Navigating Finance as an Underclassman
This bog was written by Peer Career Ambassador, Sydney Huang ‘20
More often than not, I have overheard freshmen or sophomores underestimate themselves and their abilities when it comes to looking for careers in finance. The mentality is that most financial firms are only looking for juniors and seniors so why bother? I’m here to tell you that it is never too early to start. Here is what I have learned so far as an underclassmen:
Use your age to your advantage. Because you still have so much time left, you can really start building your network and establish those meaningful relationships. It’s important to have a few mentors who will help you along the way and guide you in the right direction. You should show genuine interest to learn more about people and their careers as opposed to simply talking to someone to get an internship. There are also a lot of programs and events out there that are strictly for freshmen and sophomores. These events are huge because you will get to meet a lot of professionals in your desired field or even at your desired company so do your research and apply to those.
Attend employer events/workshops. It may not seem necessary or pressing but if you consistently show your face, you are more likely to stand out to an employer. Although you may dread having to dress up and show up, think of it like an investment. An hour of your time now could potentially determine whether or not you get that internship or full-time offer later on down the line.
Build those good habits. Start off on the right foot. A tip I would recommend is to keep excel sheets. I have one for internships and one for contacts. I keep all the internships that interest me on one excel sheet so I can see when each deadline is and what is needed to apply so it helps me stay on top of it. I have one for all my contacts so I can see when was the last time I talked to them, what we talked about, what they do, and if follow-up is needed. Starting this early helps you stay organized.
Talk to upperclassmen. They know exactly what you are going through and they have a lot of first hand experience. They are valuable resources because they most likely will already have a book of contacts and probably have a pretty good grasp as to what the standard resume or cover letter should look like specific to the career that interests you.
Regularly update your resume. If you have some free time on your hands, use it to make sure your resume is updated and it is the best it can be. If you do this regularly, it will unload a lot of stress because opportunities will come up out of nowhere and you want to be ready to apply or email someone your resume right away. Do not be the person who is scrambling to change his/her resume the day before a deadline.