Hello, I would like some help in understanding what might have gone wrong with my applications for spring insight programs given that out of 5 applications that I made, 4 were turned down outright while the fifth one was turned down after a phone interview. This has made me thinking that I must have done something wrong with my applications, so I thought perhaps somebody who knows the dynamics of the industry better could give me some feedback. Just a little bit about myself first: I attended high school in my native country, graduated with high grades, and I am now attending a rather well-known university in the UK. So far (I am nearly at the end of second year) I have pretty much got all 1st class grades, midterm, essays, finals…I seem to be getting it right. What I thought would make my CV stand out would be the fact that at 17, before graduating from high school, I decided to move on my own to the UK for the summer and managed to get a job in a large and well-known law firm. In the meantime I have been getting more work experience, and I have almost two years experience working in legal and financial services environments. I thought that my experiences would have helped my application, but perhaps investment banks are not interested in someone who has already had a career (and by this I mean the fact that particularly at my last job I had considerable responsibilities in financial operations, was supervising other people and in general was working with other people who had a degree and were doing that for a career). Would you recommend I somehow alter this in my CV? In the CVs I submitted I tried to move away from the CV format you would use if you were looking for a job and towards a more skill-based CV, saying what were the key skills involved in the positions I held and so forth. I know that I am reasonably good at getting jobs, but not having ever had to go for an internship before, I am afraid that my job-seeking skills may be out of place when looking for an internship? Also I thought that personality might be an issue here, there’s a couple of people in my class who were picked for this type of internships, although not at the banks I applied for, and they are completely opposite to me personality-wise. I was brought up to behave as modestly as possible, not to brag about what I have and generally with a tendency to understatement, whereas these other people in my class who seem to be loved by banks are extremely self-focused and bragging about their achievements all the time. That was also the impression that a lot of the investment banks presentations gave me, there was an atmosphere much more similar to that of the changing room of a gym rather than a professional environment, so my personality might not be ideal for this job I am guessing. Anyway, sorry for the long post, I really hope that someone will be able to give me some feedback on this. Thanks a lot in advance.
You answered the question yourself. Your self confidence seems quite low. To work in front office you need to be confident and pretty ruthless. I think in your CV you may not have sold yourself well enough and perhaps you come across as a middle office research analyst.
To work in front office you need excellent communication skills, persuasion skills, negotiation skills. If you did not focus on these skills and only your academics (even if you are a genius) HR won’t give you a second glance.
If you want to work in FO, work on your confidence and the skills I mentioned (be sure to include them in your CV and focus on them)
Academics are there to back you up, not lead the way.