The financial industry is easy to break into, but it is difficult to create a viable long-term career. To be successful in this industry, one must be disciplined, wise and cheeky. There are many different positions in the financial services industry, and it usually takes several years for individuals to find and settle in a position that suits them.
Personality Characteristics of Financial Profession
Generally speaking, if you are a persuasive and knowledgeable person and don’t mind working long hours, then a registered representative job might be a good choice. On the other hand, if you like numbers, are good at math and Excel spreadsheets, and like to delve into the financial situation of listed companies, then you might want to be an analyst. If you have both of these skills, then the position of financial advisor is best for you.
Of course, it is important to understand that most people entering the financial services industry will not end their careers in the same position they started. Most people use the knowledge and experience gained in their early work to find other positions that better suit their interests. Your ultimate destination depends on your talents and your desire to explore different job options.
Twenty years ago, it was not uncommon for individuals in the financial industry to come from different backgrounds. Nowadays, a four-year university degree is almost a must. Generally, a bachelor’s degree in business administration is the best course. It opens the most doors and provides potential job seekers with more choices if they want to deviate from their original career path later in life.
If your goal is to become a registered representative and sell securities, you do not need a Master of Business Administration (MBA). However, if you want to break into the training programs of some of the more prestigious companies (such as Goldman Sachs), then getting an MBA can help.As an analyst, it is quickly becoming a must. Remember, this is a highly competitive industry and this additional degree will help you stand out from the crowd.
Although in some cases, a diploma from a well-known school can help, employers are increasingly concerned about class ranking and grade point average, as well as any practical experience you have in the field.
With this in mind, if you want to become a money manager, financial planner, or enter some other professional field in the industry, it is strongly recommended that you pursue an MBA. To be clear, even without an MBA, you can still work in these fields, but candidates with some form of postgraduate study are usually given preference.
In the MBA program, consider studying finance and economics. Again, these will open the most doors for your future career.
(For related reading, please see: Do financial advisors need an MBA?)
Don’t discount internships
Those who want to get an analyst, banker, registered representative or almost any other position on Wall Street can get an internship opportunity. During your undergraduate or graduate studies, try to intern in the field you want to work in. Future brokers and/or analysts should try to find an assistant job at a local company. Employers will look for this type of experience in your resume.
If you know that you want to enter the industry, but do not fully understand the type of long-term job you want, please consider taking any first-line financial sales or office position to learn as much as possible about the industry. Again, this experience will look great on your resume and will tell you what you might like to do as you gain more experience.
Ensure valuable work experience
The first step to gaining proper work experience is to check with your university. The student services or guidance counselor may provide you with a list of local jobs or arrange interviews with potential employers. If this is not an option, or if the available positions are not feasible due to your school arrangements, please consider contacting a company close to home by yourself.
Obviously, we all like to pay on time, but you can consider working for free during the internship-as long as you receive a job recommendation letter from your supervisor. In the long run, this is the best compensation you can ask for, and your first employer may even let you hold a higher position or get a higher salary because of your experience.
Professional Securities License
Obtaining a securities license will almost certainly promote your financial career. As a broker, you will need a Series 7 license and a Series 63 license. This will allow you to sell stocks, bonds, and other variable securities in your hometown and other states, assuming you and your company are registered in those states. As your company gets promoted, additional licenses may be required. For example, if you get a management position, you may be required to obtain a Series 24 or principal license.Your company will provide you with these licenses. However, be forewarned: these exams are difficult and require a lot of reading and memorization.
Analysts may also be required to take the aforementioned exams as well as the Series 16 Supervised Analyst exam, which enables them to publish and distribute reports.Additional training may require analysts to take the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam. This series of three rigorous exams will test your financial knowledge and enable you to obtain higher-level consulting positions in hedge funds or mutual funds as a portfolio manager.
For example, for those who want to become option owners, a Series 4 license may be required.For those who want to become stock traders, the 55 series license is necessary.In short, every time you set foot in a professional field, you need an additional license, and your company will sponsor you. If you are not an employee of a NASD-registered company, you cannot take these exams. Generally, you must first obtain a Series 7 qualification before you can obtain any professional license.
Financial Industry Training Project
Many companies do not provide complex training programs. In this case, a potential broker or analyst will usually start with someone’s assistant. This is an entry-level position that allows you to climb up based on your level of talent and ambition.
Many companies, especially larger large companies, provide formal training programs that last about one year, during which your production and/or progress will be regularly tracked and measured with your peers. Usually, these plans are stressful because they are usually considered your trial period. The good news is that if you pass these training programs, your chances of success in the industry will greatly increase.
In some jobs, seniority is the main factor in improving the company’s ladder. Although qualifications may help you work on Wall Street, usually only the brightest and most enterprising employees can be promoted. This means you must understand your work and be diligent. You must also constantly compare with colleagues to determine whether your skills meet the requirements. This may mean staying up late or doing some extra work to make sure your project is top-notch.
Long-term career goals
Analysts seem to have the most career choices in the industry. They can become brokers and even become financial writers. The broker can perform the same conversion, but it is much more difficult. This is because brokers usually only participate in the sales process, with little or no involvement in the research process. In addition, they usually rarely have the opportunity to hone their writing skills, which is crucial to becoming an analyst.
(For related reading, please see: Become a financial writer.)
Many brokers eventually decide to specialize in options or become branch managers. In this case, their sales experience enabled them to embark on a better path to achieve this goal.
Entering the financial services industry is not too difficult, but building a career and earning a reputation as a savvy player is difficult. You should expect this process to be mentally time-consuming and laborious. Success and advancement in the corporate ladder will depend on whether you aspire to succeed and defeat the increasingly fierce competition.
(For related reading, please see: Make big money through a professional financial career.)