I coworote the careers bit of the PW FAQ, you've already read it.In some ways CV are like program code...HR parses it for keywords and does a syntax check, you've passed that.What we have now is optimisation and you need to stand out, so it follows at this point that my advice must be generic, but your execution must be highly personal.There are certain terms that make you stand out in general, because they claim an advanced grasp of things that are generally useful. Econometrics, C++, filtering, etc...Some are specific to the domain of the area you seek to join. That may be a rarer programming language, such as Haskell, or the details a particular class of financial product.These words need to make it to your CV, if you have them. I guess as a physics PhD, you've done some numerical methods, naming a few on your CV won't hurt.You need to examine which of those you have, which are relevant, and where these two sets fail to intersect optimise with respect to what you can grasp in the time available.This is a method for showing enthusiasm without faking a smile.For instance, if you've been looking for roles in fixed income, there are any number of fixed income products, like STIR.The exchanges have freely available descriptions of the detailed aspects of the products, because of course they want you to trade them. Often they do seminars, which are part marketing, part education.I picked STIRs, partly because they and I have history, but also because the link above leads you to spreadsheets and related content that help you understand it.There's much to be learned and understood here... Market conventions, turnover, what it is used for, news, major players, ways it goes wrong, hedging, market making, regulation, risk....None is beyond the intellectual grasp of a physics PhD, but as yet this is outside your reach.By drilling down into a product, you demonstrate a degree of commitment, intellectual curiousity, self-management and general ability....and know stuff that your competitors don't, making you stand out.One of the single most common failure modes for newbies is something like "yes ,very smart, but what would we do with him ?"By demonstrating a practical knowledge, you answer that question, even if the particular products you master happen not to be the ones they work with.Of course this is upping the stakes...An axiom of CV optimisation is that every single word of your CV is a possible source of interview questions, mention that you know something, expect to get hard questions on it.Fail to answer a question on something you claim to know and it will go bad.This ain't just claims about F# or volatility modelling, some people screw up and die when the interviewer asks "so you like theatre, what examples of Brecht's alienation effect did you enjoy in Dexter ?". "What are Brechts ?" is not the right answer.So you are thus raising the expectations of the interviewer by saying "I have used the time since my PhD in building up my knowledge of STIRs, rate swaps, etc.You will get asked harder questions, be clear that I'm throwing you to the wolves here, when you say to a FIG desk head "I know STIRs" you have now challenged an alpha male to a pissing contest.Merely by surviving and not going to pieces when (not if) he asks a questions where you don't even know what the acronyms stand for, you will have distinguished yourself, possibly enough to get a job.You either join the pack, or get eaten.The fact that he may be passive aggressive, doesn't mena he ain't aggressive, indeed PA seems remarkably common in that role....but from what you say, today the pack is just howling in the mountains, ignoring you. Also of course, the claims you make will increase the chances of getting an interview further up the food chain.You of course also need to read more, there's Paul W's big book of banking, 3 volumes, 1,300 pages of stuff but no one thing is beyond you. His FAQ was specifically designed as a sort of exam prep for last minute cramming for interviews, if you have more time, you need to go deeper.
Last edited by DominicConnor
on August 29th, 2015, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.