Passed level 1, still unemployed

Anyone in the same boat? Graduated in July, and have been applying for front line jobs in Singapore. Many have said I have an impressive resume, but still no calls for an interview. Really underestimated the difficulty of getting a job. Unemployment for 9months + CFA studying is a sure way towards mental illness. I’m starting to become religious again… Farewell Nietzsche.

Sorry to hear that… hows the job market in Singapore? Maybe it’s not you but just the overall market sentiment.

what i find is true, is that employees seem to focus more on experience more so than education nowadays … maybe this is a case of that. But keep on firing off those resumes, i’m sure something will come up.

My advice is to get a banking job, any job. The gap is really going to work against you as it gets wider. As a potential employer, I’ll think: 1) This guy has no experience 2) He can’t even get a job after graduating for X (currently 9, and looking very bad) months 3) He passed L1 (probably in Dec), but that’s no good deal, especially since he studied for it fulltime. Looks bad to me already.

No calls? You have to call THEM. I’m sure that you aren’t just waiting for the phone to ring (I hope). As stated, get a job almost any job as quickly as you can. Making a ‘mistake’ for a year as an insurance salesman would almost be better than ‘professional CFA studier’ on the resume.

hplee, I’m in the same boat a few months longer so don’t get too worried. My job market, NYC, is tight right now form credit losses and other reasons, but again, no excuses. I’ve found that if you don’t want to take any bad job (which may be your best course of action at this point), try to explain in some way to the recruiter/interviewer that you have been keeping up with the world and maybe learning some additional skills. If the region is in a funk they should be more receptive to a longer unemployment, but if you have any blemishes on your resume such as taking a semester off or a low GPA you may have a much tougher time. While interviewers won’t care, make sure you stay up to date by reading papers, journals, books or whatever. You should have a lot of free time, so make it worthwhile by continuing to learn and not letting unemployment drag you through a tough cycle. I would also recommend when you do interview, try to explain that you were waiting for the right job and didn’t feel it would be appropriate to take a job you had no interest in and that you would have to leave once you found something better. Its not much, but it is better than walking into an interview sounding unconfident that you couldn’t find a job. Maybe in the spare time try to learn something to keep your resume somewhat fresh. I’ve added some computer skills in the past couple of months (obviously not very substantial), but it somewhat helps to explain to employers that you are motivated. Lastly, keep your head up, eyes and ears open. Once you get your first job you won’t have to worry about explaining these months of unemployment as much. I have tons of friends around my age 22, 23 who were smart and came from hard-working families and all attended solid schools that are taking extra semesters to finish up their degrees, imagine the difficulty for them to explain their track record. Good luck.

mto1985, We tend to be more forgiving to ppl who stayed in school for an extra semester or two to do more coursework. In fact, if they have good gpa to show, I personally wouldn’t fault them. But taking CFA full-time? SOmehow that did doesn’t sound right. And as the gap widens, your explanation that “you were waiting for the right job and didn’t feel it would be appropriate to take a job you had no interest in” sounds more and more like a lame excuse to cover the fact that you cannot get a job. It also gives the impression that you are interviewing only for the “right jobs”, which in itself is faultless, except that after 12 months of interviewing with all the “right jobs” and securing none, it gives the impression that maybe you are probably not the right candidate for that line of business. interviewing and securing a job is all about impression, and trust me, doing CFA full-time is not helping. I’ll take someone who works in the construction site in the day and self study CFA at night over a full time CFA student anyday: at least the former has the decency, initative and virtue to earn his own living.

Oh, last post for today. hplee, since when did passing L1 help in securing a “front line” banking job? you may also want to review your resume, and forget about what many said. If it hasn’t got you a decent interview or a job after 9 months, it ain’t impressive.

hey propanol, nice to see you posting on these boards again…hadn’t seen you around in awhile. how have things been going for you? are you in nyc now?

If you have plenty of free time, I’d use it to increase your candidacy. Read a book or two on writing better resume’s. Read books on interview skills. Get a book to learn Financial Modeling in excel. These types of things can make you more attractive to a potential employer.

front line jobs are hard to get in singapore… i. you’re competing with returning people from the ivys and top UK unis ii. competing with the 1A Hons people from the singapore unis iii. for a very small pool of front office jobs IMHO, unless you get into a grad program, you’ll going to find it very difficult… maybe you could go join an audit firm for a year - they take everyone and anyone (mostly) and try to lateral somewhere else after that… surely having a Big4 on your resume can’t hurt…

hplee - I could be of some help to you. Please provide me with your email address and I will email you offline. Basically, I’m also looking for opportunities in Singapore as well. I am not from there - I am based in New York and have worked with a BB Investment Bank for 7+ years (since graduating from a top tier undergrad business program), with the past few years spent in Equity Research. I am also a Level 3 candidate. I have been looking for a few months now, but I have found that either headhunters don’t like me, or there are not that many opportunities open for me. I’m interested in moving over to Private Banking, and while I know tons of rich people (HNW) in Asia, it seems tough to get into that industry. I do have plenty of contacts through relatives who do business with the likes of UBS, ING, ML, etc, which I am in the process of going through. In any event, send me your email address, and we can discuss offline.

i thought private banking was going gangbusters atm? i guess what they are after though is people with existing AUM or at least a proven client list… i have heard of many personal bankers making the switch over to private banking at UBS

hi hplee i am almost at the same boat as you except i have working experience for up to 6 years in IT and will be taking lvl 2 this june. Same as you, but right now i think i will want to break into Risk Management portion of the IB first as my current work experience train me in quantitative side of the problem solving. Going into Front office if you are not MBA, highly is not possible unless you got networking. So you might want to start in any where first, back office you also have to consider since you are just fresh grad, don’t ever forget the no of ppl taking cfa exam in Expo, this will led you to think that you don’t have much advantages over other ppl

jesh almost a year without work. How do you afford rent, food, booze and just life. I went like 3 months after grad (Novemeber for CFA, December for holidays, January was just well wasted) without work last year and thought that was bad. Perhaps you should suck it up and accept crappy BO or accounting work as many of us, and keep on the CFA and pass L2 and see where you land. It is generally assumed that your employment history will be quite volatile while you are young and trying to get where you want to be. As someone alluded to above, almost a year without work looks very poor. Passing Level I is nice, and a good start, but I doubt it will get more than “nice job” in an interview. It won’t knock an interviewer or recruiter’s socks off, nor will passing all 3 for that matter. Just my 2

Hey hplee, I am in a similar position as you, just that I completed my coursework in Dec07. It definitely sucks, and I did interview for an ops job at Barcap. It seemed that passing CFA L1 is very “intimidating” to those f-ing ops dudes.I remember that ops dude pressing me for the exact requirements and so on. I said yes, i need 48 mths of relevant work expeirencne but surely you could just get the exams over and done with, and worry about the work requirement after passing the exam. Never got called back for the 2nd interview. When I went for an interview at this small independent ER firm, again the interviewer was asking me, you have CFA L1, so what is it you are seeking to do? Are you thinking of being an analyst in a big bank? Well, obviously he knows that I won’t want to remain there for long. So it kind of like puts u in a sh**. U have the CFA L1, which definitely puts u at a better edge over most Singaporean fresh grads (think of it, how many of them actually tkae the exam before they graduate? Not many I believe). Now I am willing to be shortchanged and do an ops job at a nice bank, but here you are, you get scared stiff when i say i have L1. What the heck? It seems that over here in Singapore they are not willing to take fresh grads at all. But I think that is stupid??? I mean, everyone has to start somewhere right? Weren’t those peeps sitting in that corner room once fresh graduates? I currently am in the midst of applying for 2 graduate programs (just had the phone interview with 1 of them on Monday night). With the help of a HH, I am going for an interview with Macquarie for a Financial Reporting role (the job scope involves supporting the ops exec and reporting to the biz manager). I am going to do my best and prepare for it like the way i prepared for my phone interview for the grad program. It’ll be good if i could get that job because -It’ll be a backup in the event I fail to secure either one of the graduate programs. If that is the case, I’d work there for a couple of months till the end of the year, and then re-apply for the graduate programs since a large number of them do accept people with <2-3 years of experience -Since the graduate program will start only in sept 08, this will give me a good amount of $$ and I can learn something. By the way this may be kinda off-topic, but what do you all think of this job? Does it come across as one which I can learn? Operations · Prepare monthly Offshore Reporting Pack for the Singapore Office & Operations review for Head Office. · Review Fee notes in accordance with client mandates. · Follow up and manage debtors including deferred settlement on deals. Obtain commentary from transaction directors on the long outstanding debts for impaired asset listing. · Prepare Out of Pocket (OOP) reports to transaction directors for review. If write off required, follow up with the transaction directors to obtain the necessary approvals. · Submit OOP code request to Sydney for new projects. · Send out copies of new signed mandates and OOP code to FOD, Tax, Doc Mgt. · Maintain list of projects based on new transaction approval forms and mandates. · Update staff matrix on a monthly basis based on staff details list for Asia Exec Directors / Division Directors meeting. · Collate monthly Operations Review Report for submission to Sydney. Finance · Answer simple queries from Executive Assistant’s in relation to expense payments including issues relating to industry, product OOP, and GST codes and compliance with IBG’s expense policy. · Assist Operations Executive with Transfer Pricing (TP) process including completing the revenue allocation spreadsheet and liaising with the deal team and Sydney on any queries on the TP documentation. · Review the TP invoices prepared by Sydney and ensure they are in line with finalised TP docs and local invoicing requirements. · Reconcile revenue transfer priced in/out booked in GL against our TP documents to ensure accurate booking. · Review the reconciliation of revenue booked in GL vs fee note register prepared by FOD. To highlight and investigate when variances occur. · Ensure timely submission of fee note register and fee notes to FOD at month end for closing purposes. · Review nostro reconciliations and notify FOD to take receipt of incoming funds and to update fee note register.

maybe don’t put your level 1 pass on your resume?

Thanks for your opinions. 9months is perhaps long enough a wait for a nice job. Kinda got deterred from taking a few Back Office jobs because of that famous trap and how it’s worth waiting for a decent job. I have been keeping up with the news, took a FOREX course and lost a little through trading. Will keep u guys posted on any breakthroughs… Thanks for your advise/suggestions! pimp: My email is Thanks!

well…that said, isnt it an irony, since all these big banks pride themselves as companies that promote internal mobility,staff development etc. if you cant accept the fact that an ops person today could be that s&t dude 2 years from now, how can you make that claim? anyway…i put it in my resume and it has been submitted. i guess one way to circumvent this will be to be as vague as possible and say that the cfa could probably open more career opportunities for me within the bank. end of story.

hey hplee, do you have msn? can i add you? pimp, if you don’t mind, could you offer me some help too? my email address is **hplee, I am well aware of that BO trap also. So assumign that I settle for a BO job for now, I’d continue searching for my dream job. I did apply for a couple of jobs, 1 with an independent ER firm, one with a data firm. But I guess if I am intending to leave soon, I’d give greater weight to these 2 factors-prestige of the organization and salary. If all sucks, this would be the optimal choice. I believe Macquarie pays better than that inde. ER firm/Data svcs firm