Along with IT, the industry of finance is among the most prevalent in the world today. The recent recession seems only to have bolstered the industry: People with financial access and knowledge are needed more than ever in tough economic times.
The industry is so in demand at this point that in order to get that entry level position, you may have to already have experience. Here are a few ways that you can get the experience that financial employers will be looking for.
Intern as much as possible.
Whether you are a student or not, if you are trying to land a highly valued financial position, odds are that you will be working for free at some point. Go ahead and get it out of the way. As a student, it is much easier to find internships than if you are switching from another industry. However, you may be able to find internships without being a student by looking into university resources at the library or simply asking companies that have job listings in classifieds.
When it comes to internships, start as early as possible. Also, make sure that you have internships in many different areas of finance. For instance, do not do equity internships unless you are completely certain that you want to be a trader. Mix it up so that you can show experience in all aspects of finance to a potential employer.
Start working on your CFA.
Getting your Chartered Financial Analyst degree is the only educational credential that will seriously move ahead your prospects for a job in the market. Virtually all of your competition will have incredibly high grades in school with all of the extracurricular activities that are expected of a top tier applicant. You need to specialize in order to stand out.
Learn the lingo of the industry.
A great deal of “expertise” in finance is simply learning to talk the talk. Make financial staples such as the Wall Street Journal a part of your day to day lifestyle so that you can relate to the people who will be giving you a job. You should have an opinion on all major financial issues of the day – there is nothing worse to a financial employer than not having the information necessary to make an informed decision on potential transactions.
The Economist or Barron’s are also great publications that you can find in many different places without a subscription. If you are a student, take advantage of the discounts that these magazines give. Even going over recent back issues will give you leverage over your competition in the job market.
Start your own small business or trade for yourself successfully.
There is nothing better than real results when it comes to proof that you can make someone else a profit. If you have a license to trade for others, you can start your own small business. If you do not, then you can trade for yourself. When you have a history of success, then financial employers will look at you with another level of respect. Rest assured that results on paper speak worlds louder than any degree or personal connection in the world of money when it comes to breaking the entry level door down.