How to Start a Career in Finance with No Experience
Money indeed makes the world go round. Whether you choose to or not, your life is impacted by what goes on in the financial world. Therefore, building a career in the finance industry is a pretty solid choice.
Think again before you completely disregard the idea by thinking, “you’re not a numbers person,” think again. The financial sector is a broad industry, with numerous opportunities and divisions you can work in depending on your interests and goals. It offers plenty of lucrative jobs with huge salaries and bonuses. And thanks to a growing demand for financial players in the market, prospects are likely to keep increasing with time.
Although the job responsibilities for individuals in the finance industry vary depending on their position, as with any job, potential candidates must know their craft. Therefore, most employers demand experience. But this creates a significant concern for fresh graduates looking to break into the industry without any work experience.
If you find yourself in the same boat, here are some ways you can kickstart your career in the finance industry.
1. Create a job-winning resume
A resume is an essential tool for searching for a job or applying for your ideal one. It’s the first impact you make on your potential employers, and so it must be well-structured with all the relevant information. Try to customize your resume each time you apply for a particular job.
For example, various types of accounting jobs require you to have soft skills besides technical skills. So, include the ones that best apply to your skill sets, such as organizational, communication, leadership, and teamwork.
Your resume should reflect your achievements, skills, education, awards, and outstanding accomplishments aligned with your professional goals. Company managers or the HR teams usually have to sift through a massive pile of resumes, so yours should stand out and give you an edge over others. Even without any work experience, you can set the tone for subsequent steps like the interview, pre-screening, and onboarding processes.
2. Keep up with current events
Although a career in the finance industry is a pretty stable one, staying up-to-date with current events is crucial to stay on top. In just the past decade, this industry has evolved rapidly.
Technological advancements have significantly transformed the world, forcing the financial sector to adapt to modernization and the digital era.
Besides digitalization, the recent pandemic, political unrest, and stock market crashes have also severely impacted the financial industry. Keeping yourself aware of the present circumstances is crucial to starting a career in this sector.
You can watch the news, subscribe to relevant newsletters, or keep up with social media posts to know what is going on. This strategy will also help you hold conversations with the big leagues in the industry whenever you get a chance to network with them.
3. Leverage your college career center
Most colleges have a career center that is an excellent resource for kickstarting your professional life. It provides students with a team of dedicated specialists to talk about their future goals.
Additionally, they can advise you on the best approaches for each profession and guide you regarding any extra qualification or skill you’ll have to acquire for a particular job. Career centers often plan activities like self-assessments, workshops, events, and fairs to help you find your desired path and set you in the right direction.
Career centers have plenty of connections with the higher-ups of the industrial sector. Whenever there is a career fair or any other event, they invite potential recruiters who seek employees for entry-level jobs. These events can be the perfect opportunity for you to showcase your talent and set yourself apart from other potential candidates.
4. Network as much as possible
If you’re looking to start a career in the finance sector, it often comes down to who you know more than what you know. Because of this, networking plays a primary role in getting you into the finance industry when you don’t have any work experience.
One way to do this is by starting with people you already know and asking them to introduce you to individuals who work in your preferred company. Alternatively, you can connect with people using social media platforms like LinkedIn.
Regardless of your approach, always be professional, polite, and curious. Instead of directly asking an organization for a job, you can request your network to recommend you. Employers give a lot of weightage to candidates who come with personal recommendations, and so they’re likely to overlook your lack of experience in this case.
5. Take lower-paid or unpaid opportunities
When it comes to starting from the bottom, you must be willing to work for jobs that either pay too little or not at all. Entry-level positions or internships can give you this opportunity and allow you to build your experience from there. Don’t discount these prospects just because they’re not lucrative or glorious enough because while it may not pay you as well as you’d like, it’ll help you gain crucial skills and experience. To gain this valuable experience, consider doing a finance internship with no experience needed.
However, if you can’t afford to take on an unpaid position, look for a part-time job or one that offers flexible hours. While working two jobs requires a lot of hard work, your efforts will pay off when you’re ready to apply for better-paying positions.
6. Highlight your transferable skills
Transferable skills or experiences are the abilities you acquire over time that are relevant and helpful across various fields and industries. Whether you’re thinking of switching career paths or looking to start one, these skills can come in handy. Frame your experience in a way relevant to the kind of job you’re applying for. Even minimum wage jobs teach essential skills like customer service, organization, teamwork, and leadership that more employers look for in the financial industry.
Other experiences like computer software tools, math, and accounting can also improve your chances of landing the job you want, allowing you to build your career from there.
Whether you’re a fresh graduate looking for the right opportunity to start your finance career or looking to make a switch—give these ideas a shot. While most employers value experience, that is not all they’re looking for. You have plenty of other prospects to make an impression on. If you’re committed to your goals, you’ll soon receive the golden opportunity to kickstart your career.