The finance industry is one that’s often considered a solid career choice. Many people study to get their finance and economics degrees. After completing their education, they may not be sure where to turn as far as breaking into the field and the best entry-level positions.
Finance is a broad category, and it can include careers that focus on money management, as well as how money is acquired. Typically, finance can be divided into three subcategories: corporate finance, public finance, and personal finance.
Regardless of the specific field you go into, you do have to have an understanding of accounting, as well as concepts surrounding raising and investing capital.
The following are some things to know if you want to launch a career related to finance.
You Need a Degree, But That’s Not All That Matters
In nearly all circumstances, you’ll need a degree to get into finance.
However, other important factors will play a role in your job search.
You need to be a problem-solver, someone with analytical skills, and also you’ll need to have interpersonal skills.
Consider a Financial Analyst Program
For a lot of finance grads, you might start your career by entering a financial analyst program.
A financial analyst program tends to be rotational, meaning that you’ll work in different departments so it’ll help you figure out where your skills and interests lie. These programs usually last a couple of years.
A financial analyst entry-level program not only gives you experience and helps you hone in on what you’re most interested in, but you can also use it as an opportunity to network with people in the company.
Along with financial analyst programs, many financial companies offer placement programs and internships to begin while you’re still in school.
Other Entry-Level Roles
Some other entry-level roles to consider as you’re starting your career include:
- Investment banking analyst: Investment banking is considered one of the most coveted and financially rewarding areas of finance to work in. Investment bankers work with individuals and corporations, as well as governments and venture capital firms. An analyst is typically the entry-level role and you might work at a venture capital firm, investment bank, or hedge fund.
- Junior tax associate: In this role, you would work for an employer to help them with various issues related to taxes. Experience in this role can lead to future opportunities and positions such as controllers, accounting measurers, or treasurers.
- Personal financial advisor: A personal financial advisor works with individuals to help them make decisions on saving, investing, and budgeting. A personal financial advisor might help someone create a roadmap to meet their short- and long-term goals.
If you’re just starting to build your career, you might also want to look at the less “popular” entry-level jobs. For example, you could consider working in budgeting and forecasting.
You might also look for opportunities at smaller companies rather than just the big-name players because you’re more likely to standout and get more significant responsibilities and opportunities in a smaller company.
Networking is extremely important in many fields, but perhaps especially so in finance.
Networking is one of the best ways to set yourself up to get the entry-level finance job you want.
You can start networking by contacting alumni who work at companies you could see yourself at. You can also attend networking events. Maybe even family friends, neighbors, or family members can help you get your foot in the door.
Get Familiar with the Financial World
Beyond your formal education, you want to be able to speak in industry terms and show that finance is something you’re comfortable with on every level.
Every day you should plan to watch financial news and read financially-driven newspapers and magazines. It should become part of your daily habits, because each time you do that you’re not only learning what’s happening in the industry, but you’re also learning the jargon.
You want to not only know the relevant terms, but you want to be comfortable using them contextually.
Finally, start building your credentials. Beyond your college education, there are many credentials you can work toward in finance, and each one you achieve is going to build your resume and put you closer to your goals.
One example is the Chartered Financial Analyst exam, which is one of the most respected credentials in the finance industry.
Another is the SIE, which you need to take if you’re going to work with certain investments and financial products.