Does working with numbers sound fascinating to you? Do you want to work in the Wall Street equivalent of your country?
Like many people who’re about to jump start their careers — or those looking to shift out of their old ones — the lucrative appeal of finance can be tempting.
And we don’t blame you. Here are some ways on how you can break into the financial industry.
Do you need a finance-related degree?
The first question many would have in their head is whether you’d need a degree to get started in the world of finance.
-Brief answer: no.
While it would help to possess a degree, employers look for more qualities for an employee over anything. Every employer wants smart, committed, and motivated employees who are capable of doing the job.
Since anyone can say they’re motivated to do a job (especially those blindly shooting for an income source), here are ways to show your irrefutable commitment to finance without a degree:
- Take Monarch online courses
- Try entering a financial bootcamp
- Try to simulate trades with online tools
- Hit up a friendly mentor
The bottom line is: if you want to get into finance, prepare to put in the extra effort to give yourself an edge over the other applicants.
And if you’re looking to enter Wall Street through other means, sectors such as IT, mathematics, engineering, and the sciences also are sought after there.
Prepare to work overtime on some days
Banking and finances is a lucrative profession – no doubt about that. But it’s also incredibly high-stress with its incessant number-crunching and tight deadlines. If you’re looking to grow in this industry, be prepared to block off some random Tuesday night or entire Saturday to spend in the office.
Sleepless nights may be more than just a story now, but reality. Your attitude towards putting in the extra effort can determine your career trajectory in this field. So think long and hard about your willingness to sacrifice a bit of your work-life balance to excel in the financial industry.
It’s not all about the numbers
Financial services may seem like it’s all about numbers and figures, but it’s more than just that. While you get hired based on your technical skills, your personality and demeanor also play a role in succeeding in this industry.
Make your personality shine as you enter the interview; authenticity and genuineness, believe it or not, matter. Especially for client-facing roles like relationship managers. It’s not just about your degree, or the prestige of your university, it’s about how you’d bring something beneficial to the table.
If you have an excellent command of financial knowledge, but an unbearable personality, you’d have a hard time getting chosen over thousands of other applicants who are more trainable than you.
Network with people in the finance industry
Having connections within the industry can give you a leg up in breaking through the first barrier: getting an interview. Go on networking events, social events, volunteer groups, and career fairs to get your name out to notable people who’re already in the industry.
This works whether you’re still fresh off of college looking for your first career opportunity or looking to jump ship from your industry. The value of networking is that it opens more doors for you.
You may stumble upon a hardened mentor who’s been in the industry longer than you’ve been born, and such a relationship is invaluable. The wealth of information they can give you, and the nod they’ll give to HR, can spell all the difference for your acceptance in the business.
Once you get invited to an interview, study the company
One stop closer to getting your foot on the door? The internet has plenty of resources you can learn from regarding the companies you apply for, financial services included.
Check out a company’s Linkedin page, website, or any other source that you can use to understand what the company does. Besides that, also strive to be at least somewhat familiar with your role.
Get a good idea of each bullet point in your job description and ensure that you understand each point thoroughly. Once you’re through with that, hone up on other aspects to prepare you for your interview. This includes figuring out answers to behavioural questions and providing solid examples for each.
With a satisfactory answer, you’d get one step closer to getting into the industry of your dreams!
Secure a financial internship
The things you’re taught in college don’t always apply in the real world, and this mantra follows suit in the finance industry. In between college years or a bit after graduating, it’s extremely valuable to gain plenty of exposure and real-life experience in your desired field.
Not only do you gain exposure, you can also use your experience as a selling point in your resume to better your chances of getting a full time job within the company or competing ones.
What to expect during internships? If you’ve gone through the interview process and got the internship, congratulations! For many internships, you’re expected to do mainly routinary tasks, like printing documents, making presentations, and similar duties.
But aside from that, many great companies provide learning opportunities, seminars, networking, and other valuable real-world applications. Make the most of it during your stint – and you’ll learn to absorb how the clock turns in financial institutions.
Learn financial lingo
If you want to enter the finance world, you should at the very least show interest in the current affairs in the industry. Try to get your head around the basic financial lingo that litter all over the finance world.
For example, do you know what terms like federal discount rates or EBITDA mean? One way to gain information is by keeping up with financial news through media outlets and financial news in particular, such as The Economist or Financial Times. Regularly reading this before you sign up for a finance role is crucial to ensure that you’d pass the technical interview and that you actually know whether the financial field is right for you.
Dedicate a couple minutes every day to stay on top of the news, upskill on new vocabulary, and you’ll be more knowledgeable and prepared to break into finance in the long run.