Helen Dayen, a Lehman Brothers alum, is the owner of the New York–based Dayen Group, a career-coaching business focused on financial services.
Making presentations is obviously a skill that so many people in asset management need. It is unbelievable how transformative an exercise videotaping your presentation before you do it is. In a video, you literally see what you’re doing that you weren’t aware of. Hearing yourself, seeing yourself is very, very powerful. [But] it’s often important to view your video with someone else, because people can get into a very negative place.
Improving your confidence is very important. Try to think back to a time when you felt really good and really confident and try to put yourself back at that place. Develop a mantra that feels normal to you.
Figure out what you want to work on and start doing it on a consistent basis. It takes about 20 days to develop a habit.
Sometimes you might need to step outside of yourself and either [work with a career coach or] ask for a 360 and ask [coworkers, direct reports] how you’re perceived. The great thing in doing that is people see you’re working on yourself and it’s a very, very positive thing.
Brian Gennaro is a partner at Rockwood Search Associates in New York specializing in asset management recruiting.
Beyond the core functionality of the job requirement, there are some common themes here [that firms want.] One is definitely problem solving, critical thinking, systemic thinking, [which is] being able to think through not just the cause and effect but understanding the process by which to develop something that’s going to be successful and what the ramifications of that are.
[Employers] need people that can think strategically, yet are also comfortable in the doing, understanding the tactical and execution aspects of the job.
Getting involved with projects, especially being able to run it from a tactical execution phase and partnering with various internal departments, [is important.] Being able to touch all those areas and manage the project life cycle through is great experience.
Networking has been, is, and always will be one of the most productive means of developing and refining your skills. It forces you to speak with and connect with others that you may not necessarily know. It’s helpful just to communicate ideas.
Public speaking, being able to get up in front of your team, in front of clients, in front of associations, is very important. In an internal environment, you have to be that person who has that kind of presence to be recognized as someone who is an authority on a certain subject. We’re talking about navigating your career and moving up. These types of leadership skills will make you someone who stands out from the others.
Oftentimes, companies will offer a public speaking class. If the company does not offer one, there is Toastmasters. [It] is probably the best-known organization that helps people develop their public speaking skills.
You need to work on your self-confidence. Not being arrogant in any way, but just being confident and someone who is very certain of the value they bring to their team and their firm. That can be built by developing your own brand. Who do you want to be? What do you want to be known for?