According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 86% of young adults with bachelor degrees or higher get jobs sometime after graduation. A reassuring statistic, no doubt. However, what's less clear is how many of those jobs are of actual quality. Getting a job at a well-reputed firm is what all college students dream of. After-all, the loans won't pay themselves.
So what does it take to get a job at Goldman Sachs? In short, everything. And more. Only 3% of applicants get jobs at Goldman, slightly lower than the 4.6% of students that get accepted to Harvard. When you consider the applicant pool quality of those that go through the process, the prospect of getting employed there becomes more daunting.
So when contemplating potential fits for employment, it may be best to think of students and employers in tiers. Consider investment banking:
Examples: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, CitiGroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley
Students: Tier 1, 3.8-4.0 GPA
Examples: Jefferies, Houlihan Lokey, William Blair, Lincoln International, Oppenheimer
Students: Tier 1, 3.7-3.5 GPA
Examples: AAA Capital Partners, BBB Capital Partners, CCC Capital Partners
Students: Tier 1, 3.5-3.3 GPA
Breaking down employers this way is a great way to set realistic expectations and increase your success rate. However, most of us don't know where we sit within these tiers relative to our competition, which makes things a bit more complicated. Fortunately, there is a tool that can help with this.
Separating yourself from the pack can be the difference between landing in T1, T2, or T3. That's why its so important to not only know where you stand but to continue rising up the ranks, so you can position yourself to not only land a job but the one you want.
So when employers comb through hundreds of qualified resumes, what does your position actually tell them?
Being a slightly better performer quantitatively or qualitatively can be the difference at landing at your first employer. Be it hard data like academics, or intangibles like networking or prior employment history, being a step above your classmates gives you a reliable advantage in the interview process.
When you perform better in academics, employers immediately equate this to natural intellect or work ethic. As Kevin Durant once said, "Hard work beats talent, when talent fails to work hard." No matter your predicament, be the hardest working guy in the room. It will take you places.
Top performers get what they want. Plain and simple. Set ambitious goals, strive to reach them and don't give up.
In college, everyone faces deadlines and intense workloads. Those that are able to separate themselves, are proven to be better equipped to handle the pressures of employment life, which depending on the employer, can be a game changer in the application process. So when under intense pressure, double your preparation. You will thank yourself later.
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