Looking to get your foot in the door in the highly competitive financial industry? While getting in involves many hours of long, hard work, your reward is a profession that will compensate you well over the course of your career.
Alexander Potoczak knows all about this, as he has achieved a great deal of success in this field despite only being in his twenties.
Want to join him in the winner’s circle? Here’s how to get an entry level position in the financial industry.
Seek out internships while you are still in school
When summer rolls around, don’t settle for the same old jobs that you held during your time in high school. Instead, you should be seeking out internships in finance during your college years.
While you will not be expected to to do anything of real significance during your tenure, the opportunity to learn by osmosis and the connections that you build during these summers will pay off when the time comes to seek out entry-level work.
While much of the work that you will do in these positions may not have much to do with the value that is being created by the firms that employ you, keeping your head down and doing a great job will pay dividends in the future, as many in the financial industry see a great work ethic as one of the greatest traits a recruit can have.
Get experience in a variety of departments
When you are serving as an intern in the financial industry, be sure to apply for positions that place you in different work environments in different years.
When you are on the job as an intern, be sure to spend time in different departments if possible, as it will give you an opportunity to learn what the different parts of a financial business do, and how they relate to each other.
For example, if you do an internship at a trading firm one year, try to do an internship at an investment bank the next. Contrasting at least two experiences will give you an idea of what type of financial work you prefer more.
This will make your answers at your first real interview more convincing, as you will have had a range of experiences during the internships that you have performed during your college years.
Immerse yourself in the vernacular of the financial industry
If you are going to work in the financial industry upon graduation, it is a good idea to learn its language before you seek out an entry level position.
Read mainstream publications such as the Wall Street Journal, look up definitions to terms you don’t recognize, and find contacts within the industry with whom you can discuss relevant issues.
This will allow you to gain an intimate understanding of the industry that your competition may not possess, giving you the advantage when competing for limited numbers of entry level jobs.
Take the CFA exam before graduation
If you have plans to enter the financial industry, taking the CFA exam before you graduate should be a top priority.
Studying and taking this test is not an easy thing to do, so even if you have less than a perfect score your first time around, your interviewers will respect you for it, as it shows your commitment to the field.
Just the same, take your preparations seriously, and attempt to get the highest score possible on this exam.