If you will be graduating soon or are a recent finance grad, finding an entry-level finance position might be difficult, especially if you don’t have work experience. Earlier this year, Georgetown University released a study that compared the unemployment rates of different majors.
While the study didn’t discuss finance majors specifically, the researchers found that recent business major graduates with no work experience had an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. On the upside, this is a bit lower than the overall rate for all majors, which was 7.9 percent. Just be glad you didn’t graduate with a degree in architecture – those recent grads with no job experience are looking at a 12.8 percent unemployment rate. Which leads us to our first tip.
1. Get work experience or an internship while you’re still in college. While it’s too late for recent grads, if you’re still in school, do your best to get some finance work experience under your belt. Business majors with work experience increased their odds of finding a job after graduation – the unemployment rate fell from 7.5 percent to 5.2 percent.
2. Go for an advanced degree or MBA. According to the Georgetown survey, business majors with graduate degrees improved their odds even further than those with an undergrad degree and work experience. The unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent for advanced-degree holders. So for college grads seeking finance careers, that MBA will be worth the effort. It’s also going to help you earn a higher salary as we’ve discussed in previous posts.
3. Search for unconventional job titles. We also mentioned in previous posts that including keywords that you derive from job descriptions and building them into each resume and cover letter can help you get through applicant tracking systems. Think of the different words used in job descriptions, then think of the different options for job titles that employees might use, which might be out of the ordinary. You might find a hidden gem.
4. Tell everyone you know you’re looking for work. Employers like to hire people who have been referred to them. If your friends, family, former schoolmates or coworkers don’t know you’re looking, you could miss out on a great opportunity. Just make sure you sound excited not desperate when you spread the word. And don’t be afraid to ask people you know that you would appreciate introductions to their friends who work in finance.
5. Attend finance industry events. Again, you’re looking to make connections and there’s no better place than an industry conference (multiple events = multiple opportunities to meet people) or a networking event for finance-minded professionals.
6. Take finance pros out to lunch or meet them for an informational interview. Make a list of the firms or corporations where you would like to work, and try to connect with someone there who is either a hiring manager or on that same level. Pick up the phone, send a professional introductory email or connect with them LinkedIn. You need to be patient and persistent without being a stalker. Make it your goal to build some small relationship or connection so you can get a lunch date or meeting face-to-face. Even if your new contact isn’t hiring anyone today, he or she might be in the future, or they could know someone who is hiring now.
7. Leverage your LinkedIn profile for all it’s worth. If you haven’t signed up for LinkedIn yet, do it today. This top professional social site is a great tool for making connections in the finance industry and marketing yourself online. You can learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile in this earlier post.
8. Take advantage of finance industry-specialized recruiters and websites. Finance career job websites such as Doostang’s and recruiters who have connections in the finance industry can give you the edge and save you time. You can search top finance jobs by location on our site – and you won’t have to weed through other non-finance jobs. Plus we offer an assortment of helpful job search tools, designed especially for finance grads and MBAs. And if you make friends with recruiters who focus specifically on finance positions, they will let you know when the new openings occur in your field.
Want to learn more about the Georgetown unemployment study? View the Slideshare overview here:
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Carnevale, A.P.; Cheah, B. “Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings.” Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce; May 29, 2013. Available at http://cew.georgetown.edu/unemployment2013/. Accessed Nov. 22, 2013.