The universe revolves around money. What occurs in the financial world has an impact on your life, either directly or indirectly.
So, if you’re debating which professional route to pursue, the finance industry is one to think about.
And before you say to yourself, “No way, I’m not a numbers guy,” reconsider.
The financial business is massive, with a wide range of divisions and departments that require nearly every skill set.
What about that English lit major? It could be useful.
To find out what it takes to break into the financial sector, we chatted with an industry veteran who has been recruiting for the financial sector for 20 years.
We also received advice for college students, recent college graduates, and individuals wishing to make a career change in their early to mid-twenties.
It’s Not Just About the Diploma
Yes, a college diploma is required. But it doesn’t matter what field that degree is in.
What exactly is it? According to Brian Drake, Senior Vice President and Talent Acquisition Manager at Wells Fargo, the ability to create relationships and communicate effectively is essential. Unless, of course, you’re interested in a field like accounting, which may necessitate certification.
“While some aspects of our company necessitate specific degrees, what many people are surprised to learn is the wide range of degrees that can be obtained and used to succeed in the banking industry. Drake explains, “I was a criminal justice major.”
So, before you tell yourself, “I’m not competent,” reconsider. Interpersonal skills, intellectual aptitude, and problem-solving abilities are essential. While they may appear to be general, they aren’t.
The nitty-gritty details are frequently learned on the job in the finance industry. Make sure you can explain what you’re doing today, what skills you’ve learned, and your professional trajectory if you’re not fresh out of college.
Getting Started in the Business
A financial analyst program is a wonderful place to start for fresh graduates.
These programs normally run for two years (depending on the organization) and are rotational, allowing you to try your hand in a variety of departments before selecting which is the greatest fit for you.
You’ll have created a network within the organization by the end of the cycle, and you’ll be eligible for a variety of full-time positions.
These courses, however, are not the only route in.
Drake compares it to the college admissions process if you’re searching for something more permanent.
“If you don’t attend one of these programmes,” he says,
“consider the same criteria that you used to get into college: well-roundedness, internships, extracurricular activities, and so on.”
Also, check to see if your résumé is up to par. Drake advises being practical and selective in your employment applications.
“Depending on the number of candidates, each resume will probably only get a 30-second review. Make your story stand out by making it clear and visible.
Don’t be a frequent candidate; instead, be selective. It’s a big turn-off, and we’d rather see someone who understands themselves,” he says.
Getting a Job in the Finance Industry
Your network will be your closest buddy if you want to make the transfer into finance.
Examine your personal and professional connections for someone who might be able to assist you in getting your foot in the door.
Then send them an email stating your intention and inviting them to meet for coffee to discuss it.
Drake concurs. “I can’t emphasize enough how critical it is to manage your personal and professional networks. Take advantage of it.
I recommend reading The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career, by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. Invest in yourself and build a strong network.”
And, rather than expecting a promotion, you may have to make a lateral transfer in title and compensation with any mid-career shift.
Be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you’re truly ready to make such a drastic change.
It’s also crucial to consider your current skills and the ones required for a finance profession (think: communication, analytical thinking).
How many of these do you have in your possession? Are you willing to put in the effort to learn the ones you don’t already know?
Consider moments in your career when you’ve needed and applied these talents successfully, and be prepared to discuss them in a future interview.
Stay positive if you decide to go for it. “You might even take a bigger step forward in the future,” Drake says.
Quick Success Hints
1. Did you get the job interview?
Complete your homework. Investigate the company on the internet.
Look into it.
Examine its job postings, LinkedIn and other social media pages, and even YouTube channels.
Many organizations, including Wells Fargo, “provide interview tips and broadcast films about their hiring process,” according to Drake.
Another one of his suggestions? Be ready to answer behavioral questions (such as how you handled previous work crises).
Make a list of your examples and practice!
2. Make Use of a Referral
We understand that this isn’t always doable.
However, if you have someone in your company’s network who is willing to vouch for you, make use of it!
Being a well-known commodity helps, especially if the referral comes from within the company, according to Drake.
“All applications are treated equally, but our data shows that referrals from team members perform better.”
“They fit in well with the company’s culture and tend to remain longer.”
3. Be truthful to yourself and others.
Be honest with yourself if you leave the interview unsure if it’s the appropriate fit.
It’s fine to move on to a company that better fits your personality and skillset (ideally).
But, before you do, Drake advises that you seek counsel on how to enhance your interview abilities and connect on LinkedIn.
“This advice can be priceless,” he says.
So, whether you’re a recent grad trying to make the transfer or a fresh out of school looking to break in, give these ideas a chance.
It’s also important to remember that it’s not about your degree, but about you.
They’ll teach you the technicalities, you just have to have the will to learn.