The field of finance is one of the best fields to go into in terms of job opportunities and earnings potential. It’s also being increasingly competitive to land a great job in this industry, and a solid grasp of basic technical skills is no longer enough to guarantee a placement.
To be sure, employers are still looking for individuals who not only have the necessary knowledge and talent, but also an array of soft skills that will help them succeed in any placement.
Therefore, if you are seeking employment in the finance field, consider how you will demonstrate the following.
1. Intellectual Curiosity
Like any field, finance is not stagnant. Best practices are always adapting, and the best financial services providers adapt along with them. Demonstrating to employers that you are willing to continue to grow and develop even after you’ve been hired is very appealing, as employers often look to the intellectually curious as those who will be the thought leaders of the organization, and help guide it into the future.
Showing curiosity might mean everything from enrolling in a program for an online master’s in finance, no GMAT required, to mentioning recent research or news that you have studied. The more you keep learning, the further you’ll go in your career.
2. The Ability to Build Partnerships
Relationships are the backbone of a successful financial services career — relationships not only help you gain the trust of your clients, but also help you get referrals and network with potential new clients to grow your business.
A significant portion of working in finance is understanding psychology, and how your customers feel about their money (and spend — or don’t spend it) and helping them define and plan for their goals.
Without a strong relationship built on trust and mutual respect, that’s going to be a difficult order.
So while it’s important to understand the markets and the basics of financial principles, it’s also important to be a “people person” and be able to create long-lasting relationships.
3. Comfort With Technology
Finance doesn’t take place on paper anymore. Even small firms use technology to manage accounts, and the more comfortable you are using technological tools and programs — and the better you are at finding shortcuts and learning the tricks of the trade — the easier your job is going to be.
Simply put, you cannot be afraid of the computer and be successful in finance.
4. Great Communication Skills
Again, because finance is a relationship-based business, communication is of paramount importance. It’s not enough to only be good at crunching numbers. You must also have the ability to present information clearly, both orally and in written form.
In many cases, you may be working with individuals who have limited knowledge of finance, not to mention a certain level of emotional anxiety about money, so being able to communicate in such a way that they understand your advice is important.
Even when working with more sophisticated or knowledgeable clients, your ability to communicate can make all the difference between a great experience and an unremarkable one, so it’s important to brush up on those skills and present yourself as articulate and well-spoken.
Finally, employers are looking to hire financial professionals who are confident. This isn’t to be confused with arrogance, but a quiet confidence in your own skills and the decisions you’re making or advising is important.
No one wants to work with someone who second guesses himself or cannot make important decisions in a timely manner.
If you can display your confidence via a firm handshake, a trustworthy demeanor, a clear and humble demonstration of your knowledge, and excellent communication, employers are going to be happy to add you to their team, and expect great things from you.
Success in any field is often dependent on much more than simply having knowledge of basic principles and how to apply them. Your personal qualities are usually just as important as your ability to get the job done.
Even if you know you have the ability to crunch the numbers and make excellent decisions in challenging situations, that won’t matter if you can’t communicate, build relationships, or use a computer, or if you are arrogant and unwilling to learn.
Work on showing your best qualities in your resume and during interviews, and you won’t have any trouble finding a great job.