How to Kick- Start Your Career in Finance

The UK financial services sector provided over one million jobs in 2017 and even with concerns over Brexit demand for roles is still high. Good career opportunities exist in accountancy, banking and finance, financial planning, insurance, investments and pensions, and tax planning. Given that competition for posts is fierce, you’ll need to take steps to secure a foothold in the industry. But where do you start? What sort of qualifications are necessary for a career in the field – and what about knowledge and experience? This blog post will answer those questions. 

Consider a degree 
It’s not essential to have a degree in order to get a job in the financial services sector. It depends on what sort of role you want to take up of course. Staff in bank branches and junior team members in accountancy firms might not be educated to degree level. On the job training and studying for examinations in accountancy is a route that many A-level college leavers follow. However, if you want to break into the investment banking or hedge fund world it’s increasingly the case that a degree in economics or mathematics will help a lot at interviews for junior posts. 

Secure some experience 
As is the case with many lines of work, experience is often required before securing a permanent financial role. The precise form that this experience will take often varies from job level to job level. In the case of investment banking and City of London-oriented jobs, it’s almost essential to have an internship under your belt – and they are usually scheduled for the summer holidays just before your final year. Working in other financial positions might just require some bank branch work experience or prior jobs in customer-facing roles in other sectors. 

Expand your knowledge base 
No matter what level of education you have, you’re still going to need to be well informed about the wider financial world. It’s possible, for example, to have a first-class degree and be extremely knowledgeable about the theory involved but to know little about the ins and outs of how the various financial sectors work. 

A wide knowledge base can be useful if you are not set on a particular career path. If you are flexible about the sector in which you would like to work, you will probably be attending several interviews. That is when general knowledge about the world of finance can be invaluable. You can prepare of course, but often an interviewer will test your overall knowledge of finance and investment. That is why it is important to keep abreast of current news and to seek out informative online resources about stock market investing, many of which offer a free trial period – you can sign up here for free to try one. 

Securing a job in the financial services sector isn’t easy. It takes concerted effort and organisation in order to climb the ladder in the industry. Enthusiasm of itself is not enough because it does require intensive study – either self-driven for the lower level posts or via university for the potential high earners – as well as securing some work experience in a relevant environment. For those who are highly committed and have what it takes in commitment and expertise, a career in finance at any level can indeed be possible.

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