Get ahead at work in a pandemic: six tips from Wall Street interns

It’s time to come up with fresh ways to get noticed

It’s tough enough for interns and young employees to make an impression on their Wall Street or other 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 Centre.

"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 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. 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 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."

3. 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.”

4. The mute button is your friend, part 1

The boss is working from home, too, and may not realise that the mute button doesn’t work unless he or she clicks on it. Jaman recognises this is an opportunity. Before your supervisor embarrasses himself or herself by, say, baby-talking to the dog or discussing a trade with his or her daughter, ping him or her to let them know the mic is on. He or she will appreciate it.

5. The mute button is your friend, part 2

”This one time, one of my programme 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.”

6. Engage your remote audience with anecdotes

Taani Ahluwalia, an intern at real estate services giant CBRE, 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. – Bloomberg