In this series, SuccessGoGo interviews successful professionals from banking, consulting and law to provide helpful insights on climbing the corporate ladder. In this interview, SuccessGoGo sat down with Michael, an investment banker at a leading investment bank in Singapore.
What's the best part about being a banker?
The width of exposure to multiple industries and businesses, interaction with leaders of industry and c-suite level management very early on in career and learning from senior bankers.
Did anything at school help prepare you for the job?
The soft skills you learn (teamwork, communications, project management, etc) in school probably matter a lot more than whatever is officially taught as part of your degree. The caveat is that you will also polish your technical and financial skills and knowledge to the level needed to pass the interviews and start on the job.
Your boss excitedly congratulates you at your promotion but upon closer look, you discover that this promotion is in name only! Or you do get a pay increase but the increase is so minimal it’s almost laughable (Eek!) What should you do in these situations? Here are 3 tips to help make the most of your situation.
1. Thank your bosses
While it is tempting to react angrily in these kinds of situations, it is in fact even more important to remain professional. That is not to say that you can’t react at all, and just brush this under the rug, in fact, you should actually convey some dismay and disappointment. This way, your bosses do know that you are not satisfied but are not offended because you handled yourself professionally. And if they don’t want to lose you, they know that at the next opportunity they should make sure to increase your compensation. In tough times, do know that pay rises aren’t personal, and it may be a cost-savings company-wide policy at the moment.
This is also a good opportunity to speak candidly with your boss about performance, where the company is heading, and how you can improve your advancement chances in the company in the longer term. All of these ground work will stand you in good stead in the next round of promotions.
5 Essential tips to make sure your resume works for you!
1. Follow submission guidelines strictly & searchable CVs
It is very important to follow submission guidelines to ensure that your CV actually makes the first cut. Make sure to stick to any word count guidelines and deadlines, and get your future employer’s name right!
Nowadays, MNCs often use automated fill CV software, which means that you should upload your resume in a word doc or searchable pdf. In such instances, it would best to stick to simple and clear formatting so the software can extract the relevant information accurately.
2. Mirror the job description
Always submit a personalized CV and cover letter. You can do so quickly and simply by tweaking the language to mirror the skills and experience requested in the job description. You can also do a quick scan and re-arrange bullet points to make sure the key points match what the job posting and the most relevant points are highlighted in your CV. Conversely, if a certain job experience or extracurricular activity is not relevant for this particular job, you can cut down this area while adding 1 -2 lines to expand other points which are relevant for this job post.
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1. Types and Number of Leave
Leave days are possibly one of the main benefits that potential employees look out for. Taking a closer look at your overall leave days, you should also look into the types of leave that your company offers and make sure you use them. For instance, family and childcare leave are in addition to standard leave days and can be really helpful for parents.
We are often told to “sell ourselves” in the competitive job-market. But what exactly does “selling yourself” entail? Is it just about being the most visible with a giant “Pick Me!” sign? Is it picking up your boss’ coffee every morning?
Many people would advise young graduates to take more initiative, stand taller and speak up louder. Indeed, nobody will be a better advocate for yourself than YOU. You know your own strengths the best, don’t be afraid to advertise it. Here are 3 tips on how to “sell yourself” in order to succeed in the modern workplace.
1. Show that you care
“Selling yourself” is not just about attending the most number of networking sessions possible. While maximum exposure always helps, in today’s world where we have an onslaught of easy-to-make connections and easier-to-forget acquaintances, a genuine show of concern will help you stand-out.
In networking sessions or whenever you meet someone through work, you should try to adopt a ‘giver’ mind-set. As you strive to make personal connections by helping others (instead of focusing on how you benefit), you will find that you stand to gain yourself. More often than not, our connections help us in ways we never imagined from the start. A friend of a friend, meeting someone by coincidence, old and new connections, you never how and who will come into your life to lend you a helping hand. Go out of your way to help someone whenever you can, all of these favours will stack up to help you big one day in the future.
It is natural for the human eye to be drawn to visuals and clear presentation. In addition, clean formatting helps the reader understand the information presented quickly. Candidates may also include a passport-sized photograph in their resume.
For more creative industries, you may also adopt visually-appealing resumes or provide links to an online portfolio of your work.
For university and graduate school applicants, a glowing reference letter from a work mentor or professor from school is necessary to separate you from the crowd. For internship and job applications, employers often contact referees before making the final decision on whether to hire you.
References are key to your dream school and dream job. Here are some ways to help you achieve a lasting and positive impression on your referees-to-be.
1. Get Noticed
At school, be sure to speak up and get noticed by your professor. Volunteer yourself for teaching assistant positions. Teachers or mentors for your extra-curricular activities or volunteering activities can also be potential referees.
It goes without saying that you should try your best at every internship or even part-time job, your bosses will be invaluable contacts in the future.
It is easy to write a stellar CV if you have an excellent GPA and internship experience to show for it. However, a common conundrum that many students face is when they are applying for their first internship or job and they just don’t have enough points to fill their CV. Here are 3 suggested ways to remedy this problem.
1. Quick Fixes
If you find yourself stuck with nothing to put in your CV, and you only have a couple of weeks before applications close, we can suggest a few quick fixes as follows:
Attend a course / seminar
o Most universities conduct seminars that are free to students
o There are also hundreds of online courses available, the internet is your best friend
o Bonus points if completion of the course results in some kind of certification
o There are many places can accept volunteers at a short notice (for instance here), you can also ask your local CC or library if they need extra help.
o Another option is tutoring. You can offer to tutor needy students or even your neighbour’s children.
Expand on existing points
o Be sure that you have fully fleshed out the current points that you do have, be specific wherever possible
o Another quick-fix is to list out modules where you obtained good grades
It is important to note that even if you are desperate to add filler points, you should still be careful to only showcase your best points. Including poor grades or completely irrelevant experience (e.g. winning a 100m race in primary school) subtracts rather than adds to your profile.
1. Who you are
Some applicants make the mistake of assuming that they do not need to include “basic” things (e.g. education) that are already in their CV. This is unwise and makes it difficult for the employer to assess you accurately. A winning cover letter should contain everything you want your employer to know, the main “meat” of your application with all your best and most relevant accomplishments and experience. Your CV is the backbone of your application, containing a chronological history of your experience and providing details.
Thus, a winning cover letter begins by introducing who you are, your academic background and what job you are applying for.