Getting Your Foot in the Door: How to Find Your First Financial Job

You say you’re interested in a financial career? Good for you! Financial careers can be highly rewarding – not to mention lucrative. Chances are you’ve already begun your preparation by majoring in finance, accounting, business, economics, or another related field. But if you think the hard work ends with a walk across a stage and a diploma in hand, think again. Finding a job, particularly an entry level job, in a financial field can be challenging. Many recruiters will tell you it involves just as much hard work as earning a college degree.

Fortunately, there are a number of basic steps you can follow to dramatically improve your chances of landing a dream financial job, oftentimes starting while you are still an undergrad.

  1. Take On An Internship – One of the best ways to gain real world experience in the financial sector – or any sector, for that matter – is to experience it firsthand. Internships are relatively easy to secure and they look great on a resume. Be prepared to handle the grunt work, however, as most interns don’t find themselves making strategic decisions. More likely, you’ll be making the coffee. But while you’re at it, you can be observing. Listen, look, and take it all in. You will be far better prepared to answer key questions during a job interview if you have walked the walk. And once you are actually hired, you will be ready to hit the ground running.
  2. Expand Your Knowledge – Sure, your classes will give you the basics, but you should be supplementing your formal education with some rigorous industry reading. Add The Wall Street Journal or The Financial Times to your daily routine. Weekly magazines like The Economist and Barron’s should also be on your reading list. Check out financial websites and read books about investing and other related subjects. Whenever you come across a term you don’t know, look it up.
  3. Network Everywhere You Go – Take advantage of every opportunity to build your network. Visit your schools’s Career Services Center and ask for lists of alumni now working in the financial sector. Join relevant clubs or professional associations. Call up any family friends who just happen to work in a financial field. Tap into as many resources as possible. Start a collection of business cards. Don’t forget about your professors. Many of them used to work in the field they teach, so they may very well have a good list of contacts they can turn you on to.
  4. Target Specific Companies – Decide who you want to work for and set up a search on, so you will be alerted to job openings. Consult with finance staffing agencies to help you track applicable openings at the companies you’re eyeing. Set your sights on fast-growing companies. They will be more likely to have opportunities, particularly those for up-and-coming financial professionals. Once you have zeroed in on specific companies, you will be better positioned to focus your job search and customize your resume to highlight the most appropriate skills and experience.

For assistance with your personal job search, contact Daley and Associates. Whatever field you choose, we have the expertise to help you land the job of your dreams.

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