If you’re really serious about starting a career in finance, then it’s important to focus on building up the skills to help you land that perfect graduate job to get you started.
This article focuses on five useful skills that everyone in finance needs to have.
If you work in most jobs in the finance industry, don’t expect to sit behind a computer all day. Almost all finance-related graduate jobs will involve you communicating with people in one way or another, so working to build up your communication skills will be important.
Finance is an industry that relies on networks as well, so learning how to create a good network of people you know and whom you can turn to for advice or mentoring is important.
Finance jobs all involve some kind of analytical thinking, so if it’s not in your nature to approach things methodically, you’ll need to improve those skills before finding graduate jobs to apply to.
Careers in finance will involve a lot of numbers and statistics, so don’t shy away from building up your analytical mind.
Everyone that works in finance should have excellent problem-solving abilities to help them systematically break down an issue and find the answer in order to progress through their work day.
Really good problem solvers have strong time management and the ability to prioritise tasks based on importance and requirements, both internal and external.
Don’t know anything about accounting or financial software? You’re not going to get far with careers in finance.
Make sure you’re up-to-date with your computer knowledge and get used to financial software to help you find a finance job - a lot of accounting and financial packages such as Wave (https://www.waveapps.com/), Xero (https://www.xero.com) and others) plus CRM systems such as Pipedrive (https://www.pipedrive.com), have free or trial accounts, so there’s no reason not to familiarise yourself with the way they work.
If you’re going to work in finance then you need to have some kind of industry-recognized qualification - the finance industry has some of the most rigorous regulations and standards you’ll find in any industry, so qualifications help to give you the right basis of knowledge for success.
For graduate-level roles there are many short and introductory courses that you can do to assist in gaining at least the basis of knowledge you’ll need to keep you moving forward.