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How To Get A Career in Finance

2 Dec 2016
Aaron Neill

How to get a career in finance

The world of finance can be an exciting and rewarding area to work in but it’s not always the easiest sector to get started in. As recruitment specialists we are often asked for advice on how to change direction or get started in a career, especially in finance.

While we all have transferable skills there are specific skills many of the financial institutions are looking for that you’ll likely only learn on the job. So how can you maximise those transferrable skills or find a job that will help you get that valuable experience to help you chase that career in finance. We’ve put together some thoughts to help you on your journey.

Make a Decision

There are a huge range of careers in finance and they can cover everything from payroll and invoicing to financial and management accounting. It is important you take the time to really establish what you want to do.

A career in finance may not be with a bank or institution. It could be within the finance team of a public sector body or perhaps with an exciting start-up who are looking for hungry ambitious people.

Do some research into the various roles, our partners at ICAS, CIMA and ACCA have good information. We also work with a number of good colleges and universities who can offer career advice. Speak to someone in the industry. Or why not drop in for a chat with us? We work on placing people in every type of finance role across a range of industries.

Easy as 1,2,3

Fairly obviously working in finance is all about figures. While I would assume you have more than a fleeting interest in finance you really need to increase you general awareness in this area.

Once you’ve got an idea of the direction you want to focus on spend a bit of time identifying the key influencers in this area and make a point of following their commentary. This might be in the form of a regular blog. Perhaps they publish regularly in an influential newspaper or website. These could include, BBC Business, Telegraph, Guardian and of course the FT. They are likely to be on Twitter and LinkedIn so start keeping up to date with them on social media.

This will help you form opinions on the hot topics and stay up to date with them. As you are trying to build you profile in this area why not take advantage of the publishing opportunities that are out there to promote your opinions. You could write an article through Pulse on LinkedIn or perhaps even create your own blog.

Financial Qualification

There is no getting away from the fact that qualification can make a big difference in career progression, especially in finance. The technical elements you will learn through these qualifications will give you a sound grounding from where you will learn the job when you get started in a role. So identify the best qualification for the area you want to work in, professional qualification could be a good alternative to university qualifications. Obviously you will need to continue to live as you are working towards a qualification and many of the educational institutions offer part time options. There are bodies such as BPP and think about Open University too. They have a host of suitable qualifications that can set you on the right path. Remember some empoyers may offer time off, part payment of qualification and other support to help you achieve your qualification.  

Hard Work

Building your knowledge in your chosen area and getting a qualification is just the start. Be prepared for a long but valuable journey. Getting the experience the companies are looking for isn’t easy. You won’t get the top job you are looking for straight away and you’ll have to think about potential a more junior role to start with.

Another approach could be to ask your current employer to identify job shadowing opportunities or a chance to get a day’s experience in your finance department.

Top tips for a Career in Finance

So in conclusion your dream move is going to take some hard work. However if you identify exactly what you want to do, speak to the right advisors, build up your background knowledge and start to publish your opinion you will put yourself in a strong position. Add to this some qualifications and the right experience then your dream move could become a reality.

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