The Art of Landing a Job (hint: it’s not a science)
In my humble opinion, there is nothing more stressful about senior year of college than being one of the only people in your circle without a post-graduation plan. After not receiving a return offer from my private wealth management internship at Jefferies, I felt like I was back at square one. Unsure of what I wanted to do after Hamilton, I started networking with alumni across a wide range of professions from all over the country. I sent countless emails and spent hours on the phone trying to get a glimpse of what these alumni did for a living. I was taking all the necessary steps, but nothing seemed to stick. Either I’d never hear back from the companies that I applied to, or I wouldn’t get past the first round of interviews. I was beginning to have a lot of doubt in myself. Then one day, my thesis advisor told our class about careers in economic consulting, and mentioned NERA, where I now work, as one of the major players in the space.
I reached out to an alumnus who had worked at NERA, and he was able to get my name and application materials through to human resources. The application process initially moved swiftly. Around a week after submitting my application, I received an invite for a first-round interview, which was quickly proceeded by a second interview. Soon after that, I was asked to provide my location preferences along with desired practice groups. I had Boston as my first choice, New York as my second, and San Francisco as my third. To my surprise, a few weeks later, I was invited for a final round, super day. However, it was for their Los Angeles office. I was thrown off at first, and even reluctant to go through with the interview. I didn’t know a single person in Los Angeles. After speaking with my peers and family members, I realized that there was minimal downside risk to taking the interview. At the very least it would be good practice.
That’s all it turned out to be. Good practice. Several weeks passed after the interview before being notified about the offer, or lack thereof. I thought that was it with NERA. Several more months passed, and I was back at square one; I was sending countless networking emails and filling out a multitude of job applications. Then one day, NERA reached out inviting me to their New York City office. A rare second chance. I was not going to mess this up. I spent hours refining my interview skills, rehearsing in my head and aloud how to best narrate my past experiences so that it aligns with the job requirements. As it turns out, all it came out to be was more interview practice. I didn’t get that job either.
If you believe in second chances, who’s to say there aren’t such things as third chances? Fast forward several more weeks, and NERA invited me to interview in their Washington, D.C. office. It’s said that the third time's the charm, and to my astonishment, I got the offer. The timing couldn’t have been more ideal. I remember vividly that it was on Friday, March 13th, 2020, when NERA called me to offer me the job, which happened to be the same day Hamilton sent its students home for COVID-19.
Obviously, I did not embark on the conventional path to landing a job. For those of you currently searching for jobs or internships, each person you speak to might have had a different experience in their recruiting process. My advice is just to stay patient, stay persistent, and be open to the unknown. Opportunities will present themselves eventually, and you just have to be ready to take full advantage of it.