Scientists and philosophers can spend weeks arguing which came first, the chicken or the egg, and never reach a conclusion. While one’s career is in some ways a lifelong pursuit, the start of it is usually easier to peg. Many would say it began with their first finance job.dariusl / 123RF Stock Photo
Or did it start with the work that went into securing that job? The debate continues … Regardless of whether you think your career started in grade school or didn’t actually begin until you’d had three finance jobs, we have some suggestions from experts as to where the best places are to start your financial career (in no particular order).
1. Development programs
Chris Fackler is president of Ringside Search Partners, a leading talent acquisition firm. “When you start a new career in finance it's best to get into an organization known for their developmental programs,” he says, explaining that these programs are often found in larger Fortune 1000 companies because they have the resources to invest in their next course of leadership.
David Eagan, a financial analyst for a large computer manufacturer, agrees. He went through his company’s finance development program, which he says was “great for me because I got to learn about many different areas of finance, before ultimately settling in a specific part of the company.” He also remembers it as a great way to meet mentors and network within the company.
Development programs are known for exposing their enrollees to a variety of finance jobs within an organization.
2. Bank management trainee positions
Now a 15-year industry veteran and president of financial services/wealth management firm Lions Bridge Financial, Jayne De Vincenzo says she got two offers from banks right out of college and accepted a management trainee job at one. She touts this as an excellent place to start a new career in finance. Her advice for those looking to acquire a management trainee position is to find by calling -- not just emailing -- human resources and training departments at banks. She also shares the following for those with aspirations to get into financial advising one day, as she eventually did: “find a great team and ask to join them and work your way up.”
Finance jobs for some began as internships when they were in college. And the excellent news is you can still get an internship even after you’ve graduated (as long as you’re ready to work for less money). “If you can ‘score’ an internship, you gain valuable real-life experience that can often segue to a real job with the firm,” says career coach Vickie Austin of CHOICES Worldwide, who works closely with financial services professionals. “Don't turn your nose up at an internship that doesn't ‘challenge’ you--just being in their world is a plus.”
4. Chambers of commerce
Not as commonly thought of as your university career center or alumni association, your local chamber of commerce is also an excellent resource for starting your finance career, according to Austin. “If you're seeking a more entrepreneurial approach to a career in finance, tap into your local chamber of commerce for some connections,” she says, pointing out that local business owners in insurance, financial planning, and so on often reach their chamber of commerce for support and professional development.
5. Your network
They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters, and while some might argue against it, many professionals will tell you they got their first (or current) finance charge after someone they already knew alerted them to its availability. “Hands down the advice from the professionals I talked with, and my own coaching, is to start with what I call ‘Your Golden Rolodex,’” shares Austin. This system includes your relatives, friends, past coworkers, neighbors and anyone you know well enough to request an informational interview with. “If you're interested in becoming an investment advisor, a broker, a controller or a CPA, start by talking with someone you know who does what you think you want to do,” she advises.
Author: Peter Hans