How to Get a Job on Wall Street

(This video reflects what your average intern/new hire at a financial firm looks like: smart, calculated, and 3 steps ahead of you)

Wall Street jobs are hard to secure for experienced workers, let alone recent college graduates. Since the Great Recession, you can no longer be a graduate without corporate experience on your resume and consider yourself a competitive candidate.

Those hungry for those positions must begin the search a year earlier, as a “summer analyst,” a fancy term for a summer internship (and not an unpaid one, either). They’re not easy to get, though.

One person involved in the hiring process at a large bank said he expected at least 5,000 undergraduates to apply for roughly 100 summer intern spots in New York — an acceptance rate of 2 percent.

… Today, the vast majority of students who get full-time jobs at large banks have already completed an internship during a previous summer. That gives internships — not full-time jobs — the hottest competition, and makes the junior-year recruiting process even more intense.

On a personal note, I dealt with this process last year. It was painful, filled with rejection, and took up the time equal to a 3-credit college course. In the end, it was worth it. I worked at a large Wall Street-based corporation and had a job offer before my senior year of college. Some complain that these internships are unfair to those students who need more than four years to mature to that level. But as horrible as this sounds, in 2012, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are not looking for those type of people to begin with.

[Note to parents: a trick that a lot of students don’t realize is that most of these companies have a program for rising juniors. These internships generally feed into the all-important rising senior internships, which means a job. These are always easier to get into because not a lot of people know about them or are not ready to start a high-pressure internship. If you really want it though, it’s the best way to go.]