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Number-One Tip for Getting Hired on Wall Street

If you’re not doing this, you could be hurting your job prospects on Wall Street.

Or anywhere else, for that matter. It turns out that social media — a tool designed to bring us closer together — might actually be driving us farther apart.

“I think there’s still no substitute for picking up the telephone and calling people up — doing face-to-face [communication],” hedge fund manager Eric Jackson told StreetID. “When I grew up, a lot of people didn’t like to do that because they felt shy or whatever, and they think someone’s not gonna take their call. But now I think it’s gotten worse for people in their teens and early 20s who have grown up on social media and video games. They get really comfortable behind e-mail and texting and prefer that to doing the face-to-face thing or the phone-to-phone thing.”

But Jackson, who is the founder and managing member of Ironfire capital, insists that e-mail is not enough. “People hit delete all the time on spam e-mail or spam introductions on LinkedIn from people that are connected to the target, but maybe the target doesn’t remember connecting with them — that sort of thing,” Jackson warned.

“The best bet is always to be bold and reach out to people. If you look at the people in the world that are successful on Wall Street, they always seem to have stories like this where they just called up some legend and got them on the phone and got an internship out of it. I think that’s the way to go.”

Originality Reigns Supreme

Aside from being bold, Jackson said that you should also have “something unique that kind of catches their interest or makes them want to call you back.”

“If you don’t get them, leave a message or something,” Jackson advised. “You need to be really creative. You need to sort of think about it from their perspective and what’s going to stand out.”

Jackson said that he thinks targeting people who went to your college is still a “huge thing.”

“The chances are pretty good that if you approach someone and said, ‘Hey, I went to your college,’ and you have nothing else in common with them, out of courtesy they’ll at least give you a call back,” said Jackson. “If you don’t have that luxury or similarity, you need to think of something in your own background that’s kind of new and different.”

For example, Jackson recalled his online activist campaign for Yahoo! “It was just amazing that, as that played out (and afterwards), I would call people up or they’d contact me, [people] that I really respected and admired, and [they] had heard about me and what I did,” said Jackson. “It became a great calling card for me. If I was able to send a blind e-mail or call someone and drop that in, that was a good way of [starting the conversation].”

Ultimately, Jackson said you don’t have to do that. “You just have to be original and creative in thinking about why you are special — what’s unique about you.”

“And then once you get past that hurdle,” Jackson added, “and you’re talking to the person that you want to connect with or get a job with, you have to be able to show that you’re a hardworking, intelligent person with some creative ideas.”

Getting Hired at Ironfire Capital

When asked what Jackson looks for in a new hire, he stressed the importance of his prior recommendations.

“If they took my advice and were able to make some kind of connection to my past — where I went to school — or if they showed a lot of knowledge about some things or views that I’ve written about, or talked about, what Ironfire had done,” said Jackson, who, in addition to his duties at Ironfire Capital, is a frequent contributor to Forbes and CNBC. “It’s amazing to me that the vast majority of people show no interest in doing some homework on somebody before they call them up. So if somebody did that, that would catch my interest.”

If not, Jackson said that he is simply looking at a sea of resumes. “I’m gonna default to [things like]: where did they go to college?” Jackson explained. “Where [have] they worked? How smart are they? Are there some kinds of (depending on how old they are) standardized test scores to compare them to? And if there are any personal connections from their past work experience, did they work somewhere where I know somebody? And so forth.”

Proofread Your Resume

Finally, Jackson took a moment to go over a few critical resume tips.

“Don’t have spelling mistakes,” Jackson insisted. “That’s a big one. That immediately disqualifies [a lot of candidates]. It’s a lazy error. If they’re lazy in making spelling mistakes on their resume, then chances are — at least in my view — they’re gonna do the same on the job.”

Further, Jackson said that lengthy resumes are not recommended. “Keep it to a page,” he said. “Some people include an ‘interests’ section. They’ll go on and on about how they like to knit or something. It kind of worries me. Keep it short and sweet and professional. Show me the goods. It’s representative of you — so if it’s sloppy, chances are future reports and studies that you do on the job will be sloppy, too. You want to give a preview of the work that’s to come.”

Where to Start

Before you begin your quest for Wall Street success, take a moment to visit our financial career matchmaking site, StreetID. We built StreetID from the ground up to accommodate Wall Street’s growing community of financial professionals. In good times and in bad, current job seekers and those looking to move on in the future can turn to StreetID and sign up for a free account and make a direct connection with relevant candidates and employers.


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