Interested in Private Equity? How to Land Your Dream Job

Land Your Dream Job in Private Equity

So, you want to get into private equity? As any job recruiter will tell you — that isn’t a small feat. It takes hard work, plenty of schooling, and NETWORKING to get your foot in the door at a private equity firm. Just ask Samuel Smith, an analyst at a PE firm that specializes in the energy sector.

In an interview with, Smith says he’s living proof that landing a coveted PE job can be done. As you read in the following excerpts, you’ll find one recurring theme played a big role in landing his first job: Networking.  Smith explained:

“As an undergraduate, the first step I took to improve my chances of landing a job was to start networking. I created an account on LinkedIn and began following private equity firms and joining PE groups such as the Hedge Fund, Private Equity & Alternative Investments Networking Group. This helped me learn a lot more about which companies were fundraising, which companies typically hired summer associates, and other facts. I also reached out to recruiters and employees of some of the PE firms in my area of interest (energy). I didn’t ask for a job or an internship, but instead just requested an information interview. I sent out probably 25 requests, and a few people were nice enough to talk to me on the phone or via e-mail.”

First, I landed a summer internship as a finance department associate at a portfolio company. One of my LinkedIn group contacts mentioned that his company was launching an internship program, so I applied. After graduation, I applied for analyst positions at investment banks. No luck at first, but after a lot of hard work, I was offered a position by a well-known New York-based investment bank. This bank provided investment advice to many PE firms, and I was able to hone my skills and gain valuable experience as a team member on several major deals.

Everything was going well, but I still hadn’t met my goal: landing a job in the PE industry.

During this time, I enrolled in Columbia’s MBA program and continued to network on LinkedIn, talk to my professors about job opportunities, and learn as much as I could about the PE industry. One of my professors suggested that I join the business school’s Private Equity & Venture Capital Club and volunteer at its annual Private Equity & Venture Capital Conference.

Long story short: I volunteered at the conference and met several general partners who were speaking at the event. And here’s where the luck I mentioned earlier comes in. One of the speakers was the GP who gave me an informational interview a few years back. He remembered me right away. I updated him on my educational and career activities since we last talked. He was very encouraging, but said that his firm wasn’t hiring currently. After the event ended, I sent the GP a thank you note along with my business card and pretty much thought that was it. But two weeks later, the GP called me to let me know that a colleague at another firm was seeking an MBA hire for an entry-level position. Several interviews later, I was offered a job!”

Smith’s takeaway: Make networking almost your full-time job. Get to know as many people as you can within the PE industry. But do more than shake hands; talk to people. With a little luck and excellent timing, Smith says it IS possible to break into the PE industry. Diligence is key.

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Are you considering a private equity position?  Need help planning your own job search strategies?  Learn more about open private equity, finance, and accounting industry opportunities with a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group.  Or, if you need assistance in managing your career development, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services.






By Lexacount Search

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Lexacount Search is a boutique recruiting and staffing company, focusing on permanent placement for legal and accounting professionals. We place attorneys, paralegals, accountants, and contract specialists with law firms and corporations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and nationwide. Equidistant from New York and Washington, D.C., our offices are located in suburban Philadelphia. Our search consultants have a range of experiences as lawyers, paralegals, law clerks, accountants and accounting clerks. These backgrounds make our consultants uniquely qualified to match your skills and career goals with permanent positions with our clients. Whether you are a lawyer, paralegal, law clerk, accountant, accounting clerk or other skilled professional, Lexacount will provide you with a variety of available career opportunities.

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