Securing a job in Finance ranks highly as the preferred career route for many of today's top graduates. If you're reaching that stage where you'll be looking to make a push and secure a job in Finance, what are some steps you can take today to increase your chances of success?
We're delighted to share advice from Magali McIntyre covering this specialist subject. Below please find Magali's tips for the proactive steps you could start taking today. If you've any feedback or other suggested tips, please do share them in the comments section below.
By Magali McIntyre, founder of Route-In.com
Get an internship
Many large banks now exclusively recruit analysts amongst their interns. It has been the case in continental Europe for a long time and now, in the UK, as the market is getting tougher, the recruiters focus on the candidates who have already proven that they can do the job.
It will also give you a better idea of what you are signing up for.
Get another internship
If you are aiming for the most competitive internships in top-tier Investment banks, you will considerably increase your chances with a previous internship that taught you skills that can be valuable for the bank. Accounting firms tend to offer a larger number of internships positions and will teach you myriads of transferable skills into Finance.
Learn useful skills to differentiate yourself
Try to demonstrate that you are here to help and that you can be quickly operational. Research the skills that are most valuable in the industry you are trying to break in. Learning programming, advanced Excel skills or typing show that you are proactive and that you understand you are entering a fast-paced environment.
Do your research, talk to people who have been there
If you do not know much about the industry you are applying for, do your research. Better than talking to your peers, aim for people who have been in the industry for years and can give you real insights. If you do not have any in your natural network, go to www.route-in.com where hundreds of bankers, consultants, private equity professionals or accountants offer one-on-one consultations and mock interviews. Ask all your questions, get advise on which team is right for you, find out the latest trends and make sure you sound up-to date during your interview.
Keep you CV clean and clear
Bankers and finance professionals are asked to screen piles of 200 CVs on top of their daily jobs. Make it easy for them to choose you. If you have a good picture, include it. It is always hard to reject a smiling face.
Choose a clear format and layout, it should be easy to read and your most valuable experience should stand out. Do not attempt for fancy fonts or layouts, it may seem as you are tying to compensate for the lack of content and it always arise suspicion.
Take the time to adapt your CV for each position, elaborate on the relevant experience for this specific role and if need be remove the points that are totally irrelevant.
Academic achievements are a pre-requisite, try to have something you can be remembered for. It can be a leadership position in a student organisation or your participation in business case competition or a particular uncommon achievement.
Show your face and market yourself
Career fairs are still the best way to meet the very people who will screen your CVs. Make sure they remember you and you will reduce your chances on ending up on the wrong pile.
Put yourself in your interviewer’s shoes
The pace in Finance is very fast and it is crucial that all the members of the team contribute at their own level. Each team needs its juniors to be hard-working, fast-learners and honest. If you do not know, say it. Do not try to reinvent the wheel as you would waste precious time. If you made a mistake, say it. The team will rely on the analyses and data you produce. It is every senior professional’s nightmare to step into a client meeting just to realize that his work is based on incorrect data. Through your application and during your interview, try to convey this sense of honesty, the employer will look out for it.
You will never be expected to know it all but you will need to execute the simple tasks and analyses you are assigned perfectly.
Build your network from the inside
During your internship, try to work with as many professionals and teams as you can. Show curiosity, eagerness to learn and willingness to help. It will help you define the right career path for you and collecting contacts early on is very valuable for prospective recommendations letters.
Magali McIntyre is founder of www.route-in.com, a new online platform connecting career hopefuls with vetted professionals who’ve been there and done it.
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