Securing a position as a financial analyst can be challenging. In this post, we'll cover the top four tips to help you break into finance, including networking, resume writing, interview prep, and casting a wide net.
Tip #1: Networking
With tons of applications for limited positions, standing out from the pack is difficult, even with the most impressive of resumes. The first and perhaps the most important, strategy for breaking into a finance role is to network. Networking includes meeting company members, including at company-sponsored recruiting events, through emails or LinkedIn, or through friend and family connections. If you have a friend or relative working in finance, now is the time to give them a call to see whether they can pass along your resume, or at the very least, give you advice on how to land a position at their company. A recommendation would significantly boost your chances.
Tip #2: Cast a Wide Net
You might have your mind set on working at a hedge fund. But once again, the positions are extremely competitive. Increase your chances by applying to a wider range of financial companies. There are many positions available that will get you in the door and help you hone your analytical skills. These positions include investment banking, private equity, wealth management, venture capital, financial planning and analysis, and financial analyst roles at non-financial companies.
Tip #3: Write a Stellar Resume
Your resume, that single piece of paper, is sometimes the only thing recruiters see or learn about you. Ensure that the writing is compelling and error-free, and it is formatted cleanly and easy-to-follow. Note that you can and should have slightly different versions of your resume based on the position your applying for, where each version highlights the experience most relevant. In addition to GPAs, academic achievements, and experience, recruiters typically want to see what you're like outside the office, including hobbies or other skills. Remember, if hired, your recruiter may have to work with you 60+ hours per week for several years.
Tip #4: Prepare for the Interview
Once you've landed that interview after writing a stellar resume, sending out multiple applications, and networking, you're ready for the interview stage. Make sure you come prepared with the materials you need, including several clean copies of your resume, a pen, a folder, and any other specifics required by that company. Be prepared to listen and do not interrupt the interviewer. Show a genuine interest in what your interviewer is sharing and follow up with intelligent questions. Be humble. While interviews are a time to highlight your strengths, the way you share that information goes a long way
For the interview itself, be ready or prepare for the following:
- Strong answers to personal questions, including "Tell me about yourself." Your answer to that question should tie into your interest in working at that company (yes, even though that's not exactly what they asked)
- Answers to the technical questions, including corporate finance, accounting, modeling and valuation. This is where our 3-day Financial Modeling classroom training helps.
- Prepare an answer to "What are your weaknesses?"
- Research what the company does and understand its industry and competitors
- Prepare answers for why that position or company is the right fit for you