Graduating can feel like a weight lifted off your shoulders, but that relief is often short lived when you are confronted with the dilemma of what comes next. Typically, some student debt is going to mean that you want to start earning as soon as possible, so what should you do first if you’ve got your heart set on a career in Finance?
- Use the support and services at your disposal
- Universities pride themselves on their vocational guidance and post-graduation support, often up to two years after you’ve left, so use it while it’s there. Career guidance is easier when you have a direction in mind, so be as specific as you can if you know where you want to head.
- Work on your CV
- You may think that’s it’s going to be a short document at this stage, but there is a surprising amount of additional information you can bolster your CV with to help you stand out from the competition and get the job you want: part time work, volunteering, any roles you have held in university societies should all be included. Sound out some potential references while you are doing this too.
- Audit your social media channels
- It sounds obvious, but it’s a small step that is often overlooked. Delete anything dodgy! Recruiters and prospective employers will look online, so get those security settings in place and clean up your various profiles that have documented your recent student life.
- Notoriously tough to get on, but there are avenues in Finance, both in industry and banking, to get onto a summer internship programme. They usually run throughout the summer for 8-10 weeks, but a place needs securing well in advance of your graduation. Worth trying for if you can afford not to earn immediately, as they are excellent on your CV.
- Partner with a recruiter
- Good finance recruitment consultants who work with grads can be invaluable, from the CV points above, to helping with interview technique and above all, putting you forward for the right graduate roles. Of course, you can apply for jobs directly, but consultants will look at the bigger picture, with your interests in mind, in terms of opportunities and career progression, and are connected throughout your chosen sector.
All businesses in all sectors need people with financial skills and, as Accountancy, Banking and Finance are very broad areas, there are numerous roles and areas of work you can focus on. Discuss with your recruitment consultant which specialism or type of role would best suited not just for your qualifications, but your skills, personality and interests. For example, not everyone is suited to working in a huge organisation, they may prefer to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond.
You may have already decided that you want a Finance role in industry rather than Financial Services, but even then, there is much to consider. The sector list in industry is endless – FMCG, Retail, Pharma, Media, Telecommunications, Energy, IT etc. – and there are pros and cons to each, some with broader future career options to pivot elsewhere, others more specialist and tougher to move away from. This is where the research skills from your studying will come to the fore, as you need to drill down in sectors and then the potential employers.
Remember, your degree doesn’t have to be in finance or business studies to work in this area. Employers are equally interested in the transferable skills you have gained as a student, so don’t be put off if you decided on a career in Finance two years into your Psychology degree.
If you are a recent graduate and interested in a career in Finance, contact us today to see how we can help you embark on your career.