%%offers 2017

All confirmed offers.

$c2c co where primary tech other tech domain nlg duration
100 pimco Burak NPB[1] c++11 🙂 🙂 🙂 java, possibly Hadoop 🙂 FI accrual math 🙂 3+
100 Pimco Zoltan NYC java framework 🙂 🙂 flexible
100+ bgc Alexi NYC java minimal cpp FX.. trading to perm 😦 😦 😦
below 100 😦 😦 Ravi Chgo 😦 😦 Qz 😦 😦 😦 java FI trading again flexible
perm Nitin Shanghai java perm
perm Tradeweb JC VC++ FI ECN perm
85 baml NYC VC++ repo 😦 12M?

[1] A bit hard to get next job in NY, but helps me get a next job in West Coast. However, in terms of buying a home, I just don’t know.

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IV^CV is real battle

(Adapted from a Mar 2017 letter to Lisa Wang… )Let me share my observations and reflections on this tough job hunt. Another stock-taking. Focus here is non-finance jobs in the U.S.

For months I used a slightly tweaked CV for non-banking (“main street”) tech positions, but it’s not working — Out of the 30 to 40 non-finance positions I applied, precious few (15%??) recruiters were interested. Suppose 5 recruiters showed interest, I guess not all of them submitted my resume. Suppose 4 did submit. So far, no hiring manager was impressed with my non-finance CV. (Response from financial firms are better but not my focus today.)

So different from my prime time (from 2010 to 2012) when my finance-oriented resume was selling like a hot cake. I would estimate more than 50% of the recruiters were impressed and many hiring managers showed interest.

Of course, I’m comparing my “main street” resume against my Wall-St resume. Not a fair comparison but it does highlight these key issues:

Recruiter engagement is the #1 issue and hiring manager engagement is #2 issue. Interview competence is a distant #3 and not a key issue. Many people disagree — “you need no more than one successful interview.” They believe a 50-80% interview success rate is the silver bullet needed. Well, how long must you wait before you fire your silver bullet?

I feel much better if my interview pass rate is only 20% (or 10%), but I get 5 times more interviews! I learned from experience that my interview performance improvement is limited without sufficient interviews. So it’s far more effective and strategic to work on getting more interviews. I don’t want to be one of those guys who need 6 months to find a job. I see them starved of oxygen. Steady flow of interviews keep me motivated and focused, too.

In conclusion the key issue is crafting a compelling resume to engage recruiters and hiring managers. (A more pressing issue on main-street front than on the Wall-st front.)

Therefore, I count each interview scheduled as a success. In contrast, an offer is less significant an achievement. Analogies:
* as a singer, each TV appearance is a success; Winning a singing contest is less significant.
* as a growing basketballer, each time I get to play on court is a success; winning a game is less significant.

I have always told my peers that 90% of the job candidate competition is on the resume, and 10% on interviews. (Now I feel 95%/5%) Many candidates can pass interviews if given the chance. The chance is given to winning resumes. I say this to my friends because I learned from experience to invest much more effort improving the resume, until it can impress a large percentage of recruiters and hiring managers.

For the “main street” positions, I hope to engage 33% of the recruiters and 10% of the hiring managers. With that, if I were to try 30 opportunities, I could expect to get 3 interviews!

creative writing on CV

Hi Shanyou,

Sharing my observations…

Creative resume writing is an “art”. Over the years I have worked out some rules of thumb.

  • Be careful with the dates in the CV, as they can be used as evidence of cheating.
    • o I sometimes specify only the year without month. If recruiter asks for the month, I would say, it means entire year is on that project
    • o I don’t massage the dates in the last 7 years, but earlier than that, I’m more creative
    • o I’m more careful with *perm employee* project dates as the employer often has a compliance requirement to release the dates when requested
    • o Contract agencies may close down or change name. The account managers in charge of my assignment often change job. The dates they have in their system is less reliable.
      • Also, Under one agency, I could have 2 assignments at two sites, so the dates are fuzzy.
    • o Since I changed jobs too many times, I sometimes combine the earliest 3 jobs into one, when I know the employer is already gone, and it’s 12 years ago.
  • Job duty is really up to me to write, esp. with my contract jobs. Also jobs done 7 years ago are not so relevant, so the background checkers are less concerned. I often shift or copy my “job duties” section from one job to another job.
  • The technical experience or domain experience are up to me to write.
    • o I used to mention java swing in 5 out of 7 past jobs. This way, my resume looked like a java swing veteran.
    • o I used to mention connectivity in 5 out of 7 past jobs.
    • o I used to mention c# in all of my past jobs.
    • o I used to mention Forex in 4 out of 6 past jobs (To create an impression of “Forex focus” I delete all jobs that are unrelated to forex. If recruiter ask about the gap, I say it’s irrelevant or I say I was jobless). Actually, only 2 jobs had some forex element.
  • I keep 3 versions of resume. I create a temporary version when a job application requires it. I don’t spend more than 20 minutes creating each version, as the effort is unlikely to pay dividends.

This is a trial-and-error process. I sometimes become over-creative and test the market. If no one notices or questions me over a few (10?) job interviews, then it’s considered very safe creativity. If they do spot any inconsistency, then I back off and admit a typo mistake.

I now think some hiring managers are suspicious or very perceptive so they could see through my creativity but won’t say anything, so I am completely unaware.

I see the resume as advertisement. The goal is an initial interview. If I ace the interview, they basically accept the resume as is.

Victor

2017-hunt priorities

To optimize for income, I would leverage on my 1) analytics 2) threading 3) SQL (+ possibly algo) expertise. Importance of income:

  • health insurance — will need for kids for sure
  • first few gigs might be low rate, given the dry season
  • home purchase in 5Y — confirmed requirement. If I want short commute + Chinese community, then price will be high
  • might go without income longer, like a few months
  • initial set-up cost — 5k-10k, but at this level adjustment on wife’s part will be tough. Even a 20k relief fund is drop in a bucket. Need 100k.
  • tail risk — I might come back to SGP sooner (like end of 2017) and take a low-pay job
  • tail risk — if GC process goes astray, I may go back to SG without a GC, so the X years I spent here I need to earn enough.

May not have much of a choice, given the slow c2c market right now.

My 2017 priorities:

  1. avoid churn? so avoid web, javascript, in-memory DB, spring/hibernate and most of the new technologies I hear about the west coast
  2. muscle-building contexx? so avoid java/sql? Better to deepen my c++ as a 2nd front. Willing to take lower salary? LG2 can postpone this to 2018/2019. See post on re-enter c++
  3. my c++ learning is reaching a critical mass
  4. —- unsorted lower priorities —-
  5. income to keep me feeling secure and self-respecting. I got this from the offers!
  6. flexibility to work from Singapore. Can spend more time with wife, parents and kids.
  7. location for upcoming home-purchase
  8. unlock new markets — west coast, c++, data science ..
  9. commute?
  10. chance to impress manager
  11. leisure time to exercise, improve c++, call home, learn driving etc

My ideal (yet realistic) 1st project:

  • slightly below (like 80%) my capacity. Chance to impress manager due to my specialty knowledge. “These managers could make things happen”.
  • has spare capacity to check out the potential homes
  • salary? LG2 like $65/hr
  • c++ or java
  • possibly west coast but the high rate is usually for FTE.

Alternatively, a temp contract to try c++ again, but only after I clear some high-end java interviews to build my confidence in earning capacity.

  • low salary like 120k
  • hands-on c++ (not C) on a large codebase to build mileage
  • NY or west coast or anywhere else

CV-worthy buzzword trading domain knowledge

Many extremely important and central systems aren’t worth mentioning in your CV because most readers don’t understand their value. Examples — real time credit limit check; tiered quote pricer; commission…

The most prestigious, recognizable “star players” are
* real time, market-data-driven pricing and valuation
* curve-based pricing
* algo trading — vwap/twap becoming commoditized, but other algos?
* VaR
* execution – order crossing
* trade capture, trade booking
* OMS in a trading desk (The OMS inside an exchange is a different animal)
* connectivity to exchanges and ECN
* real time risk
* market data gateways
* anything low latency, high frequency
* Monte Carlo simulation — probably a risk/stress-test rather than a real-time component

[[all about high frequency trading]] explains many other components of a HFT buy-side system.

self-management: Part 2)demonstrate@CV+interview

Tip: See blog on [[vague vs normal vs specific answers]], but in this case, be specific if you want to demonstrate these qualities.

Tip: you don’t need to prove anything if you already have convincing team-lead experience on your CV.
Tip: Tell stories
Tip: show your familiarity with the typical front office culture.
Tip: demonstrate you know how to work with QA team – give them the docs on build/deploy, DB deployment
Tip: demonstrate your documentation best practices – wiki (GS), jira (GS, ML), cheatsheet/runbook

Tip: Humor? If you are 100% sure about side effects, then I think it can help demonstrate communication effectiveness, but I feel a lot of good self-running developers aren’t humorous.

sentiments in Jan 2010

Each day, i work hard on 2 things — company projects and job hunting. Exhausting. A third task I do is learning java. I actually enjoy it more than the other 2. I find it hard to slow down. It feels like running on a treadmill.

Everyday, my mood is affected by the number of emails I receive from recruiters. I contact them by email/phone on a weekly basis. When I don’t hear from someone for a long time, i feel a bit disappointed.

I still feel reluctant about letting down my users. I think they gave me good reviews in Jul 2009 and they still are very nice to me, perhaps because they depend on me. Since i don’t want to let them down, i work hard to meet deadlines. These deadlines are set by my boss and are often unreasonable, but once set, i feel i need to meet them.