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Building a lucrative career in the finance industry is not as simple as graduating and landing a great job. If you want to develop your career and be truly successful, there are a number of things you can do to increase your value as a professional in the finance industry, from networking to furthering your education.
As a finance professional, you are responsible for working with money, so it is crucial that you are on top of your game. You will need to have strong math skills and know-how to analyze revenue and expenses to ensure capital is used properly. If you want to move beyond an entry-level position and become a powerful force in the industry, these five tips are a great way to launch your career.
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When they say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, they aren’t completely wrong. If you ask anyone that has moved up within their career, they will tell you that there were instances in which knowing the right person helped them out in one way or another. When building a career, it’s crucial that you network as much as possible. The more people you know, the more you are able to learn about the industry. Keep in contact with former coworkers in the industry, former colleagues, and even professors from school.
There are a few ways you can meet new people and get your name out there. Participating in conventions, conferences, and events are great ways to meet new people. Attend the meetings and classes provided, making sure to actively participate will help attract attention, leading to additional contacts.
2. Obtain A CFA Certification
One of the ways you can gain additional skills and show that you are knowledgeable about the field is by acquiring your chartered financial analyst certification. CFA charterholders earn, on average, up to 39% more money than non-charterholders with equivalent qualifications.
If you decide to earn your CFA, one of the best things you can do to get ready for the test is take a CFA prep course. These courses are great because they provide a tremendous amount of tried and true study material, including exam-like practice questions, video lectures and pass guarantees.
As a professional in any industry, one of the best things you can do is continue your education. After all, learning is a never-ending process. Through education, you can increase your knowledge about the financial industry and stay up to date on recent findings and market trends. As such, you may want to consider going back for an online executive MBA or online graduate certificate. For example, Penn State University offers an online graduate certificate in Public Budgeting and Financial Management for less than $5,000.
4. Find a Mentor
Once you have a position in the finance field, find someone in your organization that you admire and respect, and ask them if they would be willing to be your mentor. This can even apply to several people, you are not limited to having just one mentor, though be aware, that sometimes advice and mentorship from several sources and lead to a contradiction. When it comes down to it, though, you are looking for any information and advice that people you look up to are willing to impart. It can all help you get where you want to be.
Another possibility is to find someone accessible, who has substantial achievements in the field of finance. Ask your organization’s leaders if they can recommend a mentor, or set out and do some research on your own.
While most people you reach out to will ultimately turn you down as a mentee, many of them will still share invaluable professional advice or expertise. Pay attention to anything they contribute, as the smallest bits of information mentioned in passing can be the key you need to advance.
5. Build Your Resume
Your resume is not a play by play of your life and education up to this moment. Many experts say anything beyond a page can be considered oversharing. Make sure your resume is focused on your future, and what you can bring to an organization, not your entire educational record.
Put an emphasis on your accomplishments and achievements that relate to your professional and career goals. It should also showcase any major moves you’ve made since you started your finance career. If you have won any awards or obtained recommendations from well-known or respected individuals in your field, cover them briefly.
Lastly, keep your resume updated. Any time you achieve or hit a milestone in your career, update your resume and don’t keep it to yourself if you feel there’s a vacancy you would be right for. This goes for within, as well as outside of, your current organization.