(Thanks to my reader Ricardo for inspiring this entry)
In my book, I repeatedly stress the importance of finding relevant contacts and networking in the process of looking for a quant job. Let’s say you follow this advice and go to different networking venues. More often than not, it would look silly for you to bring your resume and hand them out to those at the event like you were a member of Greenpeace. A better way to helping someone you just met remember you is to give him or her a mini resume business card.
A mini resume business card is simply a job search-oriented networking business card with a mini version of your resume printed on it. A networking business card differs from a regular business card in that instead of printing your title and company name on the card, you print stuff you deem important for networking, such as your cell phone number, your IM (instant messaging) ID, your personal website, and your own little tag line, among other things.
If you’ve ever hung out with any MBA students, you know what a networking business card looks like, as MBA students like to hand out their networking business cards to anyone they meet. What I recommend is a mini resume business card: on the front, print your name, your contact info, and a line summarizing your general qualification (e.g., "Experienced quantitative modeler with specialization in MCMC methods," or "M.Sc. in Financial Engineering / CFA Candidate," or "Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering, with strong quantitative skills"). You may also want to include a short objective on the front, e.g., "Career objective: find a challenging quantitative finance position." If you write the object, be specific about what you want, but don’t pigeonhole yourself into something too narrow. (My book has more details on writing an effective objective.)
Here’s an example for the front side of the business card:
M.Sc. candidate in applied statistics
Career objective: leverage my superb statistics knowledge in quantitative finance
Contact: 212-555-5555 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail), brettjobseeker.com (web)
On the back of the business card, you can list four or five of your top qualifications. Here’s an example:
My quantitative knowledge areas include:
- Advanced econometric methods
- Financial time series models
- Stochastic processes
- Derivatives pricing models
- C++, SAS and Matlab
This example uses a traditional bullet-point based format. A creative way to present your skills is to follow the way "tags" are often shown on some websites, whereby the keywords are laid out in a semi-random fashion and the most popular (and presumably most important) keywords are in larger fonts; an example of this layout can be found in the "Popular Interests" section of the Windows Live Spaces homepage (scroll down and look at the right side of the page).
Now, how do you print your own business cards? You can go to a local print shop that allows you to design your own two-sided business card; or you can use an online printing service; or you can simply print your own by first buying business card stock paper (e.g., made by Avery, the most popular brand) at a local office supplies store such as Office Max, Office Depot or Staples, or on Amazon.com, and then formatting and printing in Microsoft Word — all Avery stock paper products come with instructions for Word. If you take the last route, make sure you have a high-quality printer, and take extra care to print the two sides correctly: you print one side first, and then you must let the printed side dry before feeding the stock paper back into the printer in the correct orientation to print the other side. It may take some experimentation but it’s not too hard; I’ve done it many times. (If you want to be a quant, such a small task should not be difficult for you!)
BTW, you can also download Avery’s free business card design templates for Word here.