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There are three main qualities you need to have to succeed in a job in the City: a corporate mentality, determination and a strong work ethic.
Having a corporate mentality is very important if you want to succeed in this environment. Many people come to work in the City because they want to earn significantly more money, but you have to appreciate that you are working for a conglomerate and that, fundamentally, thriving in that environment takes the right kind of individual coupled with the right attitude. The City is renowned for hiring the crème de la crème of the market – and indeed that’s the way it should be. To get there, having the determination to succeed should go hand in hand with also having the right work ethic.
To be better than everyone else in the City, you have to be relentless. You have to try your best and make sure that you surround yourself with good people. You are only as good as the people around you, and having a good boss who you believe in is crucial.
Be sure to look after yourself. To do this, work with a manager who will give you clear and measurable goals that are in line with your expectations.
The best piece of advice I could offer to anyone who wants to work in the City is: don’t try and run before you can walk. It is highly unlikely that you will land your dream role straight away, so the first job that you have in the City is not the job you’re going to be doing forever. Whilst many people want to land the perfect role immediately, sometimes to achieve your goals you have to do things you don’t really want to do to get there, especially when you’re starting out.
When trying to get a job in the City, it’s really important to ensure that you can clearly communicate why you should be hired above other people. Competition is fierce. What are your unique selling points? What it is that makes you stand out when hiring managers are looking through countless CVs?
Fundamentally, the City is a great place to work, and the financial rewards can be great - people who work in the City are paid, on average, 40% more than someone doing a similar role outside of London. However, in order to get here, you need to be at the top of your game. The things that will make you stand out are your personal traits and your ability to you fit into a firm’s culture. So if you want to get a job in the City, don’t be disheartened if you do really well in the interview, but then get feedback that says they don’t think you’ll fit into the team. You have to trust that those managers are making their decisions based on the current make up of their environment. Keep going at it, don’t give up, and do things that other people are not doing.