The good news for college grads is that the job market in the financial sector has opened up a fair bit in the last few years and there are now more types of finance jobs to consider, and more competition for those career openings.
If you are looking for a career in the financial sector and want to find an edge that will open that door to an exciting job with prospects, here are some things you will need to consider and know before you apply.
Preparation is everything.
Long gone are the days when your financial career path choice was mainly limited to stock broking or insurance.
There many more options available to graduates these days but that does also mean that more people are considering a career in the financial sector than ever before, so you need to be prepared for some fierce competition for the best openings.
Preparing for a career in finance now requires a wider level of skill sets and training, so as well as a certification in Finance Management for example, you can find an edge over your rival candidates if you add some other attributes to your resume such as training in psychology and other areas of training that suggest you could hit the ground running, if you get offered a job.
Unique set of skills.
To achieve a successful career in finance you will need to acquire a unique set of skills and ideally, your key personality traits should include an outgoing personality and an inquisitive nature.
It is important to understand the fundamental differences between an accounting degree and a business degree in finance, which has a narrower focus. Financial accounting has distinct differences when compared to general accounting, mainly because it primarily serves the decision makers outside of the organization you are working for and involves liaising with government agencies, banks and stockholders for example.
In your career you will likely be called upon to demonstrate your mathematical aptitude on a consistent basis and you will often be expected to use your financial ability to achieve goals and analyze resources in order to achieve continued financial growth.
Educational path for a career in finance.
The minimum entry level standard of education for a career in finance is a bachelor’s degree, which is a qualification that is intended to provide you with the requisite financial management tools needed to be able to analyze and then execute the financial aspects of various board-level decisions.
There are a number of online college courses to consider as an option, which focus on additional aspects and skills that you may well need in a demanding job market, such as ethics, technology, e-business practices, critical-thinking skills and problem solving, as well as teaching research methods and the ability to carry out statistical analysis.
If you are looking to follow a career in financial management, the entry-level requirement will normally be a Master’s degree or MBA, which is a Master of Business Administration qualification.
You may also find that if there is a position advertised for a financial analyst, a Masters or MBA will be needed in order to be considered for the position.
Earn and learn.
You will generally discover that obtaining your Master’s degree in finance can be something you might be able to accomplish whilst working full time.
This is a proven way of enhancing your professional credentials and standing, and is often done in conjunction with obtaining certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), or achieving Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) status. A bachelor’s degree is required for CFA certification.
Online college courses are now an established path that financial professionals follow in order to earn and learn, so that they ultimately accomplish the goals they set out to achieve in a financially efficient way.
There are employment opportunities in finance in most major cities around the globe, so a career in this sector can definitely provide international as well as domestic career-enhancing openings.
The Top Ten cities for finance jobs around the world are somewhat predictably, major financial centers, such as New York and London for example, but you can definitely find employment opportunities in cities like Boston and San Francisco, which is widely regarded as the finance capital of the western United States. You can find information about the hiring process here, or at local employment agencies.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the median pay for a Financial Analyst is in the region of $77,000 and that jobs growth in this sector is 16%, which is a faster rate of growth than the average of most other employment sectors.
Once you have obtained your college degree in finance, you will no doubt be keen to exploit your new status and try to find an opening in a sector which is expected to show a steep level of jobs-growth over the next decade.
Armed with your finance degree, there are indeed a wealth of different opportunities available to you and you will be considered suitably qualified to be considered for a career in areas such as corporate and international financial management, investment services and personal financial planning.
Other areas of this sector where you might be able to secure employment as a finance graduate include brokerage firms, insurance companies, investment and commercial banks and various financial intermediary companies.
Your finance degree is an excellent starting point when selling yourself as a potential candidate for a position, as you will now be equipped with the requisite skills required for understanding the function and application of the financial markets as well as having a good comprehension of how public and private sectors function, and their distinctive differences in approach.
Achieve your dreams.
The bottom line when it comes to pursuing a career in finance, is that hard work and a great deal of perseverance will ultimately reap the rewards you are looking for, provided you prepare yourself both before, and after graduation.
There are many things that college students can do to improve their marketability and widening your skills as well as being prepared to risk failure at times, will ultimately enable you to achieve success.
When you consider the continued growth in finance job openings albeit with a commensurate level of competition for those employment opportunities, now is certainly a good time to get a finance degree.
Siva Kumar is a growth hacker, blogger, social media marketer, content strategist and content manager for Simplilearn. He enjoys sharing his research and ideas online.