Employment

How to Land a Job in Finance Fresh Out of College

The financial industry is notoriously difficult to break into. Being a recent graduate with no real work experience makes it even more difficult. However, it is not impossible. Prepare yourself now so you can land a great job in finance shortly after graduation.

Start Preparing Yourself Now

Preparation is key to developing yourself into an attractive candidate. The following steps will prepare you to find your ideal job in finance once you have graduated.

  • Have a Vision for Your Career. Take time to figure out exactly what you want for yourself. Consider if the financial industry is right for you. If you decide it is, specify which role in this industry you would like. Do you want to be an equity trader, a financial analyst or an account manager? Creating a vision will help you take consistent steps towards realizing it. It will also help you decide which degrees to pursue. You may find that your bachelor’s degree will help you get started but that you will eventually need to earn a master of science in management onlineto advance.

  • Embrace the Right Major for You. Deciding on the right major will be one part of your vision, but its importance must be emphasized. You must be positive that your chosen degree will help you advance your professional goals. Kristi Hedges, a reporter for Forbes, suggests that you fully embrace your major once it’s been declared. Be passionate and enthusiastic about your degree. Hedges suggests that a passionate student will become a passionate candidate when interviewing for jobs — an incredibly attractive quality.

  • Never Stop Networking.According to Forbes, the most valuable skill a student can develop is the ability to network. Forbes suggests that you should request meetings with every relevant professional you meet. During these meetings, you should explain your career vision to them. Ask who they would suggest you meet with to accomplish your vision, and reach out to the people they provide. Follow up and let them know how the new contacts have helped you. This practice will help you establish a solid, professional network. Forbes also states that most people get jobs through connections.

Make the Most of Your Internships

Internships are the backbone of breaking into the finance industry. This means that having an internship will not differentiate you from other candidates. According to Investopedia, maximizing these internships is essential to finding a job in finance.

  • Intern Every Summer.If you just graduated high school and are about to start your bachelor’s degree, use the summer to intern. If you do this every summer during your undergraduate degree, you will have five internships once you graduate. You will receive professional advice while you intern, and you will be able to refocus your vision after each internship. You may discover that you will need to earn a masters of public administration online after you receive your bachelor’s degree, for instance.

  • Learn the Terminology. Some interns have a tendency to lack passion for their internships, largely because they are given low-level jobs. However, use these opportunities to learn the terminology of the financial industry. You will be in direct contact with professionals who will gladly teach you the terms you need to know.

  • Diversify Your Experience.Many interns are tempted to repeatedly intern at the same firm. However, this will limit your marketability after graduation. Investopedia suggests that interns seek internships at different types of firms. Intern at a stock-trading firm one summer and a wealth-management firm the next. You will discover which area of the financial industry is the best for you and have a variety of experience to discuss during a job interview.

Hard Work and Dedication Are Requirements

It will take years of effort and preparation to land a great financial job immediately after graduation. You will need to relentlessly network, intern every summer and be passionate about your chosen field in order to be considered an attractive candidate.

About the Author: George Russell is a contributing writer and financial analyst who recently returned to school for his master’s degree. He was fortunate enough to find his ideal job right after graduating with his bachelor’s degree.  

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Comments (1)

  • I believe networking is key. If I could go back and do it again I would have gone to a more prestigious university to start my network.

    Reply

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