Why I didn’t give up on my dream of working at Vanguard

“Thank you for coming in to interview with Vanguard, unfortunately…”

I didn’t get the job.

I felt like my world was over.

This was me in 2016: I was approaching my last semester of college and had no job lined up. I had also just found out my wife was pregnant. Needless to say, it was a very challenging and frightening time. And even though being declined for a job feels lousy, I knew immediately I would apply again.

You’re probably thinking, why reapply at a company that rejected you? Truthfully, I’ve always been fascinated with Vanguard! I come from a single-parent home with a tough military-widowed mother. My mother did an exceptional job raising three kids, however, I never had a good understanding of how investing works. In college, I would observe personal finance classes and try to glean as much info as I could. The more I researched, the more intrigued I became with the process of choosing investments wisely and setting appropriate goals. I also came to understand how much people trusted in Vanguard and came to really believe in its mission to stand up for ALL investors. I knew that if I had to start my finance career anywhere, I needed to start it at Vanguard.

Vanguard dream job persistence

So I applied again, and again I was called in to interview. This time, I focused on a set of principles to help demonstrate the interests and abilities I felt made me a good fit for the company:


You have to show your passion in both words and actions. During the interview, I discussed starting my own consulting practice to gain more experience in the consulting space. I shared what I learned from taking on such a big endeavor and how it related to the role I desired.


After you’ve shown that you can confidently take initiative, can you endure? While at school I was passionate about business and social impact and found an organization that combined both. By an interesting turn of events, I became the president of the organization. Although I was new, I didn’t let my naïveté slow me down and was able to lead the group through several projects. I shared in my interview how these experiences trained me to face demanding situations successfully.


I’m a firm believer that hard work over an extended period of time can yield great results. When I was first turned down by Vanguard, I made sure to keep my skills fresh and gain knowledge: I enrolled in a career prep class to enhance my interviewing skills. I studied everything I could about Vanguard: their products and services, their marketing style, and their culture. I even brought a portfolio of my past projects and an academic manuscript to show that I could dedicate myself to Vanguard and its mission.

A couple weeks after the next round of interviews, I got THE call again:

(drumroll please)

I was being offered a position in the company! It was a lot of effort and a long wait, but achieving the goal I had worked so hard for is indescribable.

So, was my journey worth it? Has it been everything I hoped it would be? Stay tuned for part two where I’ll share what it’s like to work at Vanguard – and how I feel now that I’m hired.

-Joseph R.

If you enjoyed this post, check out more from our #LifeatVanguard Blog. And if you’re ready for a more rewarding, engaging, meaningful career, search our opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.

Recent Posts