If you have a careful eye for detail, a mathematical brain and a methodical approach to work, a job in finance could be a good fit. Whilst a degree in economics or business is preferred for some roles, many financial institutions encourage applicants from all backgrounds and with a range of degrees. Some institutions even offer applicants the chance to actually gain a qualification whilst on the job.
Whatever your educational background and chosen career path, if you’re looking for a job where money really matters, take a look at James Reed’s top tips.
- Communicate your USPs
Competition for places in today’s labour market is fierce, particularly at the top financial institutions, which receive thousands of applications for entry-level positions or graduate schemes.
Making sure your CV stands out to whoever happens to read it is crucial. Bear in mind that it takes only seven seconds for a recruiter to assess your CV and decide if it will be passed on – even TV commercials have longer to grab your attention.
Be sure to communicate your USPs carefully. That means tailoring the content of your CV to the role you’re applying for. The finance sector encompasses a range of different roles and no two are the same. Whatever position you’re applying for, whether it’s for a wealth management role or a stockbroker, make sure your relevant skills are evidenced in your CV.
- Showcase your knowledge
There are few industries that are less forgiving when it comes to not knowing your lingo. Workplace jargon may be unpopular elsewhere, but in finance, it’s essential to landing the job and progressing your career. Regardless of your educational background, as an interviewee you will be expected to know your Wall Street vocabulary: what makes dividend different to dilution; what do DCF and NPV stand for? Make sure you’ve memorised key terms that are likely to come up and have your finance glossary on standby.
Having a clear understanding of the finance sector will also help you understand what your dream role may be and give you the focus to achieve it. For example, you may have your sights set on becoming a financial adviser or working within wealth management. Understanding what makes these roles different will show that you have clear ambitions for the future.
Finally, make sure to keep up to date with the latest trends and market developments. The industry is constantly developing and changing – with new FinTech, regulations and consumer behaviour shaping the future of the market. Impress your interviewer by showing you’re ahead of the curve and passionate about the sector too!
- Demonstrate and deliver
You never get a second chance at a first impression, so be sure to make it count. If you are to land an interview for your dream job, you must show why you are the best candidate for that particular role and be ready to demonstrate your skills practically in various interview scenarios.
So you can ace every number round on Countdown. Impressive, but don’t expect these credentials alone to help you sail through the application process. Be prepared to be put through your paces by undertaking a numerical aptitude test prior to, or during the interview process. You’ll likely be presented with financial information and expected to demonstrate knowledge of basic arithmetic. Don’t be alarmed, though. Much like your driving test theory paper, there is an abundance of free tests you can take online to practise before the real one.
- Put your mindset to work
An employer wants you to prove that you have the right skills and mindset to do the job, and most importantly, that you will bring integrity and honesty to your work and the organization.
Present yourself professionally both in terms of your physical appearance and how you portray yourself in an interview. This means going through your CV and application with a fine-tooth comb to look for any mistakes; showing you are able to hold a viable conversation in a professional environment; and having a clean online presence.
- Flexibility is key
When job hunting within the financial services sector, it’s advantageous to approach the process with an open mind.
Lots of competition for roles means that you may not get your first or even second choice. Don’t worry if you don’t get your ‘dream job’ on your first try – there are plenty of other great organisations where you will learn a lot – and don’t be afraid to start small.
Be as open as possible to broader roles and be practical. With the right attitude and experience, you can and will quickly work your way up. Most managers accept that skills can be learned quickly if you have the right mindset. It’s impossible to know everything on your first day or even a year working in finance, but demonstrating positivity, enthusiasm and willingness to be flexible will allow you to go far.
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