Since 2008, we’ve suffered a seemingly endless number of news headlines exclaiming financial downturn, economic failures and patchy job markets. But, at the very least, the outlook is more positive for the UK in 2014.
National newspaper The Guardian has forecasted that this year will be the strongest for graduate jobs since the financial meltdown of six years ago, coming as a relief for any graduates hoping to jump feet first into employment.
But for those in the world of finances, the employment market has always been tough, although the rewards make it well worth the effort (finance jobs take up four of the 10 highest paid positions in the UK).
When you’re looking for a job in finance, just like in any job hunt, it’s the interview that will come as the real clincher. But unlike any other vacancy, you’ll be expected to illustrate your specialist knowledge to a fine art.
So, whether it’s tax interview guidance or broker-based boasting, follow a few of these tips to secure a position in one of the most lucrative fields in the world.
Your experience is your calling card
Whether you’re just out of university or are a seasoned professional, amassing experience from the biggest and brightest finance companies is the key to wowing your potential employer.
If you are still in university, apply for as many internship programmes as possible in-between studying, building a catalogue of experience before you part ways with campus.
Indeed, employers nowadays are increasingly on the lookout for extracurricular subjects to bolster your degree and set you apart from other candidates.
Nick Entwistle, vice-president of education at Surrey’s student union, said in The Guardian, “We’re very conscious of the need to develop professional skills. In the recession, graduate recruitment became massively more competitive, and students began seeking opportunities for their professional development while at uni.
“They know that the extra qualifications and training could give them the edge.”
Knowledge is key, but boasting isn’t
Although your professional skills should be on show at all times during an interview, there’s a fine line between knowledge and arrogance. Interviews are about teetering on that tightrope between self-awareness and humility, especially in the world of finance.
Despite rigorous regulations, every finance company has its own quirks and intricacies. If you’re swanning into an interview as though you’re the cock of the walk in the world of numbers, it implies inflexibility and an unwillingness to adapt.
The finest way to maintain this balancing act is to showcase your skills with an anecdote, before following it up with a time you had to adapt said skills to a new situation. That way, you’ll illustrate knowledge, flexibility and a willingness to learn new methods.
You might be a finance-pro, but don’t overemphasise your salary needs
Those lucrative rewards that were alluded to in the introduction? Try not to bring them up too often, at least not until the job is in the bag.
If you seem to have an obnoxious fixation on cash in an interview, you’ll put off employers who want to know that your allegiance is to your company, not your pay packet.
Slip in shoptalk
Nothing implies that you could be “one of the team” more than casually mentioning clients you both know, financial regulations that flair your interests and other seemingly casual chat to prove you’re in the finance loop.
Naturally, shared knowledge like this will take a lot of background research before you attend an interview. Check the company’s webpage, LinkedIn and any other resources to make yourself seem like you were practically built for the business you’re applying for.