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Finding a Career in Finance

Aug 15, 2008
As a career, finance is a popular choice. The pay is good and there is a wide range of career choices, from accounting to banking. There are a lot of options for those wishing to enter into this industry, and also a lot of expectations. An understanding of business is important, but what else do you need to secure a great job in Finance?

Jobs in finance are open to all graduates, not just those studying maths or finance. A degree in any subject gives graduates skills of logical thought, analysis, presentation and communication skills. Indeed, many of financial institution's graduate training schemes will be heavily populated with arts graduates. They often possess communication or presentation skills which surpass those held my finance graduates.

Even graduates in Finance have a lot to learn before they can apply what they learnt at school to real market models. Many academics have misconceptions about the finance world, and don't understand how real models work. For this reason some banks prefer to take on less educated trainees so they can teach from scratch.

Of course a basic level of numeracy and programming can be sought after in the Finance sector, but even a GCSE or A level in Maths can increase your chances of securing a position.

Other skills which you may want to mention and demonstrate on your CV are organisational skills, oral and written communication skills, teamwork, problem solving, business knowledge, flexibility, leadership qualities, computer literacy and time management.

Doing work experience or an internship at a financial institution is a great idea. Showing any kind of interest the industry looks favourable, as well as anything you might learn when you're there.

Get to know the company and the industry you are attempting to work in. Read business and finance publications or websites, and research the firm for which you are applying. It will make you more employable in the first place, and aid you greatly when you actually start.

The most important part of any successful career in finance is an intuition in business, which no degree, financial or otherwise will equip you for. Experience is second-to-none.

Once you get a job in finance, the general wisdom says stick with it! Short innings at companies look bad on your CV, and even if you're not completely satisfied with your initial role at a company, there is a lot to learn and many career options if you stay on.
About the Author
John McE writes for Arc Consulting, specialist recruitment consultants for the Financial Services Industry , Insurance , IT Recruitment and Healthcare sectors.
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