The finance sector is dynamic and one of the most forward-thinking industries globally. Due to new technology, the finance industry is moving in an increasingly exciting direction. This industry is full of opportunities for personal and professional growth. Choosing finance is a stable career choice and is in demand worldwide.
It is vital first to understand the financial industry's health to get a finance degree job. The global financial services industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6% from 2022 to 2027. The United States has the largest and most liquid financial market globally, with the finance and insurance markets alone representing nearly 7.5% of the country’s GDP in 2018. Almost 30 financial services companies from Fortune’s Global 500 listing have decided to strategically locate headquarters in the United States to take part in the competitive finance industry, and over 30% of re-insurance purchased globally comes from firms in the United States.
Financial services refer to how a customer obtains an economic good. This is an area that has become increasingly influential in the modern economy. Some types of financial services include
- Foreign exchange
- Investment services
What are the benefits of a career in finance?
There are several benefits to having a career in finance. A variety of career opportunities, job/financial security, specialized training, and a challenging career with many advancement opportunities are a few of the reasons why having a career in finance may be a good choice for you.
Five tips to help land a finance job with a bachelor’s degree:
Seek internship opportunities:
An internship can be ideal during college and even right after college for programs that are open to graduates. Internships help counteract the lack of full-time experience most college graduates lack directly after college. Many financial internships are paid, so it is worthwhile to pursue one instead of getting a summer job. Performing well throughout an internship is an excellent way to establish positive future references and open doors to the possibility of a future full-time job within the company, as many financial internship programs are created to secure entry-level hires for the following year.
Utilize your background:
Companies are becoming more concerned with ensuring diversity is present within their organization. For example, Goldman Sachs mounts a four-week HBCU Possibilities Program for students and recent graduates of historically black colleges or universities. Morgan Stanley’s Richard B. Fisher Scholarship Program offers funds and internships to Latinx, Native American, African American, and LGBTQ college juniors and sophomores. The list goes on for corporations working to improve diversity and inclusion.
Target your studies:
If you plan to pursue a finance career, having a degree in finance or a related field is highly beneficial for your future success. Fields such as business, economics, and applied mathematics are other focuses that can be beneficial with this career track in mind.
Talk the talk:
A method to prepare for a financial career is to make reading financial news part of your day. Subscribing to The Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times will help expand your knowledge and get you used to the terms used in the industry. Other ways to increase your financial literacy include reading books on investing and reviewing tutorials from financial websites.
Begin to generate credentials:
Many applicants to financial positions will have high GPAs and earned degrees from good schools. Many exams provide you with credibilities, such as the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) level 1 exam and the SIE (Securities Industry Essentials) exam that will differentiate you. Securing these achievements can help set you apart from other candidates.
What can I do with a finance degree?
As graduation appears on the horizon, you may ask yourself, “What jobs can I get with a finance degree?” The list of career possibilities that a degree in finance will afford you is lengthy. Some possible entry-level finance jobs include
- Data analyst: A data analyst reviews and translates data to benefit company decision-making. Responsibilities may include determining trends associated with sales, market research, and recommending how to act on their findings.
- Benefits specialist: A benefits specialist inspects an organization’s compensation and benefits package to identify the most effective way the company can provide high-quality wages and benefits at a low cost. To do this, benefits specialists must compare employee salaries and total compensation packages among different industries to ensure they are competitive.
- Credit analyst: Credit analysts determine if a borrower will be able to pay back the entirety of a loan and if they are eligible for credit. They work with banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions to approve loans and identify rates.
- Entry-level financial advisor: An entry-level financial advisor helps clients form a plan on how to meet their financial goals. Financial advisors must discuss options and risks a client can take to pursue their dreams, including considerations such as marriage or retirement.
Possible careers to consider as you move up in the financial industry:
As mentioned above, this industry has an excellent opportunity for professional growth. Once you have secured an entry-level position and begin to climb the ladder to higher-ranking titles, the following jobs may appear on your radar.
A financial planner works with clients to help them manage money and make/reach long-term financial goals. To be a financial planner, one must have a thorough knowledge of personal finance, taxes, investing, and budgeting. Financial planners specialize in various areas, including tax, risk management, estate, retirement, and more. Daily activities involve advising and assisting clients on investing and saving matters.
Financial analysts are responsible for various activities, including collecting data, organizing information, analyzing historical results, forecasting, making recommendations, and generating models, reports, and presentations. The title “financial analyst” can be further divided into different specialties.
- Investment banking analyst
- Equity research analyst
- Financial planning and analysis analyst
These are all areas that fall within the realm of being a financial analyst.
Budget analysts help organizations stay on track financially by maintaining a balanced budget. They oversee company finances by regularly running financial reports, collaborating with executives about funding needs, and assessing budget decisions. Daily activities of a budget analyst may include
- Collaborating with managers to develop budgets
- Reviewing budget proposals for compliance with regulations
- Monitoring company spending
- Planning future expenses
Budget analysts should have skills in Microsoft Excel, accounting, financial management, analysis, forecasting, and other relevant areas to best perform these activities.
This position involves working with organizations to facilitate raising capital through investments. Investment bankers provide services to individuals, government entities, and corporations, where they serve as financial advisors that assist others with stock and bond offerings and mergers and acquisitions. Much like financial analysts, the “investment banker” title applies to different positions in the finance industry.
Chief financial officer
A CFO's primary focus is to optimize a company's financial performance, including its reporting, return on investment, and liquidity. CFOs should have excellent leadership skills as they oversee other financial personnel, such as controllers. This position is responsible for ensuring the company they work for can meet its financial commitments and efficiently manage cash flow.
What traits are beneficial for the finance industry?
Organizations rely on employees that can persist through challenging times. In the financial industry, it is vital to take action toward finding solutions to problems. If you are a natural problem solver, be sure to highlight this area in your interviews.
Being adept in data analysis and having the ability to demonstrate logical thinking to analyze information is key in the financial industry.
Although you may not be applying directly to a managerial position, even entry-level financial positions require a high degree of leadership. This is because project management, communication, and teamwork are all assisted by a strong foundation in leadership.
Employers seek candidates who can easily communicate with managers, coworkers, and customers. Effective communication is a crucial aspect of performing well in financial roles.
Although these characteristics may appear to counteract one another, having a blend of confidence in your abilities and a mentality that involves putting your team ahead of yourself is helpful in the industry.
Those seeking a career in finance should aim to display professionalism in all interactions.
The ability to perform efficiently and effectively without being constantly supervised can make the average employee an asset to the company. If you are proficient in self-starting and monitoring yourself, highlight this aspect in your interviews.
Advancements in technology have made technical knowledge key for candidates seeking to work in the financial industry. Many firms seek to hire employees with Structured Query Language (SQL) knowledge. Learning a variety of technology platforms could help increase your value during the interviewing process.
Financial candidates who are dedicated to learning and advancement in the financial industry are more likely to be noticed by employers. Exhibiting curiosity and showcasing your passion for learning is an excellent way to stand out among other candidates.
Independence and teamwork
Work settings vary among companies and roles within companies. Transitioning between these work modes while maintaining the same skill level is essential in the financial industry. Candidates who can work independently and positively contribute to teams are of great value to employers.
Colorado: “The largest financial center between LA and Chicago.”
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade identified the state as the most significant financial center between LA and Chicago, which can be seen through major players’ interest in the state, including Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo, and U.S. Bank.
The cost of doing business in Colorado falls below the national average, and the industry has about 230,000 financial workers, driving the industry even further. Denver was ranked among the top 15 cities for finance workers when considering income tax rates, after-tax income for finance jobs, median rental prices, median home values, amount of available job openings, and hiring rates.
Average base salaries for financial positions in Colorado:
- Chief Financial Officer: $143,451 - at national average
- Investment banker: $64,731 - 6% above national average
- Budget analyst: $74,008 - at national average
- Financial analyst: $69,038 - at national average
- Benefit specialist: $68,948 - 31% above national average
- Entry-level financial advisor: $72,337 - 13% above national average
Considering a career in the finance industry is a beneficial choice when considering stability, benefits, innovation, and technology. To best land a job in this booming industry, there are recommended steps, such as securing an internship, familiarizing yourself with the financial language, targeting your studies, and obtaining credentials that will set you apart from others seeking to enter into finance.
Fortunately, there are options for entry-level positions in finance with high growth potential to launch your career, as well as jobs that reach the c-suite level.
Written by Lauren Kemp
Lauren Kemp, Communications and Marketing Specialist at J2T, earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a minor in Latin American studies and a Master of Science in Innovation and Management from Montana State University. Lauren hails from Montana and enjoys reading about the history of her home state. Her bucket-list items include touring the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and taking an immersion trip to Chile to experience Latin American culture first-hand.
J2T is a recruiting and staffing firm that solely focuses on accounting and finance roles. J2T Flex facilitates all operational accounting needs including all contract or contract-to-hire needs. On the direct hire side, J2T Recruiting specializes in Sr. Accountants/Analysts through CFO and touches everything in the corporate accounting and finance organizational chart. J2T is a women-owned business exclusively serving the Colorado and Montana markets with the overarching goal to serve you in all areas of the hiring experience.