How to network your way into a buyside job
Headhunter chats, modeling and case study practice, deal walkthroughs – there are tons of resources out there to help prepare for the buyside recruiting interview process. However, a less talked about and extremely underrated tool in this process is networking with your target firms directly. This can help you break into interview processes and secure offers even if you don’t have a very wide network in finance – all you need is a willingness to get creative and put in some extra effort.
Below are some key points which will help you stand out when putting yourself out there through cold outreaches –
- Look for commonalities – Look for people you have something in common with – same high school, college, IB group, or even just a mutual friend. This is not a necessity but does increase the chances of the investment professional wanting to help you.
- Subject line – Pick an email subject line that grabs your reader’s attention and communicates what you’re looking for at the same time.
- Brevity – Keep your outreaches as concise as you can. Investment professionals are often hard pressed for time and long outreaches tend to get sorted to the “later” bucket.
- Introduce yourself clearly – State who you are and what you are looking for from this outreach very clearly.
- Personalize your outreach – Make your outreach extremely thoughtful and specific to the person you are targeting. For example, instead of the generic “I was impressed by your career path and want to learn more about your experience at XYZ firm”, use something like “I really admire the way you helped build out XYZ firm’s European office and your high-conviction contrarian bets like [insert investments]”. This requires some research but significantly increases the odds of a response.
- Establish credibility – Demonstrate your credibility and why you’re worth paying attention to. It could be working at a top IB group, having a prior relevant buyside / extracurricular experience or even a blog where you’ve pinned down your thoughts on industry / company trends relevant to the sectors they cover.
- Add value – This is, by far, the most differentiating thing you can do to make investment professionals take serious notice. You can start adding value for them (or show potential to) before they’ve even offered you an interview. For example, you can send them quick investment pitches, suggest add-on opportunities, and even offer an introduction to a friend working at one of these firms. Taking it a step further, you could help one of their portfolio companies with issues ranging from recruiting to web development. Chris Sacca, the famed venture investor, gives an example of how a 15-year-old did exactly that here and secured an internship at Lowercase Capital.
- Balance between quality and quantity – Maintain a balance between sending out a sufficiently large number of outreaches to your target firms but also putting in enough time, thought and effort into outreaches at the firms you really care about.
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