The hiring wave is here! Since the beginning of the year, I have been receiving cold calls by recruiters for various fixed income positions. I have yet to pass my first anniversary at my current firm! Now it might sound like good news for hopefuls aspiring to be part of the investment management community, but hereby likes the tricky part. Majority of vacancies are looking for experienced hires, preferably with 3-5 years of direct experience. What hope then does that leave the hopefuls?

I would like to quote Yoman on his mantra: Network and network. As we all should have realized by now, many vacancies are made known by the word of mouth before being advertised. Right at this moment, my own team is actually looking to fill a vacancy. Just based solely on referrals and internal job postings, the response by these hopefuls is overwhelming.

I too was one of the hopefuls on the other side of the looking glass, so eager to get a foot in but the openings for those without the relevant or direct experienced are sparse. On top of networking, my advice is one must also have a course of action to equip yourself with the necessary and relevant skill set. I am not a business or finance graduate and knew that I would need to educate myself on investment 101. Hence my first permanent job after graduation was to work as an investment accountant, while at the same time embarking on the CFA program to bring my finance theory up to speed. After a couple of years, I managed to land a position as a research / credit analyst in the treasury department of a Japanese bank. Ten months ago, I moved to my current role as a fixed income analyst in a local asset management firm and “graduated” from Yoman’s equity research program

Now why the long story of my career moves over the past few years? My point: one must be willing to take the long and indirect route if the direct one is not available. At the same time, do what you can to garner relevant experience, network and be ready when the hiring wave starts. I must say I am very glad to be given an opportunity to be part of the Springboard Program. Even though many who were involved in the equity research program had to spend precious personal time on various assignments by Yoman, most would agree with me that we all had benefited in one way or another. On my part, not only did it expose me to the work that an analyst is involved in, I had also made a few friends along the way. Not only did potential employers have evidence of my interest in finance, I have also reinforced my initial decision to enter the investment field.

In short, my advice for all hopefuls is: Network with like-minded people, gather relevant experience / exposure even at the expense of your personal time and most importantly, be ready to take advantage of any opportunity that open up!