It Pays to Go Through the Back Door

Go through the back door, not the front door.

When I got a job on Wall Street, I tried going through the front door. I sent a cover letter and resume to Bear Stearns through the mail. A couple months later, the rejection rolled in—it was kind of a smart-ass rejection letter, to be honest. I probably still have it somewhere.

Anyway, Bear Stearns didn't want me. I tried to come through the front door when I should have gone through the back door. But I learned my lesson and changed my approach. I gained contacts at various banks, used the relationships to my advantage, set up informational interviews, and flew out to New York.

Really, I think most people on Wall Street come in through the back door. Nobody sees a job ad on Indeed and sends in a resume. That’s not how it works. And by the way, if you get a job like that, there’s a greater chance it will disappoint because there's no personal connection.

Your best bet when searching for new opportunities is to use your contacts. Talk to friends, talk to friends of friends, meet random people.

Take action. Go through the back door—that’s often where you’ll find the good jobs.

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Personal Connections

I wrote at Bloomberg for five and a half years. The editor had subscribed to The Daily Dirtnap, so I called him up to gauge his interest on working together. And sure enough, it panned out. All because I picked up the phone and made a personal connection.

Zoomers do not get this at all. They think the way to get a job is to send out 10,000 cold emails. Just sit on your laptop in your bedroom in your underwear and rattle off applications.

Now, if you send out 10,000 cold emails, probably 20 people will respond. And those are weak connections. People do this nowadays, and it's nuts.

Then there are platforms such as LinkedIn, which are a huge waste of time.

I have around 4,000 connections on LinkedIn, and I don't know who half of these people are. They send me a connection request and I accept it, but I don't know them. It’s not like I can ask them for help. I can't ask them for a favor. They're not friends; they're not personal connections.

Build Your Network

I know people in every industry. It's awesome. It's the best part of my job, hands down. There is enormous power in having a big network.

And yeah, the word “networking” may be a bit trite. It sounds very MBA, but there’s no denying the concept.

For example, I went to a conference last fall, the Future Proof Festival out in Huntington Beach, California, where I met dozens of people with whom I have kept in contact. I made great connections. That's the power of networking.

Even if you just pick up the phone, you have a much greater chance of success versus hiding behind your computer. Zoomers will never learn. They can't help themselves. Face-to-face contact is scary for them.

People need that face-to-face contact, though. So, if there’s something you want, there’s a good chance you know somebody who can help you out.

If you don't know someone, then you know someone who knows someone. And if you don’t know anyone, it’s time to get out in the world. That’s where the magic happens.

Jared Dillian
Jared Dillian