Unemployed CFA and looking for advice!

Looking for any advice on how to improve my chances landing a role or even an interview…

Background: I quit my Investment Analyst/Associate Advisor job in Private Wealth in February because I didn’t see a future there - boss/PM had a sizable book of business but he wanted me to transition more to sales and bringing in clients vs. analysis and I was grossly underpaid, making this an easy decision (I prefer analysis much more vs. sales). Obviously the timing couldn’t be worse with the pandemic/recession this year. I’ve spent a lot of my free time taking modeling courses (Wall Street Prep, CFI Institute) and have really improved my modeling skills and created a couple detailed models. I’ve also become approved as a CFA Charterholder in October. I’ve applied to probably 50+ roles (only that low because there hasn’t been a lot posted given the macro picture), mostly Associate level roles in either Equity Research, or a buy-side AM analyst role. I live in Toronto. My work experience isn’t amazing - 3+ years Investment Analyst in Private Wealth (ie. not institutional role) and 0.5 years in Equity Research as an Associate.

With every application I’ve sent, I’ve also provided samples of my work (ER reports, writing samples, models) and often I’ve emailed the PM or ER Analyst I’d be working for and passed along samples of my work.

I’ve been in a grand total of ONE interview process for Raymond James, which I got toward the end of and didn’t get it. It was not an institutional role but a link between AM and their Retail side - I’d basically be advising the Advisors on equities/analysis.

No interviews for buy-side analyst or sell-side associate roles, although I did have a few chats with recruiters who sought me out for these kind of roles, but didn’t lead to anything.

Any ideas or advice? I’ve developed a list of 100+ contacts - mainly buy-side PMs and Chief Investment Strategists that I’m aiming to cold email with a couple work samples to try to improve chances, but admittedly I’m losing hope and running out of ideas.

I also plan on starting to apply to US roles - perhaps as a Canadian citizen and the move to remote work I may be considered. I’m completely open to moving for a good role.

One strategy you could try is to invite a contact to lunch just to talk about how they do stuff at their company etc. Find something that interests you and formulate you strategy around that. People love to talk about their work and themselves. During the lunch you’ll probably have a chance to tell a little about your background and what you’re looking for. The goal is to actually get to know each other and most likely it leads to nothing but once this said contact has an opening that might be suitable for you, you’re ahead of the other candidates because a) you’ve shown interest in their company b) the contact knows you.
I did this when I was looking for a job and it worked surprisingly well. Good luck!


Toronto isn’t allowing indoor restaurant dining right now, but out in the Greater Toronto Area, restaurants are open with limited capacity. :+1:

Thanks for your feedback Codtrawler87, I appreciate it.

Yeah I’ve done that a few times a few years back and then some phone chats along the way since, and ya it’s never really led to anything, but admittedly it’s a pretty small sample size.

Also, here in Toronto the whole meet up thing would likely not be a great option for a while until pandemic cools down.

That being said, it leads into my next decision about my networking emails to PMs and CIOs - should I just be fully transparent that I’m looking for work (junior analyst roles) and provide work samples (equity reports, financial models) and leave things at that - ie. if they are interested or impressed they might be incentivized to connect? Or simply approach it via the phone chat route and aim to ask them questions about their role/history/advice etc.? I suppose the 3rd option is a blend of the two.

Right now I’m leaning toward being fully transparent and I’m looking for work and here are a few work samples, connect with me if you deem it worthwhile and you think your team will be looking for an analyst role soon. I feel like the ROI on these phone chats asking about themselves, thinking I’m going to actually establish some sort of ongoing relationship with them if they aren’t looking for new analysts, seems far-fetched, but maybe I’m wrong…