There are lots of job hunting methods in banking, but there's one that's often overlooked.
Managing your LinkedIn connection is a simple yet very powerful networking solution.
In this age of modern technology, most likely, recruiters will search for your name online. Having a good LinkedIn profile will give you the best way to present yourself formally on the web.
It takes only some minutes to create or improve your LinkedIn connections, so why not devote time to it?
You can establish relationships professionally.Forget about dealing with dancing cats that do not have anything to do with your banking career advancements.
You can ask for professional advice. One of the best ways to do this is by posting questions in LinkedIn groups.
You can share information. Give to receive. If you are willing to share with the banking community, you'll increase your social reputation. It will help you improve your career.
You can find unadvertised investment banking jobs. Be an applicant before even the company posts a job. That is, networking will help you build relationships with potential employers.
Growing network by adding contacts
Of course, this should be the first thing in your mind.
However, I recommend adding people using Advanced Search in a LinkedIn Premium account. For example, if you used regular search for investment bankers, you would probably have to deal with over 100,000 searches, but using more filters would reduce that number to a few hundred!
Using advanced search, you can greatly narrow the type of people you want to find. For example, you can search only the senior bankers in the mining industry that is based in Oakland, California. In this way, it will be easier for you to have coffee with them and connect with them.
But, advanced search comes at a price. If you’re really serious about networking, you must be willing to chip in a few bucks every month.
You can save your search in LinkedIn. If you do so, you will constantly be notified by LinkedIn if there are new members that meet your search criteria. It’s like having a perpetual prospecting machine!
Linking to first level connections would be easy if the first level connection is on Openlink. It means that you can message that person without using Inmail (which are paid). You will know if a person has activated Openlink if you find something like this in his/her profile:
Linking to second or third level connections would be more complicated because you need first to request for an introduction.
The way to send messages to a non-first level connection is by using LinkedIn Inmail. Inmail is available in the paid version of LinkedIn. LinkedIn Inmail looks like this:
For example, if you are connecting to second levels, you will have to be introduced by your first level. If you are connecting to the third level, you will have to be introduced by first to second then second to third.
Thus, you will need to send polite requests for introductions if you want to go deeper in your network.
It would be best if you can add as many first connections as you can. That’s why you should always go to your add connections page in the ‘add contacts’ portion under the ‘My Network’ category.
Linking to a mass group of people would be ineffective. You should give time reading your target's profile, and then create a personalized message to connect to that person.
Use search or advanced search (premium version) to find professionals that can help you in your career growth. You would like to find senior people (not necessarily HR) who already had a Rolodex of networks.
If you’re looking for great connections, go with a social media influencer. That professional would be someone who has quality connections with people you would like to connect. For example, if you want a great investment banking job, the best person to connect with would be a senior banker who is already connected with senior banker across different big banks.
If you want, for example, a specific banking role in the mining industry, you would like to connect with the person who is always a go to regarding investment banking in mining. Connect to more than one of these media influencers.
Sometimes it's a good idea to connect with investment banking authors or founders like me.
Joining groups would be one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to network with professionals.
It is one of the easiest ways because you will just have to find relevant groups and add yourself to it (unless permission is required to join). It is one of the most cost-effective ways to network because you will not need to send Inmail messages (which comes at a cost).
In LinkedIn groups, you can interact by commenting or replying to other posts. You can even send private replies by clicking the three dots below the comment:
You can also post links, questions or useful resources to the group. You can increase your visibility in the investment banking space you target just by being active in relevant groups.
Aside from commenting, posting or replying there are other good ways you can do to increase your visibility in the group.For example, you can ‘like’ a post which would show your profile to the person who posted the comment or post.
If you cannot find a group that would be a good fit for your networking needs, you could create your own LinkedIn group. But beware that it would take much more time than just joining an existing group created and managed by someone else.
Social proof is one of the keys to success in LinkedIn networking. Social proof is when other people are showing that they trust you and that other people should trust you too.Recommendations are very important if you want to get social proof.
Get recommendations from former bosses from your previous work or internship. Getting recommendations from current work is not quite polite because it would seem that you are ditching your current job and that you are looking for a new one.
Recommendations from senior people are great testimonies for employers.
If you want to provide recommendations, you can go to that connection’s account and then on the recommendation portion, you will be asked by LinkedIn if you want to provide a recommendation.
Don’t worry; you will have a say on the recommendations. You can do either of three actions: Accept it, request a revision or hide it.
If you want even more recommendations, write unsolicited recommendations for others. Be sure to write a great recommendation so that it would be accepted by the other person.A good percentage of those people would be giving back a recommendation to you.
You will also get more visibility because if those recommendations get accepted, your profile link would show in that person’s account.
Every time you finish a project, always ask if that person can write a recommendation back for you.
Endorsing skills is a simple, yet powerful tool to increase your personal brand and at the same time, engage your connections. Endorsing skills lets your network validate your skills. It works the same way as recommendations wherein your social proof is being strengthened by your connections.
Aside from requesting for endorsements, one good way to get endorse is to endorse others. Give in order to get. This can be simply done by going to that connections page and clicking the plus sign beside the skill you are endorsing.
The more endorsements for a particular skill, the more validated a particular skill is.
Optimize your Profile to be found
Decide what keywords would define what you are looking for. For example, if you are networking in order to get an investment banking job in mining, your keywords would most likely involve ‘investment banking mining’, mining banking, or any other relevant combinations.
Be sure to place the keywords in these four places: Headline, Current Work Experience, Past Work Experience, and Summary. These are the four places that are usually targeted by LinkedIn’s search algorithm.
You may not be a go-to person, but surely you will be able to answers questions related to your network targets. You may not be able to answer questions like ‘What is the usual adjustments in an LBO’ , but you could answer something like ‘What’s the address of Deutsche in New York?’ You can even just Google the answer if you don’t know it.
By answering the question, you will hit two birds with one stone: increase your visibility and show your resourcefulness and skills related to investment banking. Thus, you increase your reputation.
Follow other companies
Following other companies is a good way to get updates about your target companies. Most likely in the interview phase, you might be asked about recent developments related to your potential employer.
You can also connect with them or with their employees through the comments section of their post.
Don’t be afraid to connect with strangers. Remember, people are on LinkedIn to connect for business or job purposes, so approaching them for such reasons is very valid!
Finding investment banking jobs using “Open Candidate” Tool
Want to connect actively with possible employers but you’re afraid your company will find out? Open Candidate tool is for you.
Open Candidate Tool is a relatively new feature for job seekers. The feature began in 2016 in U.S., Canada and Australia, and soon will be rolled out to the rest of the world.
The Open Candidate tool is for employees who wish find a new job but don’t want their current employers to find about it. Using this tool will let job seekers to secretly indicate to recruiters that they’re interested in new career opportunities. Users will also be able to privately share details about the types of roles they are considering. They can also indicate a specific location, type of role and company size.
In other words, you can connect with possible employers using ‘lightweight and secret’ signals.
If your current employer is part of a group of companies, even the parent company of that group will not be able to view the information you share with Open Tool.
Before you use it, find out first if the tool is rolled out already in your country.
Always keep in touch!
One of the easiest ways to engage and keep updated with your contacts is to use the Keep in Touch tool on the right side of your screen. Persons who have work anniversaries or new jobs are featured here. You can either Like or Message your connections.
Having a good LinkedIn profile is the best way to organically increase your network. Here are some of the ways you can have an awesome investment banking profile.
Keep it simple. Fill out all the details required, but place only all things that are relevant to investment banking, unless you are filling out the ‘volunteering' form.
Prepare a good headshot and most recent and best version of your resume.Your headshot should be in a white background, you should be in business attire, head only, and look directly at the camera.
Limit your posts.Post only things that you think would attract the professionals you would like to connect with. For example, if you are targeting mining investment bankers, don't post about clean tech. Also, limit the number of posts in a day, say 2-3x only.
Control your social media presence. If you connect with professionals, they would most likely Google your name. So before they see quirky side of you, manage the privacy of your other non-professional social media accounts.
How about you?
LinkedIn is a very good online avenue is a very useful way to increase your networking in the banking world. Use it properly, and it will do wonders for your career.
How about you? How many first-level connections do you already have? Let us know with your comments below!