Posted September 27, 2013 by

Landing a Job in Finance Right Out of College

An accountant in her office checking receipts

An accountant in her office checking receipts. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

It’s hard to get into the job market after college, especially when you’re after a job in finance. It’s crucial to get your foot in the door as early and as quickly as possible, which is why you should start even before you officially graduate. With the right tactics, not only can you have a fine finance job waiting for you, you can land a great job with a promotional track.

Update Your Resume

Your résumé is often your first inroad to the finance job you want. While you may think it’s enough to send out the same resume to every company, that’s not the case. Just as you tailor your cover letter for different positions, you need to fine tune your résumé for different positions as well. If one job relies more on math or statistics, share relevant information on your résumé. If another position revolves around people skills, focus on that.

However, don’t rely solely on a written resume. Start up a LinkedIn profile that details all of your skills, achievements, and experiences. Network with your finance professors, fellow students, and people you’ve met at various events. You never know when your profile will pop out at a potential employer.

Gain Experience in Diverse Areas

Sometimes following your specific passion is a great thing. It’ll lead you to a fulfilling career that always captures your interest. However, sometimes you have to branch out and explore different areas. When you’re volunteering, interning, or taking classes, make sure you diversify your professional palate.

In the finance game, you’d tell an investor to diversify his or her portfolio, right? Well, you should too. The more areas you know, the more competitive and capable you become and the better you look to potential employers.

Start Looking for a Worthwhile Internship

An internship is one of the best ways to land a job in any field, but especially in finance. Best case scenario, the company where you intern will take you on full-time immediately after you graduate. You’ll get paid with money, experience, or both until that time. Worst case scenario, you’ll still have the kind of practical experience that will help you land your choice of accounting positions, a job with Fisher Investments, or something else in another top-choice company.

However, you have to learn your way through the finance game to know what you’re doing in it.

Spend Time at Networking Events

Networking before and after graduation is essential for success. Head to job fairs on campus when your college hosts one, but think beyond that too. Many companies have their own fairs, mixers, and Q&A conferences where you can get some valuable face-time with the people who make the big hiring decisions. Come armed with your résumé and a business card, and don’t forget to add everyone you meet to your LinkedIn account. That’ll keep you fresh in their memory.

Extend Your Education

Your education doesn’t stop just because you’ve graduated, and extending your education always looks good on your résumé. You don’t have to postpone your graduation by taking more official classes; there are several options that let you increase your knowledge in your off-time during the job hunt.

There are special boot camp events you can attend which will give you crash courses in practical finance knowledge. You can even learn how to deal with high pressure situations, which will help you immensely when you’re finally on the job. You won’t suffer from nerves, nor will you freeze under pressure.

There are also training courses for every area of finance. Training exercises for investments are particularly helpful because you have to hone your instincts. Knowing the market from a bystander standpoint will only do so much for you when you’re finally in the office.

Go Where the Jobs Are

You also have to know where the jobs are. Which areas of finance have plenty of entry-level positions and internships? You may have a vested interest in investment banking or you may want to become a money manager. Don’t think that accounting and economics are the only areas available to you. Finance requires plenty of creativity as well, so if you’re more interested in that side of the industry, spread your job search to interesting, innovative areas.

Although finance is fiercely competitive, as recent graduates fight for their chance at a limited amount of positions, you can give yourself a serious leg up on everyone else by knowing what you’re doing. Do you think it’s more important to have practical experience or textbook knowledge?

This article was brought to you by Annie Davis.

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