Finance is a lucrative field – it is interesting to work in, pays well and offers bags of career satisfaction. It is easy to see why students pick finance as their field of study, but breaking into an actual career in finance can be tricky. The high pay attracts many applicants, making competition tough. Passing your degree is the first step, but there are a few other things you can do to improve your chances.
Attend an internship
The most important and useful thing you can do to enhance your chances of landing a finance career is to attend an internship. Companies offering internships are known for hiring a large part of their graduate intake from the students who worked there as interns. You can expect to work extremely hard, but if you perform well, the chances of a job offer after graduation is very high.
An internship on your CV is also extremely useful when you’re looking for work after graduation. If you can demonstrate to companies that you have previous experience in the financial industry, along with a positive reference, your chance of being hired is much higher.
Take the first step on the ladder
Once you’ve graduated, you need to start finding experience in the finance field as soon as possible. Companies will look favourably on any relevant experience, so you should not refuse even junior roles in the financial services industry. If your junior role is in a large organisation, it will give you plenty of scope for promotion and you could find that you climb the career ladder very quickly.
Junior roles are useful for further career progression in a similar way to internships, by giving you at least some experience in the field of finance, as businesses are very reluctant to hire employees with no experience whatsoever.
Where to look for jobs
Because a career in finance is so popular with students, you will find numerous websites that list internship and graduate employment opportunities. Some starter roles are only available for application directly through the employer’s website. However, several employers prefer to list their student roles through recruitment agencies, such as Greenwich Partners, who will filter the candidates they pass on to an employer.
Building relationships with recruitment agencies early in your career can be useful. Agencies can be very helpful with the application process and you will come to rely on them during your career. Senior roles are rarely advertised publicly, so if you have a relationship with a recruitment agent, you have a higher chance of being on the shortlist of candidates.
Don’t leave it to the last minute
Remember that the queue of people interested in finance jobs is long. The sooner you start looking for internships and graduate positions, the higher your chances of success. Employers will frown on finance students who waited until they graduated to look for a job, and who passed on attending an internship. Learn about the different fields in finance as soon as you can, and be the first out of the gate with applications to improve your chances.