Job seekers can send out a million resumes, but there is a much better way to get a job: by networking with as many people as possible within a particular field.
But whatever you do, don’t confuse networking for a LinkedIn connection.
“Networking is huge,” Kunal Desai, a former recruiter and the CEO of Bulls on Wall Street, told StreetID. “[But] LinkedIn is like a zoo. No one really knows how to use it. You’re ‘linked in’ with all these people and you see basically their resume, but how do you leverage LinkedIn? That’s what a lot of people don’t understand — how to leverage a tool like that. It’s not an easy thing to do.”
Desai recommends that job seekers begin their search by making a list of everybody they know. “Write down their jobs,” he said, adding that you should start with your closest circle before going into LinkedIn and other avenues. “Once you start networking with the actual people you know, those are the people that are most likely going to help you.
“Second, whatever avenue you’re in, there are always trade groups and little functions in your community that meet up once a month. Those types of events — where you can go [and meet people] face-to-face — you can make tons of friends.”
Those “friends” can be quite beneficial. For example, Desai made several connections after going to an event for traders that he saw on Meetup.com. “There were 50 traders in there — all that were interested in similar stuff that I was doing,” he said. “I brought some business cards. I didn’t go in and sell anything. I said, ‘By the way, if you guys are looking for a community online, check out my website…’ Boom! You’ve got yourself some live people that are coming to your site. The same thing happens if you’re looking for a job. A lot of the people [you meet] will be the guys who own companies or are in positions to hire.”
Whatever you do, Desai said that you “can’t just fire off a ton of resumes and get some hits anymore.”
“There’s a lot more legwork that’s required,” said Desai. “There are millions of qualified people in this country that are looking for work.”
“I believe it really requires a lot more of that face-to-face interaction, where it’s not so much transaction-oriented, where it’s like, ‘Here’s my resume,’” said Desai. “Now it’s done on more of a personal level.”
Desai said that if he makes a hire, “It’s going to be an investment in a person, and this person better last for 10 years.”
“Just to acquire an employee and to train him and get him used to the culture of your organization takes months and months,” Desai explained. “There are thousands of dollars in commitment on [the employer's] end for getting him trained. So if you’re going to hire somebody, especially in a market where there’s so much up in the air and so much risk, you want somebody that’s going to be there for a while. It’s an investment. So you’re going to make sure that you like this person on a personal level. That he fits into your culture. That you know something about him. A lot of that you’re gonna learn from having actual face-to-face interactions.”
Further, Desai said that everyone he has hired at Bulls on Wall Street “has been somebody that was either a subscriber to my chat room and I started learning more about them on a personal level, or somebody that I met at a trading conference in Las Vegas and the interaction was good, and it ended up not having anything to do with their resume.”
Desai said that he receives a large number of resumes. “But the guys that go out of their way to meet me and say, ‘Hey, this is what I do, this is what I’m all about, I’m interested in trading’ — those are the guys that I hire,” he said.
Where does StreetID, a website that specializes in financial career matchmaking, fit into the mix? “I find that those [kinds of sites] are probably better than something that’s broad,” said Desai. “As long as that sector has jobs, hitting that sector-specific website can help. But the one thing you’ve gotta remember is that there’s a lot of competition out there. You’re still gonna have to differentiate yourself somehow.”
Desai is particularly interested in career sites that are more community-oriented, “Where you can actually interact with people,” he said. “I find that can be more useful. You can build up a little more of a presence than just firing off resumes.”
Whatever you do, Desai said that you must “spread your wings” and “cast a wide net.”
“It’s a numbers game,” he said, estimating (and perhaps exaggerating) that job seekers may have to make 1,000 contacts to be successful. “Out of 1,000 contacts, maybe 100 people will be a little interested. Out of those 100, maybe 20 decide that you look okay on paper. You talk to 20 of them and have a phone interview or a face-to-face interview. Out of those 20, maybe three or four are somewhat interested in the next step. Out of that you can leverage something good for yourself. But you had to make a lot of contacts, and you’ve got to use every avenue possible. You’ve got to use conventional and unconventional means.”
That left us with one final question: is Bulls on Wall Street hiring?
“I’m always looking,” said Desai. “In terms of traders, I’m always looking in my chat room, always spotting for hot, young day traders — people that learn easy, are coachable. I usually reach out to those guys and see if they’re interested in [being coached]. And then that could [turn into something more down the line].”
Desai is also interested in finding a “great Web guy,” somebody that “knows how to build websites and build products.”
“I’ve got so many ideas for different types of products I want to do, but can never find the right programmer or Web guy that makes it look good,” he said. “SEO guys, for anybody in the Web business, [they] are huge. Somebody that knows how to get you ranked on Google, and somebody that knows marketing. That guy is worth his weight in gold.”
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These days, job seekers have a million options, but we know where they should turn: StreetID. We built StreetID (a financial career matchmaking website) 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.