a job "The Journal"

AAAgent

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In conjunction with my business journal, I want to start a "landing a job" journal. I know this would have been extremely helpful when i was applying for jobs straight out of college.

This is for myself to document what i did right and wrong and also for others to view my progress and the steps i took to get there. Hopefully there will be someone that finds this helpful.

I will be touching on updating resume, cover letter, how to find jobs and what sources, how to prep for an interview, what types of questions to ask during your interview, what types of questions to expect, how to answer the questions and what you should be doing while still looking for a job. I will be doing this until i land a job i want.

This is a bit different from the business journal as i started from the very beginning there personally. I'll have to retrace and write as if i was starting from the beginning here.

On a side note, i have an interview Wednesday for a strategy analyst position. It's a BOSS position as in great job. I need to get in the zone for this position and do my best to get the position.

So here's to my success or failure of getting that job.
 

AAAgent

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First task: Prepping before and during your job hunting process.

I've been passively job hunting for a while, but now it's come time for me to actively job hunt. I've pretty much been stagnant at my current role for a year in a half. I've been here 2.5 years and learned everything i could have in my first year. There weren't too many positions that my skills sets fit at the time. I realized that when i started applying that i needed to make myself more marketable if i wanted to make more than just a lateral move.

In the next 1.5 years i hustled to do the best i could and when the opportunity arose to stand out, i did it. We had 3 competitions and i won all 3. I won a total of 1k+ a trip to london all expenses paid. That wasn't enough as i didn't get good results from interviews or even enough interviews. I needed sales experience as well and couldn't get a job because i didn't have experience. Since no one was willing to give me the chance, i took it upon myself to convince the sales manager. I interviewed with her for an open position and she wanted someone more experienced, but i was able to convince to give me 1 account to maintain and sell. She finally agreed and i gave them a 5% uplift and made extra money in my pocket.

Also, during that time, i started my own business, put together a team, incorporated, performed a sh1t ton of research, networked, put together presentations, etc. in the end i failed but i learned alot.

Main thing to learn is always, aim to better yourself and make yourself more useful/valuable than you were previously. So although my job only had an opportunity to let me develop XYZ skills, i went out and developed ABC skills on my own time through doing the above. This is all just to make sure your marketable and have the skills that employers would like to add to their team and potentially bring you in for an interview. Otherwise your just Joe Shmoe and you don't want to be him, you want to be the guy that everyone remembers.
 

AAAgent

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Well that was very awkward. My current phone interview was a few minutes late and some other company i applied for calls me. I had to tell him now was not a good time as i was expecting another call in 5-10 minutes. right when that happened, my current interviewer calls me and i had to rush the guy off his phone and coordinate a new time.

May have lost a potential interview due to bad timing. He's supposed to call me at 5pm for a sales job.

My 2pm interview for the strategy analyst went ehh... maybe 5/10. We had a good conversation and did talk but she was not understanding what i was saying for a while (my fault). I did practice alot but my explanation was not refined. She said she'll have her assistant invite me in for an in person interview soon but if i don't hear back from her by end of next week (she said interview would be next week as the manager is traveling to asia, reach back out to her.).

She did say she'd like to bring me in, but i'd say this is a long shot and i'll be lucky if i get an interview. I did all this preparation and i basically choked. Note to self, more preparation.
 

AAAgent

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well that guy never called me back. Not only did my initial interview not go well with the other company, i had to cut this guys spontaneous interview/call off because the other interviewer was calling.

If you guys are wondering why i answered if i wasn't prepared it was because i was expecting a call from i number i didn't know from the first company but another company just so happened to call me at the same exact time.
 

AAAgent

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I agree with that. I don't have enough time to fully prepare. I'm not the greatest interviewer as i need tremendous amounts of time to practice otherwise i'm all over the place.
 

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AAAgent

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So i've been finding jobs through many different sources that i've listed below:

Go into any of those sites below and type in the name of the position you're looking for i.e. Strategy Analyst jobs, or enter in Keywords: strategy

Linkedin (lots of job postings that don't always require you to go fill out that long annoying forms)
Indeed
Monster
Careerbuilder
Google
Glassdoor
corporate websites
recruiters
Networking
 

AAAgent

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Generally how i prepare for an interview are to do the following steps:

-Memorize and fully understand the job description. If there is any part you don't understand do research.

-Memorize your resume and be able to tell a story from college to your current position, what you did in each roll and why you made those career moves. Tell is like a story, your last position should be taking you closest to where you want to be.

-Research the company (this is an obvious one, know who is leading the company, who owns the company if it has a parent company, the story of how the company started and why, and some key products of the company)

-Glassdoor the company. Look for potential interview questions on glass door for that position from that company, if there aren't any from that company, look at similar/other companies that offer similar roles and look at their interview questions and prepare to answer them. Then look at reviews of the company at glass door and see what people liked and disliked. Find a trend or nice things people have said that they liked and memorize that. When you get a chance in your interview, drop that line showing that you did your research "Through my research, i understand there is strong sense of pride and integrity working at xyz firm, do you believe that will transfer over if xyz firm decides to expand into a different segment that it hasn't operated in before?" Your showing you've done your research while praising the firm and also asking an intelligent question as the same time.

Also google search potential questions that are generally asked in the interview and then write all the questions down and then prep for all the answers.

Q: Why did you apply for this job?

Q: What should xyz company do to become the market leader in the next 5 years?

Q: What are your 3 biggest strengths and weaknesses.

A:I'm not sure if I know of 3 weaknesses that stand out but the first one that comes to mind is my optimism. I always see the positive side of things and try not to let negativity effect me and sometimes that can cloud my judgement.

My greatest strengths are also my optimism, balanced with creativity, and perserverance. Each goes hand in hand as sometimes when things get tough, my optimism pulls through and allows me to persevere and focus on my creativity.

Q: How do you handle tough questions or problems?

Q: Tell me about a time you were met with strong opposition to a problem within your team and how did you overcome this? What steps did you take?

Q: Why are you the best candidate for the position (why should we choose you)?

Q: Describe an instance where you disagreed with your managers decision and how did you handle the situation?

Q: Tell me about a time you faced adversity and how you've overcome it?



-----

I would write down all these questions and come up with great answers to them. Mock interview yourself and then answer the question professionally. Try to ask yourself the same questions that you believe they will ask you at different points of time when you mock interview and also ask yourself the questions above phrased differently (they will obviously not ask you the above questions the exact way you expect them to so it's best to test yourself in many different scenarios).

Although not all your interviewers will ask you these questions above, you will be asked them throughout your whole job searching process, so the more you practice, the more refined it will be.
 

AAAgent

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wow…..I got the second interview in person next week. I honestly think it was due to my thank you letter and the interviewer being extremely nice because i thought the interview went horrible.

My thank you e-mail is below and i sent it 1 hour after the interview for anyone interested in how quickly i sent it.

Hi xxx,

Thank you for your call this afternoon and it was a pleasure speaking to you.

It was a great chance to learn more about xxx as a company and it's tight knit yet entrepreneurial work culture. Through my research and our call, I believe the xxx brand name brings it's employees pride in representing a product that leaves a positive impact among its consumers, and this is the type of environment I would like to contribute to. I would also like to re-iterate my interest in xxx and the strategy analyst position. I believe my skill sets in research and analysis as a previous M&A analyst/fixed income analyst paired with my experience as an account manager in liaising with different internal and external business organizations/departments positions me well to hit the ground running in yyy's strategy and development team. My passion has also been to implement change and make a difference by improving current processes or identifying new ones. I look forward to hearing from you and bob regarding the next step and hope you both have a wonderful week.

Sincerely,

AAA
 

AAAgent

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They offered me a hotel room for the night before which i took. I normally wouldn't have taken it but it's an 8am interview and it's an hour 15 minute drive. Plus i would have to drive through New york city.

I'm practicing STAR behavioral interview techniques on potential questions. I'm also researching the parent company's annual reports, reading latest press releases, checking the stock price and also checking out competitors in the market to see how they've been doing. Interview is on Wednesday.

Worst comes to worst, if i don't get this interview, i'll at least have the majority of my interview skills down pat and can focus on research and correcting my weaknesses. Sucks that i really want this job and it's my first interview. I would have preferred if this was my 3rd or 5th interview.
 

AAAgent

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Well, tomorrow is the interview. There was a snow storm yesterday and it was pushed back 1 day.

I've prepped a decent amount. MEmorized the CEO's of the company, founding history and founder names and dates. Same goes to the parent company. I've prepared latest news on the company, latest M&A deals they've done, analyzed their financial statements for the last 3 years including their competitors so i know their Debt/Ebitda ratio and their competitors to see how they fair.

I've also prepped for the most likely to be asked questions and memorized my answers. From there it's pretty much a crap shoot and i'll need to use the STAR method for behavioral questions.

Any inputs on how i've prepared (over, under, or perfect, etc.) would be great and will update on my progress as to my thoughts on how i did and the results. I'll further prep tonight by reading through my questions and answer, and prepping good questions to ask my 5-6 interviewers.
 

AAAgent

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PairPlusRoyalFlush said:
Do you have any prepared jokes? Important.
haha, can't tell if you're serious or not. I don't have any prepared jokes but that might be something to add in, if i can somehow work it into one of my answers or something.
 

AAAgent

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Give me an example of a joke you'd use in an interview.
 

AAAgent

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Interview was decent. I'd say i did 7.5/10. Met with 6 different people over 5 hours and had a lunch. Although i didn't nail it like i hoped with everyone, my experience makes me a perfect fit for the role. Depending on how well the other candidates do, i think i have a good shot at landing this.

Sh1tty part about this is now i have to send out like 7 thank you emails.
 

AAAgent

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Just got a call back from that other company who's interview i missed. Had a quick phone interview with them and got the in person interview for next Friday.

The 6 person interview salary is around 80k (stable job no commission oriented) while the sales interview i had is approximately 75-80k first year and anywhere between 100-300k the second and third years, depending on how you build your books.

We'll see how this goes.
 

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AAAgent

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spent all last night exhausted after 6 hours of interviewing and then another 2-3 hours of writing thank you emails.

They called me back promptly letting me know they decided not to go with me. They said they all really liked me but felt like i was more of an analyst and they were looking more for an assistant.

They definitely advertised the position wrong. It was a strategy analyst role but the team is new and is only comprised of the senior director. They tell me when i get there it's about 50/50 split between being an executive assistant and analyst. As the teams so small they need someone to brief the director on all the people she's meeting, coordinate her schedule, book flights, track expenses and budgets, touch up presentations, etc. It sounded like 100% executive assistant role and potentially some strategy analyst responsibilities.

For 80k at a laid back job and room for it to grow into a position, i'd definitely consider toughing it out. Every single interview, each person asked me if i was okay with administrative work. I had to explain that i was to each person and that my job involves booking meetings, travel, managing expenses for myself on a daily basis....doing it for someone else would not be a problem.

Each person i met with highlighted the administrative responsibilities and I was starting to get the vibe that this role was going to solely be an executive assistant role. When you know your qualifications are perfect for the role and don't get too stumped on any of the questions, sometimes the optimism clouds your judgement.

Seems like they advertised the position wrong and should have advertised it to fit "Executive Assistant with Financial background" as opposed to "Strategy Analyst". But they essentially told me i was over qualified and told me to stay connected and connect on linkedin.

I was looking forward to getting out of the city......



UPDATE:

Speak of the devil- I now have another interview...
 

AAAgent

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I tried banking about 3 years ago and it's near impossible to get in unless you have amazing connections, come from a top tier undergrad, or get your MBA and start off as an associate. I still work in the IBanking industry as my current company sells services to the M&A advisory community which consists of bankers, lawyers, consultants, PR firms, PE firms, corp dev teams, etc.

I'm mainly looking for sales but if i see a position that i'm qualified for that i like, i'll apply for it as well. Mainly sales though. I'm thinking about 1 more year of sales and then apply for grad school.
 

AAAgent

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Well had the sales interview. He really liked me even though i was honest and didn't have much time to prepare (i found out Friday night I had the interview monday, plus i have to fly out to Canada today and had to prep for the trip all Monday and part of the weekend). He was basically offering me the job on the spot….telling me i'd be a great fit for the team…..

Then he tells me about how their have this new training program and how i don't have enough sales experience and i'd be a great fit for the lead generator role. Basically be the office b1tch/assistant for the sales team for 90-180 days and i would also be taking a pay cut. I make around 70-80k and he made it sound like i wasn't going to be close but when i spoke to the recruiter he told me Account Executives make around 70-80k first year if they hit target and 200-300k around their 3rd year…..

I looked around in the office and no one seemed to be dressing like they make 200-300k, not even the head of the office who was interviewing me (office is small about 15-20 people).

So i'm going to push for the AE role but now i really need to think if i should accept the job if he makes me take the lower position? Should i push for same salary as AE's and take the lower position so that at least I'm guaranteed pay if they don't bump me in time? I want to ability for my earnings to correlate to my work ethic but taking a pay cut for a lead generator role where there's no commission and not exactly a guarantee to move into sales (he said 90-180 days) isn't exactly what i applied for.

On a side note, I have another interview on Monday….that's 2 sales interviews on Monday. Someone just emailed me today for another interview and really liked my cover letter and I have my final round interview with the global head of sales for this lead generator/account executive role.

I'll also be out of the country until Friday and This weekend is Chinese New Years…….when it rains, it pours.
 

AAAgent

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Well in the sales interview i had yesterday it was for a Foreign Exchange sales position(FX). He really liked me when he asked me about the business i started and then asked me to explain what i currently do and what my company does. I explain what i do and what my company does all the time when i speak to my clients so that was a perfect pitch. I told him i really am new to the FX market as he asked me what i know, but i told him through my conversation with the head recruiter and my research i know about Spot/Forwards and how the FX market deals with different tiers of trading, bulge bracket banks, commercial, corporations looking to hedge and pay employees, and the market is the largest and most liquid in the world. He bought that and asked me why i was leaving my company. I explained how i positioned my career to develop certain skills such as analytical skills, relationship building/public speaking, and now i want to develop sales to become a well rounded business leader. He liked that.

Then he asked me what the euro was trading at and i totally said it backwards and he thought that was suspicious. He didn't expect me to know and i told him i don't really follow the currencies but i said the Euro is around 1.5 or 1.7 to the dollar. He said no and said it was 0.7. I got it reversed.

He then asked me if i had 10,000 euros at a rate of 1.36 how would i handle that…….I was stressed out for all my planning for my current trip and didn't know how to answer. He told me it was multiply or divide and i just guessed multiply confidently and he bought it. Then it was cake from there. He basically told me i was a perfect fit.
 

AAAgent

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Social_Leper said:
Ah grad school. So an MBA of some kind.

Have you ever thought about doing the CFA as a means to get into finance?
The reason i didn't get into banking is because i had horrible grades because i just really sucked in school, not because of partying. CFA will require double the amount of time for me than most people, and that stuff already takes too much time. I know some people who have spent 4-10 years just to pass all the CFA exams.

I was already an analyst at bloomberg and another data provider. IBanking is totally different from finance, you don't get in just because you're in finance. You either start in the industry or get an MBA to break in. Not saying i want to get into banking, i just want to get my MBA to open more doors. I'm good at sales but i don't think i want to continue doing it forever.
 
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