Land a Job in Finance with These 5 Tips

  • By AFP Staff
  • Published: 12/21/2023
Group interview

The demand for finance professionals is high. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to make a career change, now is a great time to work in finance.

Below are five tips to help you land a job in finance.

1. Make an effort.

In the job interview, make an effort to set yourself apart from other candidates. Arrive early, ask questions and do your homework. These are all things hiring managers look for when determining a candidate’s potential.

“When I meet a candidate who may be new to the workforce, or just new to a role, I like to ask them questions about the firm, the role and the industry,” said Frank Dotro, Head of Global Liquidity Distribution for Invesco Global Liquidity.

A lack of firsthand experience with the job is not an excuse for a lack of general knowledge about it, particularly in the digital era. Doing your homework means finding out what the role entails and learning everything you can about the company and its role in the industry — who are the biggest players in the space?

One place to look for information about a company is the press release section of the company’s website. There you can find recent news about the company itself and any industry-wide changes that affect their business, e.g., a new office location or a recent regulatory change.   

Then bring it all back to you. Be able to articulate how this role, this firm and the industry as a whole interests you.

2. Polish up your soft skills.

While the qualities and skills employers are looking for are job-specific, in general, hiring managers are looking for candidates with impressive soft skills. For finance, this means an analytical mindset, someone who pays attention to details, and effective communication skills — data without strong communication skills isn’t useful. “How do you take the data you’ve gathered to form a story that can be actioned upon?” said Dotro.

How do you demonstrate these abilities in an interview? One way is to inquire about something you learned about the company from a press release or regulatory filing. For example, ‘In the last earnings call your CFO mentioned that you may be embarking on cost-cutting measures over the next few quarters, are you able to share how that may impact this division or role in the near term?’ 

What this shows the hiring manager is that you did your homework — and that you understand the information and its potential implications.

3. Engage your network to stand out from the crowd.

A lot of applications come across a hiring manager’s desk, and a hiring manager talks to a lot of candidates. So, how can you stand out from the crowd? Engage your network — either leverage what you have or build what you need.

Do any of your friends or colleagues know anyone who works for that company? Look through your contacts on LinkedIn — fellow alumni, your brother’s friend, or someone you did an informational interview with last year.

If you can’t find an “in,” reach out cold. Try to find people at the company you’re applying to — better still, the group you’re trying to join — and reach out with an introductory note asking if they have a few minutes to discuss the team.

“We want people who want to join our team and our firm,” said Dotro. “The more legwork you do to make it obvious to us that you’re really interested (and not just looking for a paycheck), the better your outcomes will be.”

4. Make sure you — and the company — are a good fit.

It works both ways: Are you the right fit for the organization, and are they the right fit for you? For the job, it comes down to the role itself. If the job requires you to give presentations to large groups and you hate public speaking, then it’s not a good fit. “But often it’s more subtle,” advised Dotro.

Some examples include a preference for working alone versus in a team-oriented function. Do you enjoy working on multiple tasks at once, or do you prefer to work linearly, i.e., finish one task before moving on to the next.

There are many different roles to fill in the finance industry. Find what suits you and your style, what you find enjoyable and interesting. And be honest with yourself. You might like the team and the company, but if you don’t enjoy the role, how long do you think it will realistically last?

Do yourself and the company a favor and make sure it works for both of you.

5. They want to interview the real you.

It is said that “if you’re your authentic self, you have no competition.” Don’t go into an interview being anyone other than you, projecting anyone other than you. It serves no one for you to be inauthentic.  

Be honest with yourself. Do you like analyzing data? Then find roles that will allow you to do that. If not, then don’t “settle” for roles that do. Take stock of your skills and interests and write them down. Then, look for roles that match 80%. “Nothing will match 100%, and that’s OK,” said Dotro.

What if you don’t have a required skill? Learn. There are tons of resources available.

“It’s your career, and your responsibility to build it,” said Dotro.

Once you’ve landed the job, follow these five tips to make sure you succeed in the role.

Frank Dotro is the Head of Global Liquidity for the North America Institutional Sales team at Invesco. He leads a team of sales professionals in the United States who cover large financial intermediaries and institutional clients. Dotro has held multiple CFO and COO positions, including for J.P. Morgan Asset Management and the North America Institutional Business. He has worked in the financial industry since 2002.

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