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10 Tips For Aspiring Financial Professionals

So you’ve decided you want to be a financial specialist because you have a knack for it, but you’re somewhat discouraged by how much competition there is out there. That’s an understandable feeling to have, but you should take comfort knowing that there are a variety of jobs and sub-categories you can specialize in within the field of finance, so saturation isn’t really a problem if you can position yourself properly.

With that said, here are 10 actionable tips you can take to set yourself up for a successful career as a financial pro in a busy city.

1. Enroll in Finance Courses.

Good luck making it without a high level of finance training in NYC, or any other major metropolis for that matter. Virtually all of your peers are going to have some sort of degree or credentials on their resume, so you really have to match that if you want to be taken seriously by a corporate hiring manager. If you need some inspiration for course types that can benefit your career, you can compare finance courses options on findcourses.com. A comprehensive course will not only improve your understanding and knowledge, it will also give you a shining star to add to your resume, which brings us to our next tip…

2. Professionally Polish Your Resume.

Even if you already have a resume, chances are it could use some adjustments and refinements to look its best. Hiring a professional resume maker to assist you in revising your resume layout and content can help you become a more eligible candidate for higher paying positions in finance. Even if you can’t think of additional items to add to your resume, simply changing the aesthetic presentation of the document itself can have a tremendous impact on the way it is perceived by hiring managers and prospective clients.

3. Choose a Specialty and Stick With It.

Early in your career you may be indecisive about which area of finance you want to specialize in, but in order to build an authoritative reputation you’ll want to dedicate your focus towards a single aspect of finance for an extended period of time. Do you want to be an advisor, a fund manager, an accountant, or an economic analyst? Obviously, there are many other options to choose from, but choosing one and staying devoted to it will help you develop the expertise needed to impress clients/employers with satisfactory results.

4. Freelance for Supplemental Income.

Initially you may be looking for a full-time position working for a firm or larger company but taking the freelancing approach may also be worth some of your spare time. By offering your services directly to clients on an independent basis, you can boost your income while also creating a backup stream of revenue to fall back on in the event that you lose your day job. Plus, you might be able to have such a high level of success as a freelancer that you’re able to start your own firm instead of working for another.

5. Work On Your Image and Presentation.

While results are still the most important aspect for a financial professional to focus on, unfortunately many companies and clients will judge a person at face value before even giving them a chance to prove themselves. Thus, even if you can already walk the walk, you need to be able to look the part before you can even set foot in the door. In the world of finance, books are judged by their covers all the time, so it makes sense to work on your image so that you’re taken more seriously by the people who will be cutting your paychecks.

6. Know the Value of References.

Many financial pros fail to fully capitalize on their initial work experience, landing projects and filling job positions without taking the necessary steps to solidify their references. When you do well in a business relationship, whether you’re an employee, a partner, or a service provider, it’s imperative that you hold onto that positive experience by preparing your contacts to serve as positive references on your behalf in the future. Performing optimally in your position and staying in touch with references will make people want to refer you to others, so in a way this is a derivative benefit of doing your job well and being personable.

7. Stay Savvy and Up-to-Date.

When you’re operating in a metropolitan area, there are always going to be thousands of other professionals looking for their slice of the pie within a few mile radius. To stay on top of the game in such a dense business environment, you’ll need to keep yourself ahead of the adoption curve. Subscribe to financial and economic magazines, follow top economics & finance blogs, and watch the leading financial analysts on television to stay in the loop about the best investments, stocks, and money management techniques. Being passionate about finances in your leisure time will help you become knowledgeable based on your own free will and curiosity versus being forced to learn within a school or work setting.

8. Be a Persistent Self-Marketer.

As a financial professional you’re not only marketing your ability to facilitate desirable results, you’re also promoting the perception that you’re capable of doing so. In other words, it’s not what you’re capable of doing, it’s what others believe you’re capable of doing, because if they don’t have that basic level of confidence in your abilities then you’ll never be given the opportunity prove them. Everything from your clothes to your demeanor will influence the way prospective clients judge you, so you not only have to play the part, you have to also look the part to even get started.

9. Network in the Right Circles.

The old adage “it’s not what you know but who you know” is highly applicable in the financial sector. People need a reason to trust your advice and actions, and they’re more likely to give you a chance in the future if you’ve already built up a solid report with them on a personal level. Many success gurus have promoted the idea that “an individual is only as successful as the sum of their closest peers” – which simply means that by associating with higher ups, you put yourself in a better position to become one someday.

10. Set Your Career Standards High.

As a novice financial professional, it can be tempting to settle for the first entry-level position you can get hired for. However, there may be more merit in taking a selective approach during your initial job hunt. Settling for less can leave you locked into a lower salary and less prestigious job for years to come, so be picky and set your standards high when choosing your starting point. Plus, having lower level work on your resume won’t be as helpful as jumping straight to a higher rank within an organization.

The Secret to Competing in an Ultra-Competitive Industry.

Ultimately, competition is only a concern when you’re incapable of rising above the status quo. On the other hand, if you can raise the bar on the quality of services you provide, then you’ll put yourself on a pedestal where saturation is no longer a factor. Individuals and companies will always pay to reproduce positive results, so if you can prove that you can consistently generate those results for them, then you’re already on the right track.

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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