If you’re recruiting for an investment banking internship or analyst positions, you are likely aware that networking with bankers is an instrumental part of the recruitment process. Building connections with bankers in the industry can serve as a means to becoming more informed about the industry and different banks, and, most importantly, increasing your chances of having your resume reviewed by the correct people.
However, just sending out mass amounts of emails sporadically in an untargeted fashion is not the most productive way to approach networking. Instead, you should develop a systematic process that is organized, targeted, and thoughtful. In this article we will break down what the networking process looks like and share some best practices.
First off, the best way to find contacts is through your network, student organizations, and alumni. However, most successful candidates go beyond this approach to connect with bankers, and that is what we’ll discuss here.
Step one is to find the bankers that you want to network with. This is most commonly done via LinkedIn. There are two paid services that are widely agreed upon to be extremely useful in the networking process: LinkedIn Premium and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
LinkedIn Premium is $60 a month, and allows users unlimited advanced search privileges, as well as unlimited visibility of your extended network (to find more contacts once you have connected on the platform with the banker you originally reached out to).
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an enterprise or premium version of LinkedIn Premium. It offers all that is included with LinkedIn Premium, but it also offers even more advanced search options and allows you to make a list of all your saved contacts on the platform. The only downfall of LinkedIn Sales Navigator is that it is pricier at $100 per month.
One way to save money is to only sign up for a month or two of these services so that you can quickly build out a contact list. If you need to build out the list further in a few months, you could sign up for an extra month.
In terms of actually using LinkedIn effectively, with both Premium and Sales Navigator, you can execute targeted searches for professionals in the industry. One example is to filter your search to LinkedIn users who are alumni of your university who work in the investment banking industry. You can also filter based on a common experience or organization, such as a business fraternity, business organization, social fraternity or sorority, or scholarship organization.
Once you have run these searches and have found contacts, then it is time to “create” emails and add them to your networking list.
Once you have a contact’s name and the bank they work for, you have everything you need to find their email. We recommend reaching out to bankers over email rather than LinkedIn, because email is better at getting their attention.
Every bank has their own email format or template. For example, if you were interested in speaking with a banker at Goldman Sachs, you could search the internet for the Goldman Sachs email format which is “email@example.com”. There are numerous websites to easily find email addresses, however we recommend Hunter.io and RocketReach. Once you have “created” the email address, you will need to verify that it is a legitimate email, meaning that it is in existence, which you can do by navigating to MailTester. You should test the email before you send it to avoid the email not getting to the intended recipient. For example, if you find Johnathan Doe who works at Goldman Sachs, his email could be “firstname.lastname@example.org” or email@example.com. By verifying it the email address you are likely going to save yourself time.
Once you have all the contact info for the individuals you’d like to reach out to, we advise that you create an Excel spreadsheet that has a list of all these bankers on it. It doesn’t have to be perfectly formatted as it is for your own use, but it should include a column for the banker’s name, bank they work at, email address, city they work in, phone number (once you have called them), and any other relevant details. You can segment the sheet via tabs by city, bank, or any other segmentation that works best for you. When you send a banker an email or get on a call, you should update this list so stay current with who you have talked to, when you talked to them, and when it is appropriate to follow up.