Recent Grad Wants to Go from Tech Job to Finance!

Dear Work Coach,

I love your blog. Here’s my situation:

I graduated last spring with a science degree from an Ivy League University – the thing is that I prefer finance to science, a fact I learned at the end of my sophomore year (after I had declared my major). So, getting a job right out of school with a finance firm just didn’t happen even with the business classes I managed to fit in as an undergrad.

Long story short, I took a position at a tech firm and went to night school for the past year studying finance. For the past two months or so I have been looking for a new job in the finance field – I really feel that the longer I stay in a tech position the further removed I am from getting an entry-level finance position.

So, with a year of full-time work in a quantitatively-based job I am searching for a finance position. I’ve interviewed with 3 firms. One firm, a Fortune 500 company, called me back in for a second interview about 2 weeks ago. I felt the interview, which was about 3.5 hours long(!), went well and I was told that there were three other candidates and a decision would be made within one to two weeks.

I did the requisite follow up of thank you notes to everyone I spoke with that day. At the 1.5 week mark I called my HR contact to do some follow up and I was told the following:

“You can still consider yourself a candidate, but right now we are trying to bring in help from other departments within the company to take some of the extra work load. I can’t really give you a time frame on when the decision will be made but we will call you to let you know either way.”

What do you make of that? Should I follow up with the SVP that interviewed me last (I met with a total of 4 people) instead of HR? With that sort of odd response, I almost feel as if the job is already out of my sights.




Hi John!

Great question. Thanks for sharing it with us and thanks for the kind words about my blog.

My graduate degree happens to be in finance and I’ve worked in banking, investment banking and IT (among many other things), so hopefully I can at least give you a semi-informed answer. 😉

It sounds like you had a great interview and are/were a serious candidate. The answer you got makes me think they are delaying the position for any of many reasons, including budget issues and internal organizational changes. But since they didn’t tell you “Sorry Charlie” (uh…John), there is no reason to give up.

I like your instincts and by all means would send the SVP a letter. S/he may just slough it off (no loss to you) or it may ring a bell. You show excellent character and determination and that makes you a candidate that probably stood out to them. You may as well give it your best shot.

Here’s another thought…you might even take a chance and tell the SVP you are so interested in the position and so sure you can be an asset, that you’re willing to do a “try and buy” – meaning you’ll come on for x number of months understanding there may be no permanent job. In fact, because it sounds like they are trying to cover the work from within, maybe you can add that and say you could help out with no obligation to them with the hope they see what an asset you can be.

I know this is risky, but I just want to suggest it in case it sounds like something you’re willing to try. You’re right that if you stay too long in a tech job, you may get typed and not be able to get (or afford to take) that entry-level finance job you want – at least as easily. And when you supplement your education with courses or a new degree, the best time to get full advantage of that power is during or right afterwards. Not that it will be lost, but this may be the best time to take some risk.

And, if they do go for it and then there’s no job, now you have a few months of real corporate finance under your belt. You can always parlay that into some well-paid temp work until you do find the finance job you want. Although all this may sound a little tenuous, you are still early in your career and moves like this (I’ve done my share) get harder and scarier as you go along.

Just some thoughts. If they miss the mark, maybe they’ll spark others for you. At the very least, contacting the SVP with a polite e-mail or letter has no downside. (Snail mail may even be more effective here.) And before you do that, scan for news on that company and see if you can find out anything you can use to your benefit when you do communicate.

Hope this helps at least a little, John. Good luck! Please keep us posted.

Ronnie Ann


About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

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