Talking points

How to best increase your chances in the recruitment process

Jade Harvey, Recruitment Consultant, provides insightful advice to those seeking employment after school or university

11/01/2017

Jade Harvey

Recruitment Consultant

Schroders

When it comes to job hunting, it’s really hard to decide what you want to do and then know how to position yourself; particularly within the ultra competitive nature of the graduate job market. The gap between university and the skills you need for the commercial world makes the process even more difficult.

With the average number of CVs per graduate or internship role often running into the hundreds, it’s important that your CV is clear, concise and showcases your skills in an accessible way, so using bullet points instead of prose, as well as putting the most relevant information first on your CV is the best approach. It is important to include any work experience, even if it’s not in a relevant industry, and also any hobbies and interests as these demonstrate the skills and competencies you will bring into a company and will be one of the key areas where you can differentiate yourself from other applicants. Relevant work experience is hard to come by so recruiters don’t expect to see this, however, even something seemingly unrelated to fund management for example, such as a supermarket checkout job, would be relevant for a graduate programme role as it demonstrates a number of skills, not least the ability to deal with a very diverse array of people.

I have been in recruitment for 10 years and I do read CVs, I don’t gloss over them and I certainly don’t screen people in or out based on the institution they have attended. I am looking at the quality of the academics, however we are also looking for a validation of skills such as resilience and teamwork and we are not expecting people to be picture perfect as that is not what we need. We look for more well-rounded people who can effectively build relationships, influence, assimilate information, and make good, well-reasoned decisions. Any kind of activity you’ve been involved in, any kind of sports team, amateur dramatics group or hobby shows your proactivity and skills acquisition outside of academics, this demonstrates the unwritten skills development that we require of our graduates.

If you are thinking about fund management in particular, conviction coupled with humility are essential attributes. The ability to make a decision when the stakes are high, in the absence of certainty and the presence of risk, is something of a skill that it seems university does not teach effectively, and therefore budding investment analysts should take opportunities to develop these characteristics, whether it be through virtual investment games, or through other means such as university societies or leadership roles. You’ve got to have that resilience and capability to justify your actions but also take responsibility for your decisions, even when they are wrong. It is evidence of these behaviours that we often look for in applicants to this industry.

Similarly, commercial awareness is a non-negotiable requirement; if you want to work with the markets you need to follow and develop your passion for them as well as your understanding.

While good academics is a bit of a given, we are also looking for signs of someone who is developing a sophisticated grasp of the financial markets, and who will be able to make decisions that hopefully beat the market. We want to see evidence that you don’t just read the papers but that you interpret the information and form opinion with conviction. We are information rich, what we need are people who have a unique way of thinking and interpreting the data.

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Author

Jade Harvey

Recruitment Consultant

Schroders

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Julian Winser

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