“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” – Rolling Stones

What public finance areas do you excel in and how can you market yourself for the job that you want?

As my wife often reminds me, I’m stuck in a music time warp. It’s the 60s and the 70s for me.  Recently I was listening to a classic from The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”. It made me think of certain individuals that I’ve worked with over the years. These individuals did not get the positions they wanted and were either forced to leave the industry into non-related public finance areas or settle for something much less than what they had anticipated. I want to address this entire issue and make some suggestions that can help you get that coveted position.

Are You Marketable For Your Future Career Desires?

The first thing I do when somebody comes to me is an in-depth dive on who they are, what they’ve accomplished, but most importantly what they want to do. If I believe I am not able to help them, I share that immediately and try to make recommendations of things that they can do to make themselves more marketable. If you’re unable to get the position that you really want and have been searching for quite a while, you may have to broaden your parameters. What does that mean? Specifically, it means that you need to examine yourself and what you have to offer to a potential new employer. It means thinking outside of the box as to how you present yourself to a new employer, possibly something not directly related to public finance areas. It also may mean revamping your resume to emphasize a different area of your expertise. Recently I had someone reach out to me and I shared that their resume was not a proper reflection of what they need to show to secure this new position. The first thing the potential candidate said to me was, “My resume is my resume.” I couldn’t agree more with that. However, what I shared is that it may need to highlight what you have done, which may be different than what is in your current resume.

Transferable Talents For Non-Public Finance Areas

Let’s deviate here for a bit and look at what options are available to a public finance professional outside of traditional banking. I’m going to list some opportunities that could be available, so that you can start thinking outside of the box (should you find yourself in this situation) of spaces outside of public finance areas.

1.   Working for an issuer versus a banking firm.

2.   If you’re a public finance banker, you could look at going to the financial advisory side.

3.   If you’re a financial advisor, you could look at going to the banking side.

4.   Your talent as a knowledgeable individual of public finance areas could be needed by a bond counsel firm.

5.   Your talent could be used by a placement firm.

6.   There is a possibility that you could be utilized with a firm that has a very large bond portfolio.

7.   If you understand the development cycle of the business, you could look at working for a major real estate developer by assisting in their tax-exempt financing programs.

8.   You may be able to form your own consulting business representing developers who are not large enough to have an in-house need but have projects that could take advantage of tax-exempt financing.

9.   You could potentially work for an insurer of bonds or letters of credit.

10.  You could be in great demand by a traditional commercial bank as they have numerous public finance opportunities.

More Options Out There Waiting For You:

In Or Out Of Public Finance Areas

The point of the above list is for you to realize that with your knowledge and expertise there are other areas that would be interested in working with you. As an example, I just took on my first non-public finance client who actually markets a data service to public finance underwriters and traders. The reason I’m sharing this is because as public finance continues to grow and evolve it is spreading its wings into nontraditional public finance areas. Those areas could be compliance, regulatory, business development and fintech.  All of which a good public finance banker can bring their expertise to.  In the end, you may find that you get what you need.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting”.

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.