Sunday, December 25, 2011

Get a head start on coffee chats and informational visits before summer internship recruiting starts...

Merry Christmas all!

If you're reading this, it means that you're committed to landing that summer internship at Goldman, Morgan, UBS, McKinsey, BCG, or another great firm.

Summer internship recruiting starts in about a month's time.  However, do NOT leave your applications for the day before.

The cover letters and resumes that stand to get a first round interview reflect strong personal reasons for wanting to work at firm X in position Y.

Which begs the question: How do you convince someone who doesn't know you that you are not only highly qualified for the position, but that you are also the one they should hire?

One tried and true way of communicating your interest is by setting up coffee chats and informational visits with the firms that you want to apply to.  Do these at least a week before your application is due!

You'll likely get a tour of the company, a brief overview of what a full time analyst/consultant does, and have at least 15 minutes to ask questions about whether this is the right company/role for you.  It really doesn't get better than that...if you are an awful match, you'll know that too, so you can save yourself the time of writing an application to a job you don't really want.

So how do you set these up?

1.  Look at linkedin for alums from your college/high school who work at those firms.  First target junior to mid-junior people.  Don't bother the MDs unless you have an existing personal connection (a good friend's parents)

2.  Write a very succinct (no more than 4 sentence) email that describes who you are, any group that you were both a part of, and an open question of whether he'd have time to briefly talk to you about applying?

3.  Expect to hear from 1 in 5 people (or even less...)  Analysts and Associates are busy.  Some are more willing to offer help than others.  Once you get a response, reply saying thanks and being very specific about when you are free to talk (give them lots of options).  Also, if you live close to where they work, offer to do it in person at the Starbucks  across the street, for example.

4.  Study the website and talk to your classmates/juniors/seniors who just worked there.  Ask your friends how they did well and what they did to form a positive impression.

5.  Have the coffee chat / info visit -- dress up, be professional, have a resume in hand, have at least 5 good questions to ask that you can't get answered elsewhere (The worst is to have boring questions like "what does a good analyst have to do.." that you can get answered from forums)

6. Follow up with a thank you note and mentioning that you'll be applying and hope to cross paths soon.

And that's it!!  Get started sending emails this week and the first week of the new year.  That will build in some time for you to get ready before school starts.

Best of luck and feel free to reach out with questions.  Happy holidays to all our readers!

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