My name is Chris, and I am about to start my placement at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Prime Brokerage Account Management. It took me a lot of rejections and a lot of learning, but I’m lucky enough to now have a position where I am genuinely happy, and I’d love to share some thoughts and feelings of that journey with you!
Applying for positions
I’ve always thought job hunting in general is quite demoralising… you’re trying to convince people why they should hire you which is why it’s just so disappointing when you get that dreaded email saying you haven’t been successful this time. I got my fair share of those, the first one being when I decided it would be a good idea to check my emails in a nightclub and then become rather annoyed to learn I hadn’t got the job that I liked the sound of at the time. Safe to say that one spoiled my night. What I didn’t know was this was to be the first of many rejections to come…
But positives do come from rejections, and they did for me too. I often learnt little things each time, which improved my ability to be interviewed or write cover letters. I genuinely felt I was getting so much better at answering generic application questions. When I read my first few cover letters now it’s hardly surprising why I got rejected, I have no idea what I was thinking at the time, but I suppose that’s the beauty of improvement.
I also learnt how best to prepare for interviews, the winging it strategy I adopted for the first few interviews didn’t get me very far. There was one video interview I had where I learnt the specific definition of what the role was, but I didn’t think to learn anything beyond that. So, when I couldn’t answer a load of technical questions but then suddenly out of nowhere recited a textbook perfect definition of the specific role, the interviewer thought I was reading of notes, which is a reasonable thing to think given my complete incompetence with everything else, but I learnt from that one and didn’t make that mistake again.
More points to consider
A great tip I would recommend too is create a LinkedIn profile and start building up your network. It looks really great because not only does it show initiative, but it also shows professionalism and an enthusiasm for networking (which are both massive things on your placement). Also, you can always be cheeky and get in contact with people who have (or have previously had) the role you’re applying for, because there’s no better people to learn about the role from than those who wake up and do it 5 times a week.
I slowly started to watch my friends secure, which whilst I genuinely was incredibly happy for them it can be hard to properly celebrate when you know in the back of your mind that you’re still no closer to getting anything. My friends all got annoyingly good placements too, and I say that because subconsciously that made me think I also needed to get a good one, just to fit in.
But what I sometimes forgot is it’s not a race.
I had time, months of it. Once everyone’s on placement it doesn’t matter what month in the previous year you got it, that’s irrelevant. I just kept trying and kept learning. But there’s an element of luck too, so patience was a big one.
But there’s nothing like the feeling of receiving that phone call telling you that you got it, I physically couldn’t stop smiling for about 3 hours just because I was so unbelievably elated that I’d landed what honestly was my dream role. As soon as I saw the listing for this job a few months prior, I phoned my mum just to say how much I want this job. That’s the only role I did that for. I think that genuine enthusiasm and honest passion is what lead to me being fortunate enough to be successful. Rejections were a good thing because had they not happened, I would have never got where I am today, so perhaps it is true that everything happens for a reason.
So, I’m a few days away from starting now, and safe to say the nerves have definitely kicked in. But this is the next stage of my life, it’s going to teach me so much and I genuinely think make me a better person so above all those nerves is excitement. I’ve always thought you’ll learn more in a month on placement than you would in a whole semester at university, there’s nothing like actually doing something to learn about it.
I hope this has been insightful and please do reach out to me if you have any questions or want to talk about anything. Thank you for reading and best of luck placement hunting!