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Tips from Fidelity's graduate recruiter on getting a graduate investment management job

Impress investment management graduate recruiters with Fidelity's top tips

In a conversation with TARGETjobs Finance, Fidelity International’s senior graduate recruiter, Lucy Harris, echoed a view voiced by several recruiters across the investment management industry: graduates must be clear about their career choices.
Don’t just jump on the bandwagon and decide you want to be a trader, equity research analyst or HR specialist if that’s not really where your skill set lies. – Fidelity graduate recruiter

That might not sound like rocket science to many graduates considering or applying for roles in investment management. But the fact that recruiters in the industry are still spelling it out suggests past applicants have not effectively pitched their case for why they should be hired.

To convince recruiters that you really want to work in investment management and for your chosen firm, you need to...

Establish why you want to work for your chosen investment management employer

There’s a high probability that many final-year students will apply for several graduate positions across banking and investment in the City and elsewhere come October and November – in a bid to increase their chances of securing work. ‘But the stronger candidates will know why they want to work for each organisation,’ says Lucy.

Lucy explains: ‘Investment management firms and other finance organisations vary significantly in terms of the graduate opportunities that they offer, the culture, the size of the organisation and the size of the offering. It’s all of these factors that applicants need to consider.’ It’s vital that you understand these differences and use your preferences to support your application.

Make sure you have the passion and skills to do the job

Many investment management firms, such as Fidelity, recruit graduates from all degree disciplines – not just economics and finance. But this doesn’t mean the required qualifications for candidates are any less stringent. Minimum academic achievements, relevant work experience (for some graduate programmes), specific skills and a genuine interest in the industry are must-haves.

‘It’s very important that you’re clear about the requirements of the job, and that you have the required skills and a genuine interest,’ says Lucy. ‘Don’t just jump on the bandwagon and decide you want to be a trader, equity research analyst or HR specialist if that’s not really where your skill set lies. It’s quite a competitive and fast-paced industry – it isn’t for everybody.’

Avoid stacking investment management up against investment banking

It shouldn’t be investment management versus investment banking. The two sectors are different; generally speaking investment banking is the sell-side and investment management is the buy-side. However, they’re interdependent – one sector couldn’t operate without the other.

It’s important that you understand what investment management firms do and their place within the finance world. ‘You need to be commercially aware to join the investment management industry,’ says Lucy. Your chosen firm’s website is always a good place to start to get a basic understanding of its business structure, products and clients.

Research the investment management industry

To enhance your understanding of the industry, you’ll have to venture beyond your chosen firm’s website. Lucy says: ‘There’s a lot of economic research that Fidelity and other organisations have put together about world and economic affairs. Reading this material is a good way to expand your commercial awareness.’

Likewise, regularly reading The Economist, the Financial Times and the business supplements of national newspapers will help you to keep abreast of events that could affect the industry. But, Lucy stresses: ‘It is not just about being aware of what’s going on in the news – recruiters want to see that you’re able to develop an informed opinion about relevant news items.’

Attend investment management careers events

There are a range of events available to give you the opportunity to find out more about the industry and investment management employers. They include campus events, such as employer presentations and careers fairs, and networking days organised by TARGETjobs Events.

Lucy agrees that careers and networking events are great opportunities for you to gain first-hand insights and liaise with recruiters and current employees. It’s definitely worth making a note of careers events as early as possible, so you’re well prepared for them. Many investment management firms, including Fidelity, hold several careers events and workshops in October and November – at the onset of graduate application season.

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