If you’re fresh out of college, it’s a time to look to the horizon and plan your future. But that horizon often doesn’t come without stress and uncertainty. Financial professionals are well compensated and in demand, but career competition is notoriously fierce. If you want to get ahead in your financial planning career, there are several steps you can take to distinguish yourself from the competition.
Stay Fluent in Finance
If you’ve been applying for jobs and have been reaching the interview stage, it’s in your best interest to do all you can to wow your interviewers. One of the most important things to demonstrate is your “fluency” in industry language.
But we’re not just talking about having a robust financial vocabulary. It’s more about staying on top of current industry trends or events and bringing those insights into your work. Many applicants will have college degrees, but not all can comfortably discuss the financial landscape in detail.
Choose an Employer You Can Grow With
Not all financial businesses are invested in the success of their employees. As you select jobs to apply for, do your homework on the hiring companies. A supportive employer may make the difference between career advancement and stagnating for years.
For example, at Concorde, we take a unique approach to professional growth. We work as a strategic partner and employer, providing the technological infrastructure and support new financial professionals need to grow their businesses.
Earn Your Credentials Early
The competition is fierce for jobs in the financial sector. But one way to make yourself stand out is by earning credentials in addition to your college degree. Some certifications, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level 1 exam and the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, are achievable even for those brand-new in the field.
The credentials you choose to pursue may vary based on your intended focus. A mentor, professor or other contact in finance can make suggestions to help you decide which ones to apply for.
Leverage Your Growing Professional Network
You’re never truly finished building your professional network. Like your CV, your network should continue to expand as you gain more experience in the field.
Even if your network is small, your college professors and internship supervisors can give you leads on where to look for job opportunities. If you’ve managed to impress them, they may even be able to write a letter of recommendation.
If it’s your first time stepping into the networking world, here are some tips:
- Prioritize networking events: Look for industry-specific networking events, career fairs, alumni gatherings or professional conferences in your area. These events provide opportunities to meet professionals and make valuable connections.
- Tap into alumni networks: Leverage your college or university’s alumni network. Reach out to alumni working in your desired industry or companies of interest. They can provide guidance, mentorship or potential job leads.
- Informational interviews: Request informational interviews with professionals with careers or positions that interest you. Ask for advice, learn about their experiences and seek insights into the industry. These conversations can lead to valuable connections and potential job referrals.
- Leverage social media: Utilize social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, to follow industry influencers, companies and professionals. Engage with their content by commenting and sharing valuable insights. It helps you establish yourself as a knowledgeable and engaged professional.
- Volunteer or join professional organizations: Participate in volunteer activities or join professional organizations related to your field. These activities allow you to meet like-minded individuals, gain experience and expand your network.
Whatever you do and however you approach your networking, remember to be yourself and bring all your skills, ideas and talents to the table.
Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small
You might have big dreams of landing a prestigious position in the field. But in some cases, you may need to get your foot in the door with an entry-level position before you can advance in your financial planning career (or another career in the industry). Here are some jobs you might consider that are all finance-adjacent:
- Financial analyst
- Personal finance advisor
- Budget analyst
- Insurance claims adjuster
- Tax Associate
- Investment banking analyst
Unlike entry-level jobs in many other fields, entry-level finance careers pay well. Each of the professions above offers plenty of opportunities for advancement, too. You may be promoted relatively quickly if you work with a company that gives you room to grow and excel at your first job.
Find a Firm That Supports You
Starting your career can be stressful, but it’s also exciting. Finding the right firm to work with while also forging your identity as a financial professional is crucial. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between the two at Concorde. When you work with us, you maintain your autonomy while benefiting from a team dedicated to your growth and success. Whether you’re an industry veteran or fresh out of college, Concorde is here. If you want to join our team or have questions about our work, contact us today.
This is for informational purposes only. Securities offered through Concorde Investment Services, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Concorde Asset Management, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Concorde Insurance Agency, Inc.