10 Ways to Make your Application Stand Out for Any Role in Financial Services | October 27, 2022

By Becky McCain, Assistant Director, Center for Career Development

  1. Start EARLY:

If you are interested in careers involving the investment, lending, and management of money and assets, you need to start the process very early. This is an incredibly competitive industry that begins recruiting for summer analyst roles during the spring of sophomore year for the summer between junior and senior year. Ideally a summer analyst role will lead to a full time analyst offer. It is essential to gain internship experience, especially as a summer analyst, if you are interested in working at a large firm. If you don’t know where to start, set up an appointment with Becky at the Center for Career Development on Handshake!

  1. GPA Matters, Major doesn’t

It is a common misconception that your major determines your career path. In fact, you can major in anything and still be competitive for summer analyst roles. It is much more important to achieve a high GPA. Most firms are looking for a 3.5 or above and, for investment banking, a 3.7 or above. If you can achieve a high GPA with an economics major, go for it, but it’s not necessary to be an economics major just because you think that’s the closest major to finance at Holy Cross. It’s essential to take some quantitative courses and highlight them on your resume. Alumni recommend that you take at least one accounting class or computer science class.

  1. Demonstrate an Interest in Finance:

You can illustrate an interest in finance through involvement in the Finance Club/Student Investment Fund/Women in Business/Women in Economics, being the Treasurer of a Holy Cross club, participating in the Finance and Banking Certificate Program through the Ciocca Center, working as a bank teller, having a customer service job where you reconcile the cash drawer, and/or working with a financial advisor sourcing leads.

  1. Get involved on campus

Firms are seeking individuals that have analytical, research, communication, tenacity, confidence, a competitive spirit, problem solving, intellectual curiosity, being teachable, smart, and having a strong work ethic. You can demonstrate these skills through a myriad of experiences at Holy Cross. Firms value athletics, work experience, leadership (through activities and jobs), and entrepreneurship, even when the experiences are not directly related to finance.

  1. Do your research

As you begin the job search and before you begin networking, your research! You should have a solid understanding of the industry through reviewing Wall Street Oasis, Firsthand (formerly Vault), and Wall Street Prep. Identify your area of interest and your specific skill set.

  1. Understand the industry and current events:

Have an opinion about what’s happening with the markets and in the world and be prepared to answer questions about basic financial modeling when you connect with alumni or other/family connections.

  1. Network!

Unfortunately many liberal arts institutions are not target schools for the firms so it’s important for you to connect or “network” with Holy Cross alumni who are currently in the industry. Contact alumni to set up calls, video chats, or in-person meetings. I recommend targeting younger alumni first because they were more recently in your shoes and can offer you great advice. You can use LinkedIn and the HC Network, a Holy Cross curated database, to identify and communicate with alumni. If you need guidance on where to find alumni and how to send the first message, set up an appointment with Becky at the Center for Career Development!

  1. Get your resume and cover letter approved

Come to the Center for Career Development during drop in hours any day of the week any time between 1-4pm to have your resume and cover letter looked at!

  1. Nail the interviews:

Many firms have multiple stages of interview, beginning with pre screening interviews that are typically done via on demand videos (HireVue, Clover, and VidCruiter to name a few) where you are traditionally asked 3-5 questions with your responses timed and recorded. The next step is a Superday, which is conducted virtually or in-person where you will interview with multiple people at the firm over the course of a morning or afternoon. Superdays can be intense and can include technical questions, behavioral based questions, market based questions, and questions about your resume/experience. Timing may vary depending on the firm. You can schedule an interview strategy meeting or mock interview with someone at the CCD!

  1. Send Thank you Notes

Thank everyone you network with, thank your interviewers, thank panelists/event attendees. Thank you notes go a long way! Be sure to follow up with everyone that you network with. This will allow you to go the extra mile in maintaining those relationships for multiple years.