Connection etiquette....

Hey guys, I have a good friend- 20 years my senior, who works in an area of business different than finance. Never-the-less, he has some great connections (more-so friends) in finance and has told me that he would be happy to pass my resume around to some of them. I know some of these guys are very high up at their respected firms and I realize it is a great gesture from him and nice opportunity for myself. I was just wondering if I am in any position to suggest areas where I would like to interview? Or should I just be thankful enough that he can possibly get me an interview as well as a good word in? I don’t really know how it works. He doesn’t know too much about how jobs in finance work from what I see, so I don’t know if it is my place to tell him anything that he should tell to his friends. Any rules of thumb here? Thanks for the help and enjoy your weekend, Theo

I am usually against the objective line on a resume for people applying for non-entry level positions but in your case it might be worth it to include it on your resume. If your objective says you are looking for a job in PM or ER or IB then most likely that is where your resume will end up if you have that as an objective.

If you are wanting to move “to finance,” it most definitely helps to suggest specific areas. The more specific (even if it is a laundry list of roles/jobs that sound appealing), the more serious you seem. Lots of people want to go to “finance” just because of the money and you can tell because they are often willing to do anything just to fit in. If there is a rationale about why you like this stuff over and above what it might pay, then there is some reason to think you are likely to contribute over and above the stardard market. So do some research on how the industry is structured. Then, talk to him and mention some of the areas that you’ve gotten more interesetd in and mention some of the firms that seem to be active in those areas. Ask him what he thinks about that and if he thinks it makes sense for you to pursue those areas. Assuming he says yes, then ask who he would recommend that you talk to to get a better scoop on stuff. Probably don’t ask if he knows anyone that’s hiring… I think he may get the hint enough to help you if he does know of anyone. And also, if this guy is in the same firm you are now, you probably don’t want to have your firm know for sure that you are looking around (though good managers should assume that their employees are always potentially looking around).

Thanks. I should have stated I am still in college. My friend has been in the business world for 20+ years but he does not work in finance. I don’t really know if he would be much of help in terms of specific questions. Obviously, he is an expert in his area of business, but not so much in finance. But either way, a lot of that advice is great to have for the future and to keep in mind. The objective line is a good idea, and enables my friend to give the resume to who he wishes without having to have to give a big spiel

If you are still in college and he has 20+ years of experience, then he is your uncle, not your friend. Unless he’s pulling a Lord Browne.

Hmm, I never knew friends had to be certain age differences among each other. Sure, I have friends my age who are in college, but also a few who are 10, 15, 20, etc years older than me. Not really a big deal.