Did you know the employment of financial occupations is forecast to grow seven percent through 2028?
Considering that the average growth rate for all occupations in the United States is five percent, it’s fairly accurate to say finance students can expect to find employment soon after graduating.
However, just because there’s a good demand for finance professionals doesn’t mean you’ll easily land the best finance jobs. Employers are always looking for top talent, which increases competition for jobs.
Worry not, though. We’re here to help.
Continue reading to learn how to secure the best jobs in finance.
Pick Your Finance Major Wisely
A decade or so ago, finance was offered as a major in business courses. Today, it’s commonplace to find stand-alone finance programs that allow students to major in more specialized areas of finance.
Top finance majors include:
- Corporate finance
- Investment banking
- Commercial banking
- Personal finance planning
- Risk and asset management
- Financial policy.
These majors lead to different career paths. For instance, if you major in investment banking, you’ll most likely work as an investment banker in one of the country’s investment banks or private investment companies. If you major in financial policy, you’d expect to find employment in government agencies involved in the creation and implementation of financial policies.
These career paths have different job outlooks.
Financial policy jobs, for example, are usually few and far between, given that positions are typically available in government agencies. As such, you might struggle to find a job if you major in this field.
On the other hand, corporate, investment, and commercial banking usually have a strong job outlook. You’re more likely to find a job quickly if you major in any of these areas.
Choose your major wisely. While it’s prudent to follow your passions, be sure to balance them with the realities of the job market.
Your Degree GPA Matters
Graduating from college with a finance degree, especially a bachelor’s, is a big achievement.
However, when the graduation dust settles and you’re down to making job applications for finance jobs, you’ll quickly realize that prospective employees are paying particular attention to not just your area of specialization, but also your GPA.
Finance is an education-intensive field. You’ve to study finance to competently perform your roles and responsibilities. And you’ve got to be good at it.
In positions like corporate banking, your employer will be counting on you to develop reliable financial models and make financial forecasts. You can’t hack this if you don’t have the book smarts. And the best way for any employer to know whether you’ve got the brains is to look at your GPA.
Seriously, you aren’t going to land a job at Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs or anywhere along Wall Street if you graduated bottom of the class.
So, if you’re in college right now, pay attention to that GPA.
Make Use of Internship Opportunities
Most bachelor’s degree programs in finance require students to complete an internship before graduation.
An internship is a good opportunity to step into the financial world and earn real-life experience. Focus on finding an internship position in an established organization. For instance, if you’re majoring in investment banking, try and find a spot in established investment firms.
While interning, don’t just settle on doing what you’re assigned. Put on a learning attitude. Observe the ways and methods of the experienced pros you’ll be working with.
Don’t pass up opportunities to attend industry events that might come up during your time as an intern. Go and start growing your professional network. You never know, one of the people you’ll meet could turn out to be your future employer.
Put in Those Job Applications Early Enough
Don’t want until you graduate to start applying for jobs. If you do, your application will find a huge pile, which means it’s going to take quite some time before an employer reaches yours.
Ideally, you should send in applications in your last year of college. Write up a solid resume and a cover letter and apply for entry-level positions. Most top firms in the finance industry have a record of recruiting talent from colleges.
Bear in mind that finance is a hierarchal career. Most people start out in entry-level positions and work their way up. Don’t expect to land senior financial positions straight out of college.
It’s also advisable to work with finance recruitment agencies, especially if you’re a newbie in the job market. A recruiter will help polish up your resume and cover letter, make applications on your behalf, and help your prepare adequately for interviews.
Secure a Professional Certification in Finance
A finance degree will earn you a job.
However, if you want a good job, you need more than just a degree. You also need a professional certification in finance. Certification demonstrates that you have the determination to go above and beyond the minimum and also proves your dedication to the financial field.
There are plenty of professional certifications to choose from, but you need one that aligns with your specialization.
For example, if you majored in risk and asset management, either the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification will suit you. If you’re going with FRM, see here to learn about examination preparation and other important details.
Some certifications require candidates to hold a certain amount of industry experience, so be sure to check the requirements before making an application.
Your Path to Getting Jobs in Finance
Pursuing a finance major and graduating is one step to getting jobs in finance. The other part happens outside the classroom, where you have to hit the streets, make applications, and ace interviews. With this guide, your path to being hired as a financial professional is now well-lit.
All the best and keep reading our blog for more career tips and insights.