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Hunting Guide: Paul McCormick Helps Students Find Financial Jobs

London’s financial industry employs about 250,000 people but the hurdles are high for new graduates and young professionals.

Paul McCormick, of Thomson Reuters in London is trying to help the next generation into the markets with helpful advice about getting a job. His blog, openingcitydoors.co.uk, may assist in bringing the best and brightest to firms.

“There’s a couple hundred companies in this industry,” he said. “All of these companies have got demand for new graduates and new talent each year. But from a graduate point of view, where do you start, you know? How do you find those opportunities?”

McCormick’s blog is trying to address that very question with tips to prepare graduates for the job search in what most call the “City.” He should know, he’s held jobs with eight different banks and a software firm as well, has interviewed more than 200 times in his career and been the hiring manager more than 50 times.

“Getting a job is not easy in the financial markets or related sectors,” he said. “I’d say you really need two things to get hired in the right place. One, I think you need some financial market knowledge, a broad understanding. Perhaps, knowing a little bit about a lot of things.”

McCormick recommends learning and knowing a bit about the structure of the industry, the main companies and what they do, some terminology, current issues as well as some of the prominent people. He said candidates should know 10 basics each about bonds, FX, equities and maybe commodities. He added that candidates should know what the buyside and sellside firms do, as well as the latest news and issues in the industry.

“The second thing is, you need to know about smart job hunting,” he said. “You need to know about job hunting techniques, sorts of things they are going to ask you and the answers you are going to give in a genuine sort of way. These are the probably the most important skills you are going to learn in your career, because you are probably going to use them again.”

He said employers and job seekers often go about looking for talent in a different way, using different methods than the candidates. Employers are looking for internal connections to candidates, and then perhaps via social media and recruiters. The last resort would be combing through CVs sent directly to the company. Knowing how to make that connection through the right channels can be critical in getting a job, he said.

“We have this sort of mismatch between the way employers like to hire and the way candidates like to get hired,” McCormick said. “What that means is that graduates have to think very carefully about their job hunting techniques and maybe modify accordingly.”

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