"Be A Sponge" And 15 More Career Tips From Goldman Sachs

goldman sachs interview

The careers section on the Goldman Sachs website is a goldmine of helpful career advice from Wall Street’s top investment bank.

There is a list of fine pointers on what Papa Blankfein’s recruiters are looking for in their new crop  – basically, you have to be a confident, standout superstar without an ounce of swagger. And best of all, there are one-liners from executives about what it takes to be a Goldmanite.

The Goldman careers website might be designed for the firm’s summer interns, but inside its four sub-sections – Do’s and Don’ts; Advice From Goldman Sachs Leaders; Network Like A Pro; Land the Offer – are useful career tips for everyone.

Carry a notebook with you at all times

This tip appeared twice - both in Do's and Don'ts and Advice From Leaders. It is obviously non-negotiable.

Source: Goldman Sachs

DON'T ask everyone the same questions

Asking the same question twice means either 1) You have nothing else to say or 2) You don't remember the answer.

We think the advice Goldman is giving here is that if you don't understand an answer, be upfront about it. Don't run to someone else and see if you understand their answer. You'll waste much more time - yours and Goldman employees'.

Source: Goldman Sachs

DON'T bring your personal life into the office

The markets don't care if your dog died or your girlfriend just dumped you for a Morgan Stanley quant; so Goldman doesn't either.

Source: Goldman Sachs

DON'T spend working hours on social networking sites or texting friends

Your time is Goldman's time, not your own.

Source: Goldman Sachs

DON'T talk negatively about co-workers

We're assuming this rule doesn't extend to deals...

Source: Goldman Sachs

DON'T have nothing to do

Doing nothing implies that Goldman isn't getting a good return on its investment - you.

Lazy man's translation - always look busy.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Be a machine

'Keep up your enthusiasm and momentum throughout the summer. Some interns start well and then burn out. Others are slow starters and then shine at the end.'

Think of your career as a marathon, not a sprint. (But of course, you still want to win.)

Source: Goldman Sachs

DON'T say no to a free lunch

'If someone asks you to join him or her for lunch, you should go.'

Lunch = networking. Don't snub co-workers who ask to spend time with you.

Source: Goldman Sachs

DON'T expect to be a trader or a banker

Talking about classic mistakes that interns make, one exec said: 'Being narrow minded in terms of what you want to do. Not everyone can be a trader or a banker and not everyone is suited to it.'

If someone tells you you're going to be really great in HR, don't cry.

Source: Goldman Sachs

DON'T ignore junior members of the team

Be selective about your friends

'Get to know a lot of people early on but have some direction by the mid point of the program so that you are not perceived as being uninterested.'

Translation: work out who's important and make a beeline.

Source: Goldman Sachs

DON'T surrender to the free vodka

'Just because you're not in the office, doesn't mean you're not at work. It is not necessary to drink alcohol just because it's served at the event.'

Wait until you get hired to take advantage of booze-filled work parties.

Source: Goldman Sachs

DON'T ever relax, even on your coffee break

From the Network Like a Pro section: 'Lunch dates or coffee breaks are great opportunities to interact with colleagues.'

If you're not actually working, be networking.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Sign up for leadership conditioning

DON'T say thank you with a phone call; things could get awkward

'A thank you email to the person who interviewed you is a nice gesture but is by no means obligatory. Phone calls can be awkward and written letters take too long to arrive. If you do decide to send a thank you note, send it in an email.'

Avoiding awkward silence is always a good thing.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Be a sponge

Absorb; absorb; absorb. We assume this is why Goldman is so unrelenting on the notebook rule.

Source: Goldman Sachs

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