How to start your career in the financial sector

If you’re a working mom, it’s likely that you’re busy every single day. From looking after the kids to working hard at your job, there’s a lot to do – and you may even be thinking about a career change too. The financial sector may seem like a tough one to break into for someone so busy, but it actually offers a lot of advantages. Salaries tend to be quite high, which makes managing childcare a lot easier. It also offers the chance for career progression, which is something that many working women look to build into their long-term plan. In this article, we’ll look at some top tips for kick-starting your financial sector career.

Work on numeracy

Contrary to popular belief, those who work in the financial sector don’t actually spend all day adding up numbers, working out averages and so on. The sorts of tasks those in this industry perform are diverse and can include everything from delivering presentations on how a company is performing to using their people skills to liaise with – or acquire – new clients.

That being said, no matter what sort of financial sector job you take on, it’s likely that you’ll need at least some numeracy skills in order to get by. If you’re editing a presentation for a client, for example, you’ll need to have a sense of whether or not the numbers in the charts fit together or are realistic. By practicing your numeracy skills and brushing up on any areas that need improvement, you’ll stand a much better chance of getting the experience you need.

Does education matter?

For those who aren’t familiar with it, the financial sector sometimes seems like a big and scary world where only those with high-flying degrees can make it through. It’s true that some financial sector jobs require degrees, and some firms in the sector now choose to recruit their new staff in part through graduate schemes and other university-focused methods.

But in fact, the financial sector has a proud history of accepting people who don’t have degrees from top universities – or even degrees at all. In the 1980s, for example, the so-called “barrow boys” who worked as traders on the London Stock Exchange were often young people from the East End of London or Essex. These days, it’s still possible to get into the financial sector without having a top-end degree. If you can demonstrate that you’ve got the drive and ability to learn a lot about the sector and how it works, this will not go unnoticed, and you’ll likely find yourself in demand by employers – this is, after all, an entrepreneurial industry!

Internships and experience

While it’s not always a given that you’ll require a successfully completed internship in order to move on to the next stage of your financial services career, it’s often required – especially if you’re looking to work in London, where Shard Capital Partners LLP and other major firms are based. Those who are studying at college or university and want to join graduate schemes once they have finished their degrees, for example, will often take on an internship that prepares them for the demands of the job once they go full time. Upon completing this internship, an offer of employment will usually then be made.

As a working mom, though, you might not necessarily be in a position to follow the internship and study routes. However, there are other ways into the financial sector – especially in locations outside of the major financial hubs. Having work experience in the financial sector rather than a formal, structured internship is sometimes enough to get these jobs, while some entry-level jobs can often be secured simply by having prior experience in almost any workplace. There are also lots of simulators available online as well that will allow you to practice trading for yourself and get a feel for how it works – a move that expands both your financial sector vocabulary and your skills.

Entering the financial sector may seem to many people like an unobtainable dream, but that doesn’t have to be the case – even if you’re a busy working mom with lots to do! By focusing on improving your numeracy and trading skills, working hard at getting experience and showing some entrepreneurial spirit and self-motivation, you’re likely to surge ahead of the competition and eventually secure a foot on the career ladder in one of the most lucrative and dynamic industries out there today.

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