It’s tough enough for interns and young employees to make an impression on their Wall Street bosses during the best of times. Try projecting an aura of future indispensability on a Zoom call with 15 other faces crowding the screen.
The limitations of working from home during the pandemic lockdown can be daunting. But they can also inspire ambitious young people to come up with fresh ways to get noticed — and hired — during these challenging times. Here are some of their insights:
1. Two words: green screen.
On Zoom, Moe Jaman, a 23-year-old financial analyst, looks as if he’s surveying Manhattan from a chair in the sky. In reality it’s a photo he took from One World Trade Center. “When I first jump on, some people will go, ‘A penthouse!'” he said. He’s actually calling in from a crammed game room at his parents’ house in Parsippany, New Jersey. His technique has a bonus: His colleagues can’t see anything on the real wall behind him. “I have a sign up that I probably shouldn’t,” he said. It says “Children at Play.”
2. Take down the “Children at Play” sign.
3. Don’t wait to be invited. Set up your own Zooms.
“Everyone I’ve talked to has been receptive to doing it,” said Ben Burstein, a Citigroup Inc. research intern. “It’s pretty easy to just hop into a Zoom room rather than going to different floors or going to a place to eat.”
4. You can still have coffee or lunch with colleagues. Just do it virtually.
“The core traits of a good banker haven’t changed at all,” said Goldman Sachs intern Fausto Hernandez Reyes Retana. By that he means superior schmoozing skills. “You need to be more diligent about displaying them.”
5. The mute button is your friend, part 1.
The boss is working from home, too, and may not realize that the mute button doesn’t work unless he clicks on it. Jaman recognizes this is an opportunity. Before your supervisor embarrasses himself by, say, baby-talking to the dog or discussing the Jamal Adams trade with his daughter, ping him to let him know his mic is on. He’ll appreciate it.
6. The mute button is your friend, part 2.”This one time, one of my program manager’s kids came in, his name was Luca, so I definitely remembered that,” Jaman said. “I haven’t had the opportunity to be like, ‘Hey, how is Luca doing?’ But that is definitely something that I will be doing.”
7. Engage your remote audience with anecdotes.
Taani Ahluwalia, an intern at real estate services giant CBRE Group Inc., sprinkled photos of herself doing homework and video of TikTok baking challenges into a recent presentation. “There’s a bit more of a lax nature with working from home, which is something you can take advantage of to get other people to know about you,” Ahluwalia said. Those images will stick with your supervisors and help you be more than just The Intern.
8. Brag about this summer forever.
Interning on Wall Street during Covid-19 can be a badge of honor. Something to lord over the plebes who come up after you. Like any edge, use it.