The outlook for finance jobs is expected to be steady for the foreseeable future, just as it has been for the last several decades. Obviously, this is a stable field to enter, which is an advantage for any job-seeker. There are quite a few ways to go about finding a finance job.
Along with an education, the list below should give you a good start.
- Understand the term "finance." The first step in finding a finance job is to understand the difference between finance, economics and accounting. Finance deals with the interpretation of the stock market on the business side, as opposed to economics, which is the interpretation of the stock market on the sociological side. Accountants work with accounting for a business' financial performance. Therefore, finance is going to be a broad-brushstroke kind of job, whereas accounting is a nitty-gritty details kind of job.
- Determine if you have the proper qualifications. To get a job in the finance field, you'll usually need a bachelor's degree or higher in accounting, finance or economics. An accounting degree can be an asset because you will have greater analytical skills if your company runs into problems. An economics degree can be helpful, too, because you will have the ability to interpret how world leaders and events will affect your business. A finance degree will prove the most helpful in finding a finance job, of course.
- Start your search. This can be the hardest part of starting any career. However, with an organized, targeted approach, you can find many job possibilities. Remember to stay organized as you search - keep an accurate list of the companies to which you have submitted resumes, as well as their responses.
- There are many websites devoted to helping you find a finance job. Most of these websites charge potential employers a fee to advertise a job on their website. All that's required of you is a simple registration, which is free. You are then welcome to browse through the job listings until you find one that you like. One of the best websites for finding finance jobs is eFinancialCareers. Finance jobs are listed according to a variety of categories. Some other valuable websites are CareerBuilder and Monster. If you are looking for a job in your area, it pays to check every potential website. Most companies advertise on only one website.
- Believe it or not, working as a temp can be a great way to get into a finance position. Many companies use temps - to fill in for an employee who is out on maternity leave, or with an extended illness, or just to fill in the gaps during an especially busy time. Although you may be hired for a very basic, entry-level position, such as receptionist or data entry clerk, this can be your opportunity to show off what you know, and possibly get hired permanently when a position in finance opens up.
- If you are still in college, take any opportunity for an internship that presents itself. More than likely, you'll be placed in a large financial firm, where plenty of finance jobs become available on a regular basis. When you graduate, there just may be a full-time position waiting for you. Even if you are not offered a job with your internship firm, it will give you valuable job experience that looks great on a resume.
- Network, network, network! Networking is probably the number one way to obtain a job in the finance industry. After all, if you were going to hire an employee for a job that required a high degree of confidentiality like finance, would you hire someone with a great resume whom you'd never met, or the dynamic go-getter that you've met at several conferences? Attend any finance-related meetings to which you are invited, join every finance and accounting club at college, and make sure that you leave a good impression with everyone to whom you speak. Most importantly, hoard business cards like they are gold! When you begin your job hunt, call the people that you've come in contact with and ask them if they know of any potential job openings. You just may fall right into the perfect job!
- Don't underestimate the power of the classifieds! Although many large firms do not advertise in newspapers, some smaller ones do. If you choose to apply for a job that's listed in the classifieds, consider submitting a snail mail resume, rather than e-mailing it. Most human resources managers will get lots of e-mail responses to a job listing, but very few by mail. Sending your resume can be a good way to "stick out" in a field of applicants.
- Try cold calling. Call firms or businesses for which you would like to work. Ask to speak with the hiring manager and tell him that you are interested in any finance jobs that the company may have. It's a good idea to write down the points that you'd like to highlight when cold calling. If you take the term literally and call with no preparation, you'll likely come across as unprofessional and flustered. Even if you are unable to speak with the hiring manager, speak respectfully to whomever answers the phone. There may be later job openings at the company, and you don't want to have a reputation as the person who was a jerk to the receptionist!
- Prepare to make a great first impression! Once you've snagged an interview or two, remember all the basics of interviewing. Dress appropriately, present a polished resume, and make sure that your references are well-prepared. Finance is generally not a business casual sort of field, so don't show up for the interview in jeans and a sweatshirt! Well-prepared references are a must when interviewing for a finance job. If it's been a while since you've been in contact with one of your references, give him a call to update him about what you've been doing and any awards or acknowledgments that you've received. After the interview is complete, it's acceptable to follow up with a short e-mail thanking the interviewers for their time. Anything more than this is typically perceived as desperate and annoying.
While you're seeking your dream job in finance, don't forget that it's a great idea to keep yourself in the loop by taking continuing education classes in finance or accounting. This is easily done nowadays through online universities.
Good luck and happy job hunting!