How Do I Get a Job in Accounting?

accountingAs the global economy continues to recover, accounting is one of the fastest-growing fields. Increased hiring and a rise in mergers and restructuring in other fields, especially in financial services and health care, have necessitated growth in accounting to handle all the new activity. That growth, combined with senior employees retiring and leaving the workforce, has led to a robust job market for accountants.

What career options are available for job seekers with accounting degrees?

 The Big Four

KPMG. PricewaterhouseCoopers. Deloitte. Ernst & Young.

 These are the most prestigious employers for accounting grads. Why? Big Four clients work with Fortune 1000 companies, which means employees are exposed to complex accounting issues. A job with a Big Four firm is a great career move for someone entering the accounting profession. If, instead of moving up the ladder in your Big Four firm, you decide to work for another public accounting firm, take an in-house position in industry or government, or decide to hang out your own shingle, your Big Four experience will shine on your resume.

The central focus of the Big Four firms is audit services: verification of the accuracy of clients’ books. This also includes non-audit lines of business, including actuarial work (risk analysis and management), tax consulting, human resources management, and merger and acquisition advice.

Other Public Accounting Firms

Although the Big Four get most of the publicity, many smaller, less well-known national players and regional public accounting firms do plenty of hiring. Representative national firms include Grant Thornton, McGladrey & Pullen, BDO Seidman, and Moss Adams. There are also strong regional players around the country that usually affiliate themselves with some national network of similarly sized firms. Insiders tell us the hours are often a little better at these smaller firms than at the Big Four, the path to partner a little quicker, and the work more varied and interesting. If you go to a Big Four firm, your only responsibility for three months might be to audit the cash account at IBM. At a regional firm, you’ll be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, with a greater variety of job duties.

 In-House Accounting

Whether publicly traded or not, every company has internal accountants to set budgets, manage assets, and track payroll, accounts payable and receivable, and other financial matters. For mid-sized and large firms, the internal staff works closely with public auditors at the end of the fiscal year and with senior management and IT staff year-round.

Controllers and CFOs at smaller firms often enjoy even more important and influential roles in running and developing the business. These jobs are just as demanding as those in public accounting. Most accountants in the private sector stay in one place, in one job, working with the same colleagues, for extended periods. However, should you choose to move around, accounting skills are very portable.

 Government

The government hires a lot of people with accounting skills. Traditionally the biggest federal employers are the Department of Defense, the Government Accountability Office, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to monitoring individual and corporate tax returns, government accountants at the state and federal levels formulate and administer budgets, track costs, and analyze publicly funded programs.

Independent

You can always hang out your own shingle, individually or in partnership with other accountants, especially once you have your CPA. There is plenty of business preparing tax returns and advising small businesses, provided you have relevant expertise, such as a thorough knowledge of tax law. You also will need to market your services and manage your own business— time-consuming activities not everyone enjoys.

Some independent practitioners make a nice niche for themselves by specializing in a particular industry. For instance, an accountant specializing in tax prep for people in advertising and creative services may reap many referral benefits by virtue of their specialty. But beware: This kind of specialization can breed monotony because you’ll be working on the same types of issues day after day.

 

 

Is Your Career Heading in the Right Direction?

Are You In Control of Your Career?

quarter-life crisis

Image Credit: Blindfolded Businessman Image from Bigstock.

Throughout your career, it’s important to take a moment to check in with yourself. Why? Because sometimes it’s easy to lose control of your career path.

Regardless of how you feel about your current job, you should make sure to ask yourself if you’re heading in the right direction with your career. If you discover you aren’t heading in the right direction, then you must take immediate action to align your career goals.

No matter how passionate you are about your career — or even how much you despise your job — it’s easy to forget about your career goals or the plan you had set for yourself in the beginning. It’s important to remember your career path should always be moving forward and to be aware of the results you desire.

Sometimes, it’s even possible to get too comfortable with your current job. Maybe it’s not the most fulfilling job, but it does provide great wages and benefits. However, if you begin to find yourself seeking a greater calling, maybe it’s time to search for new opportunities. Don’t be afraid to take back control in your career and discover what you truly want.

One thing to remember is to have the open-mindedness to embrace change. Your career path is going to have its ups and downs, but it’s all about how you react to those events that impact your professional development. It’s okay if your career goals change; however, be aware of the satisfaction you receive from your job and how it affects your values.

So how can you start taking control of your career? Well, it’s important to pay close attention to what you say and do. Be aware of your work ethic, motivation, and the feelings you have when you go to work. If you discover you aren’t producing results or you simply lack any motivation to be productive, this could mean you need to figure out what areas in your job need improvement.

For example, if you feel like your workload is constantly causing you stress and making you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself if the added stress is truly worth it. Sometimes, your job will be incredibly demanding, but if it isn’t producing the results you anticipated, you may have to check in with your career goals. Don’t feel like you have to stick with a job because you need it. You have to realize that there are opportunities waiting for you that can fulfill your career goals.

Taking control of your career means understanding your career goals and realizing your career path must always move forward. If for a moment you begin to feel like you’re moving backward, you muststop yourself and reevaluate your goals. The last thing you want is to become completely invested in a job or career that doesn’t provide you with any satisfaction or sense of accomplishment. It’s time for you to stop waiting for your career to happen and make success happen for yourself!

Have you ever felt lost throughout on your career path? What ways did you gain back control?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommend.

Should Social Media Be Allowed At Work?

ID-10073157

Over recent years, social media has quickly integrated its way into the every day life of Millennials.

Social media is no longer just a tool of connecting with friends and family, but also it has become a strategy for building relationships at work. An astounding eight out of 10 Millennials are connected to at least one social media network — and 90 percent of Millennials even use Facebook for personal and work-related reasons.

Millennials don’t want to just have a job these days, they want to have a career where they can make a difference. Millennials are creative thinkers and innovators — so of course, they are going to want to implement technology into their daily lives at work. Social media allows Millennials to engage with coworkers, build relationships with clients, and simply stay connected throughout the work day. While social media has both its advantages and disadvantages, it’s transforming the workplace into a more creative and social environment.

Social media boosts employee morale.

Allowing social media in the workplace is a great way for employers to boost employee morale. It presents employers with the opportunity to build a sense of community while also giving employees the freedom to stay connected during the work day. Employers can create Facebook groups to help employees stay connected and inform them about internal events within the company. Social media can also serve as a virtual water cooler, which can help build the culture of your company. Overall, embracing social media in the workplace builds trust between the employer and their employees. This type of trust shows employees that management trusts them to be productive while simultaneously having the freedom to use social media on the job.

It’s an essential tool for Gen Y.

Social networking has become an essential communication tool for Millennials. Not only does social media allow Millennials connect with friends, family, and coworkers, but it has become the center of much their day-to-day activities. Fifty-six percent of Millennials use social media as a source of communication and 26 percent of Millennials check social networking sites during their breaks at work. Social media in the workplace is essential for Gen Y’ers because it creates transparency and allows them to stay connected, even when they’re at the office. Plus, employers who hire social-savvy Millennials can boost the communication process internally, as well.

Gen Y can educate their company about social media.

Employers who welcome social media in the workplace can definitely grow their company internally and externally. Social media has a huge impact on sales, consumer relations, and the overall brand for a company. By allowing Gen Y employees to bring their knowledge of different social networking tools to the workplace, you can grow your company, reach new customers, and improve employee engagement.

However, social media can decrease productivity for employees.

Whether you’d like to think you’re good at multitasking, you really aren’t. Surprisingly, only two percent of the population can successfully multitask. This means that the other 98 percent of you cannot and social media is often a cause for poor multitasking. Social media can create a distraction for employees, especially when 61 percent of workers spend approximately 15 minutes per day in the office checking Facebook. Although social media is a great way to stay connected, it can create a barrier between accomplishing tasks and productivity in the workplace.

It can also stir up inappropriate online behavior.

This year, we have see many employee blunders on social media. Probably the most memorable employee incident with social media was the Taco Bell employee who posted a photo of himself licking taco shells on Instagram. Now, these silly mistakes aren’t the only ones that happen on social media. Some employees have also been accused of bad-mouthing coworkers or complaining about their jobs. Millennials need to remember that whatever you decide to say on social media, it will always come back to haunt you.

The bottom line, is employers need to embrace social media. 

Social media in the workplace isn’t just beneficial for employees alone, it can actually boost the company’s culture. This is a tool that allows companies to build a community within the workplace and encourage open communication between management and employees. Gen Y employees are quickly filling the workplace and employers need to embrace how social media is essential to their employees’ success.

Do you think social media should be allowed in the workplace? Share your thoughts below!

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

Show Me the Money: 5 Tips to Negotiate a Raise

ID-10033704

Asking for a raise can be a bit tricky. There’s that sentiment akin to asking your parents to tack on a few extra bucks to your allowance; and then there’s the walking-on-eggshells feeling you get in trying not to overstep your boundaries with your boss. But asking for a raise is OK, and it’s a two-way conversation that you can navigate tactfully if you keep a few things in mind:

Do Your Time

Although rightly deserved in some cases, a raise is not going to present itself on Day 2, no matter how convincing you are in presenting your case to your boss. The fact is, in order to rationalize paying you more money for the same work, an employer must see that you have made progress and remained loyal to the company. A company can find any old schmo off the street to do the work for a starting level salary. But go above and beyond, and they may be inclined to attach a few more dollar signs to your value.

Determine Your Reasons

In order to present a convincing case to your boss, it helps to understand why you are asking for a raise in the first place. Is it because your living expenses have gone up? Are you expecting a new addition to the family? Don’t misunderstand; simply desiring a higher salary for your excellent work is a completely valid point. But if you can present these motivations to your employer, you may find that they’re more likely to side with you on this one.

Be Reasonable

Of course you’re going to sound like a child when you put forth the whole “I want a million dollars” offer. That, and you’re going to get shut down very quickly. In order to be taken seriously, present a sensible figure to your boss, one that is on par with the work that you complete. This will get you much farther in negotiating with you boss.

Practice Savvy Negotiating Tactics

Alright, that said, you may want to present a number to your employer that is a bit higher than the actual raise you wish to receive. The boss didn’t get to where they are by being a pushover. They’ll likely try to bargain you down, trying to take you at your bottom limit. Before you propose anything, then, figure out what your bottom limit is. Give your boss a number that is higher than this – but not too high – and once negotiating begins, don’t allow yourself to go below this bottom line. Hopefully, the two of you will settle on something in the middle.

Understand Your Value

Logically, a company wishes to pay as little as they can while still employing reliable employees who complete great work. At the same time, their great wish is to keep their workers happy, which is equally – if not more – important to business. You may view a large corporation powerful and yourself lucky, in that they decided to give you a job in the first place. But it’s crucial to realize that you are equally as vital to them as they are to you. You are valuable and they know it. If you’re doing a great job, bring this up in a negotiation. Present numbers, graphs, or work samples when you go in to speak to your boss. Tell them that you’re worth it and show them why. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Keep these 5 things in mind when negotiating with your employer and you’ll be more likely to get your point across, make a favorable impression, and walk away with what you deserve.

Careers in Accounting and Financial Services

ID-100221713

When many young professionals seek to break into Finance, they often focus solely on careers in the Banking sector. However, there’s much more to Finance than that. So Doostang spent some time with Sara G. of Ernst & Young LLP in order to learn a bit about the world of accounting and financial services firms.

Read on for refreshing, first-hand insight from a professional who knows this career track inside and out.

What were your reasons for choosing to pursue degrees in Finance and Accounting? What path ultimately led you to Ernst & Young?

I started college about as far away from the business school as possible, as a cell biology/genetics major planning to go into genetic research and counseling. However, once I had taken a class in the Smith School of Business at UMD I was hooked! The access to seminars and other learning opportunities with some of the most successful companies and entrepreneurs around (and potential future employers!) was wonderful, and really made me look forward to a career in business.

After Freshman year, I acquired my real estate license and began working as an agent just to help a family member sell their property, but I ended up sticking with it, and learned a lot about investing and the real estate market. It was the combination of the desire to learn more about investments and how businesses worked from the inside, along with the realization from school that many of the great jobs out there at the time were in the fields of Accounting and Finance, that made me pursue those two majors.

I had seen Ernst & Young giving presentations or at career fairs on several occasions, and also of course as sponsors of different charity and sporting events outside of school. I had an opportunity to intern at the firm over the summer, and I learned so much in just two and a half months!

Although I later applied for and obtained offers from several other accounting and financial services firms, I came back to E&Y after graduation because of the people, and the opportunity to work in many different fields and learn about many different companies–from the Fortune 500 to the smallest start-up–from the inside out.

Tell me a bit about your role at that company. What does any average day look like?

I’m not sure if there ever really is an “average” day here! I work as a Senior Auditor, so I plan and oversee the engagement, delegate the work that needs to get done, and review work from the staff while helping those Managers and Partners above me with whatever tasks they need assistance on, such as writing memos, technical research, or “tying out” the financial statements of the Company. We work on everything from testing internal controls to making sure the Company’s 10-K is accurate, supported and ready for filing on time.

There are also other project opportunities here and there, such as working on a bond deal or IPO for a client going public. I have several clients that I split my time between, depending on what time of the year it is.

The hours fluctuate as well–there’s a good amount of flexibility during the summer months normally, but the main audit busy season of January 15th to March 15th requires minimum 55 hour weeks; fortunately, the time usually flies by pretty quickly under the tight deadlines!

How can candidates without previous experience in finance differentiate themselves when applying for these opportunities? Can you offer any advice for young professionals that are interested in your field during these difficult economic times?

If you are looking to apply for a role in auditing or tax at one of the Big 4 accounting firms, you will need an accounting background–or willingness to work towards acquiring the classes and 150 credits required to sit for the CPA exam. However, there are other opportunities at the firms, such as in IT audit (testing and providing feedback on the systems of the Company), or advisory services that assist clients in finding business solutions to issues they may be facing, that do not necessarily require a background in accounting or finance.

My advice is, make sure your resume reflects how you may have contributed to improving upon a club/activity you were a part of, any leadership roles you have taken at other jobs or volunteer activity, and anything else about you that makes you stand out from the next candidate. If you speak another language, are an award-winning writer (good communication skills) or successfully planned your current company’s holiday event (shows leadership and ability to work well with others to meet a goal), don’t brush it off because it’s not directly correlated, just put a positive spin on it and make sure your resume is tailored towards the job you want! We all know these are tough times, but there are definitely jobs out there, especially with the good educational background you all have already.

How can well-educated, motivated young professionals take advantage of this moment? Where are the opportunities and what types of career paths are showing promise?

Unfortunately there’s been a lot of lay-offs recently, especially in the finance industry over the last few years, but I think motivated young professionals should take this as an opportunity to start again in a field they always wanted to try–take it as a second chance to follow a dream. Find out what you have to do to get there–go back to school, take a lower paying position at a different type of company, etc.–and do it.

There are definitely opportunities in the accounting field, as every business needs someone to keep track of the finances, and I don’t see that career path going away anytime soon.

If you’re looking to move into the field but don’t have any experience, start by applying for bookkeeping type of positions at a smaller company–you will learn a lot more about how the company works than if you take a job doing one specific task at a larger location, and will be much more marketable to other potential employers in the future.

So take it from the expert, if an accounting career interests you, now is a great time to explore everything that field has to offer. And if you never thought about accounting as a career path, give it some consideration now – it just might be a great fit.

Sounds interesting? Then make sure you check out some of the exceptional openings in accounting and finance that Doostang has to offer.

7 Tips for Comparing Job Offers

ID-10011458

During your job search, the idea of landing a job is probably a dream come true.

Whether you’re worried about finding a job that aligns with your career goals or one that simply makes ends meet, landing a job isn’t an easy task. However, if your dream becomes a reality and you receive a job offer (or three!), what do you do next?

While multiple job offers can seem like the best thing to happen during your job search, you now have to make a decision — which offer do you accept? From salary and location, to the job responsibilities and company culture, you’ll have to decide which position is the best fit for you.

Deciding between multiple job offers doesn’t have to be stressful. If you take the time to weigh your options, you can end up making the best decision for your career. Here are some helpful tips to guide you in the direction of accepting the right job for you:

 

1. Consider the location.

When you compare both jobs, take a look at locations and if they’ll have an impact on your daily routine. Will either position require you to relocate to a new city? Are you going to have a new 45-minute commute? Or will you have the opportunity to work from home? Location is essential to choosing the right job. Pay attention to the location of each job and determine if there will be any extra costs involved with accepting the position.

 

2. Ask yourself: Does the position match the lifestyle I want?

The biggest mistake job seekers make when accepting a job offer is not thinking about whether or not the opportunity aligns with their career goals and lifestyle. When accepting a job offer, you must make your needs a priority. If you accept a job that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, how are you going to find the motivation to excel in the workplace?

During your decision making process, make sure you are considering your personal needs such as work-life balance, schedule, and of course, salary. These factors will help you determine which job will satisfy your personal and professional life.

3. Take an inside look at their culture.

Company culture can tell you a lot about a position before you accept it. It’s important to explore the differences between each company so you can have a better understanding of what each job has to offer. Consider questions such as, if you have to work over-time, do you want the flexibility to work on a laptop from your home? Does the employer withhold values that align with yours? By asking these questions about each company’s culture, you’ll be able to determine which job is right for you.

 

4. Look at room for growth.

Whether or not this is a priority for your career, you should look at the opportunities available for promotions and decide if they fit your into your career goals. If job growth is something you desire, make sure you choose the position that gives you the opportunity to move upwards in the company. On the other hand, if you want to find a job where you can have the same position for the next 10 years, you’ll want to consider that, too.

 

5. Opportunities within the workplace.

When you accept a job offer, you want to make sure the position fits your career goals. Accepting a job just isn’t about having a higher salary or great perks, it’s about the learning experience, too. Determine if the company provides you with opportunities for professional development and training in the workplace. If continuous learning is an important element for your career goals, make sure the position you accept meets those needs.

6. Follow your intuition.

The bottom line is only you know what opportunity is the best fit for you and your career. During your job search, you have to trust yourself and your decision making process. Regardless of which job you choose, this decision is for you. If you’re having trouble deciding between job offers, try picturing yourself with each company. This can give you a better idea of which position is the best option for you.

 

7. Take a look at the bigger picture.

After you gather information about the different companies, it’s time to decide which job is the best option. Although salary and benefits might be the biggest factors, you need to pay attention to the smaller details. Regardless of how much an employer can pay you, if you don’t like the company’s culture or it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, then chances are you won’t be happy with the job.

 

You’ll never know when you’ll end up with multiple job offers during your job search. However, if this does happen to you, don’t let it catch you off guard. Be sure to consider all of the details and how they fit into the bigger picture. This is your job search and your career. Choose the path that’s best for your goals and you’ll be on your way to a rewarding career.

 

Have you had multiple job offers before? What helped you during the decision making process?

 

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

 

10 Skills that Baby Boomers can Learn from Gen Y

ID-100218414

While Generation Y is sometimes criticized for having a sense of entitlement and a less than stellar work ethic, this generation may bring more to their careers than you think. If you are part of the Baby Boomer generation, you might want to pay attention and take notes. Here are 10 skills that you could learn from Gen Y:

    1. Multi-tasking. Though you may be irked when you see a Gen Y-er downing her lunch while discussing social media trends via FaceTime[i] on her smartphone and simultaneously tapping away on her iPad, you should admire her ability to accomplish multiple tasks at the same time. As a baby boomer, you could try and do the same for a day. See if you are able to boost productivity and save time.
    2. Speaking of productivity . . . Gen Y doesn’t seem to experience ‘information overload’ since they don’t appear to feel it. They were typically brought up tapping away on a computer and using the Internet so it’s no big deal for them to crowdsource while making the most of social media sites, too. Combined with multi-tasking and working anywhere—like in coffee shops, home offices, or planes—productivity could make them vital team players.
    3. Connectivity. Gen Y is connected—whether on LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter. They often take social media to the next level and make the most of it by networking professionally. For example, they might send an invite to connect on LinkedIn right after introducing themselves to a new employee at a meeting.
    4. Reaching out. Gen Yers don’t seem to be intimidated when connecting with top executives in their company. While Baby Boomers might see these moves as brazen, Gen Y workers may view it as effective networking which could help their careers down the road.
    5. Job mobility. Baby Boomers may not feel comfortable with Gen Y and their job hopping. However, Gen Y doesn’t seem to view moving to the next employer negatively. Instead, they recognize that many people could be laid off without any forewarning and they take whatever opportunities present themselves to enhance their career skills.
    6. Smartphone love. Gen Y apparently loves smartphones. This tool is one which allows them them to multi-task while waiting at the doctor’s office or when they are standing in line to be seated at a restaurant. Multi-tasking may mean increased productivity since Gen Yers don’t seem to mind accessing the Internet at all hours or when they have a few spare minutes.
    7. Communication. Since Gen Y appears to have grown up on the Internet and is comfortable writing online, their communication skills may be more effective in reaching larger audiences. Baby Boomers could get more involved with online communication by beginning a blog and publishing their articles to their readers. This way, they may gain more practice writing for groups and become more comfortable receiving feedback in the form of comments on the blog site.
    8. Job resilience. Gen Y often makes the most of entrepreneurship to provide themselves with a job safety net. They might start a new business in their parents’ garages or their childhood bedrooms. They might view their careers as more than just paychecks and, by coming up with Plan Bs, they could be creating safety nets in case they get laid off unexpectedly.
    9. The environment. Gen Y seems more concerned about the environment. They could find it more important than a Baby Boomer to work in a green setting and in an office that incorporates green energy use.
    10. Diversity. Gen Y-ers appear to be more comfortable working with other people from different cultures and backgrounds than Baby Boomers. They do not appear as phased by fellow employees or clients with diverse ethnicities.

If you are a Baby Boomer, maybe it’s time to stop and take a hard look at how you could benefit from incorporating some of Gen Y’s helpful work practices into your own career. You may be surprised by positive results.

About the Author: Written by Mandy Fricke and edited by Laura Morrison. To learn more about online programs, click here.

Your List of Entry-Level Accounting and Finance Jobs for 2014: Part 1 of 3

Your List of Entry-Level Accounting and Finance Jobs for 2014

Another round of accounting and finance majors are set to secure their undergraduate diplomas in the coming weeks. Next up? Recent grads will either head to graduate school or start looking for a job. If you’re a soon-to-be graduate, in search of entry-level accounting and finance jobs, what type of position appeals to you?

The competition is stiff for new graduates, so having options doesn’t hurt. You may not get your dream job straight out of the gate, but getting experience to further your finance career will help you advance to top accounting and finance jobs down the road.

We’ve compiled a list of jobs for you to peruse, along with median income expectations from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ (BLS) most recent research.

In the first part of this three-part series, we will review jobs in accounting and those in the insurance sector. Parts two and three will cover jobs in finance, banking and other positions available in the private and public sectors.

Entry-Level Accounting Jobs

Graduates with 4-year accounting degrees are in demand and have a better chance of finding work than many other recent grads according to research from the University of California, San Diego. If you’re looking at options for entry-level accounting jobs, you might consider the following positions.

Accounts payable, accounts receivable clerk. These positions require little to no experience and many positions only require a high school diploma. If you’re looking for a position to help pay the bills until a better paying gig comes along or for a way to get your foot in the door at a prestigious company, consider an AP/AR job. Median Income: $34,030.

Accountant. A wide variety of accountant positions exist in private and public corporations as well as at government agencies. Possible job titles include accounting generalist, cost accountant, tax accountant, accounting manager, corporate controller, corporate accountant, certified public accountant (CPA) and more. Read this recent post for a detailed breakdown of entry-level accounting career options. Median Income: $61,690.

Auditor. The Wall Street meltdown was followed by a series of new regulatory and compliance requirements via the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts, meaning the government is keeping closer watch on how businesses handle money. This has lead to a rise in the number of auditor positions available across all industries and sectors. If reviewing financial statements and minding city, state and federal legislation intrigues you, consider a role as an auditor. Median Income: $61,690.

Entry-Level Insurance Jobs

Insurance is another industry sector that employs accounting and finance professionals. Job security is typically one of the perks for hard-working pros in the insurance industry. Along with a variety of financial analyst opportunities, consider these entry-level jobs if you’re interested in working in insurance.

Underwriter. Simply put, the insurance underwriter reviews actuarial findings to determine whether the insurance company should issue an insurance policy to an individual or organization. They also recommend insurance premiums based on the level of risk calculated for the proposed insured. Median Income: $59,290.

Actuary or actuarial analyst. Actuaries may work in other industry sectors, but are most often associated with insurance. If you enjoy making sense of large volumes of data and forecasting risk (of death, injury, illness, property loss, etc.) based on your research, a career as an actuary might be a good fit for you. Median Income: $87,650.

Part two of this series will cover entry-level finance and accounting jobs in finance and banking. We will close out the series in part 3, looking at others accounting and finance positions in the private and public sectors.

Ready to start your job search now? Visit Doostang’s website and sign up today – it just takes 30 seconds.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Resources:

“Occupational Outlook Handbook.” United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/. Accessed Nov. 29, 2013.

Entry-Level Finance Jobs: 5 Steps to Secure Your Future

Entry-Level Finance Jobs: 5 Steps to Secure Your Future

So you’ve landed your first job after graduation, and your finance career is preparing to launch, congratulations! Keep in mind that your first job is but one step toward a successful, long-term career in finance. Along with working hard on the job, you should take additional steps along the way to reach your goals.

1. Continue learning and achieving education toward additional degrees and/or certifications. Kudos to you for receiving your 4-year undergraduate degree, that’s one of the first steps that you need to take if you want to get ahead in the finance industry. But learning doesn’t stop with your first diploma.

Depending on which career path you’re traveling down, you will need additional coursework, degrees and certifications to advance to the top finance and accounting jobs. Want to secure that senior financial analyst gig? An MBA can help you get there. Is the certified public accountant (CPA) route in your future? Plan on studying for your CPA exam, now.

Interested in working in investments and selling securities? You’ll need to study for and pass your series 7 and 63 exams as required by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Other finance jobs require additional certifications, too, and FINRA has clearly established guidelines and regulations for professionals working in these roles . Your employer typically will sponsor you and have a process in place to help you to attain these goals.

2. Strive to get assignments on high-profile projects and with the top teams. If you want to stand out, you need to continually prove yourself as someone who contributes in a big way. Those are the people who put in the long hours and are resourceful. Learn everything you possibly can about your employer’s business.

Do your research and find out what you can do to position yourself as a change maker who can get things done and contribute to the bottom line. Keep your ears open, ask questions and try to spend time with influencers so you hear about the hot projects or assignments first. That way you can raise your hand when teams are set up or assignments are dealt.

3. Build a strong digital presence and be visible online. It’s smart to make your mark at the organization where you start out, because it might put you in line for promotion. But if you plan to seek out opportunities with different companies in town or across the nation, you need to promote your personal brand online.

Take the time to develop a robust profile on LinkedIn and join groups for finance professionals. Post content, comment on group discussions and connect with people who work at companies you would like to associate with. Combine this with a professional Twitter profile and take part in online forums and discussions about the finance industry regularly. Just be visible. This is also a good time to clean up your digital profiles so your past life doesn’t come back to haunt you (you know those pictures we’re talking about).

4. Attend finance industry networking events on a regular basis. While what you know can help you get your foot in the door early in your finance career, it’s who you know that will help get you a promotion or a better job somewhere else.

Build your network of professional relationships outside of the office by attending networking events and volunteering to organize or help out at future get-togethers or charitable activities. Networking groups provide an excellent opportunity to meet new people in the finance industry and stay on top of the latest news.

5. Don’t burn bridges. Even some of the best and brightest people have been fired or left positions on “not the best of terms” – do the names Steve Jobs, mayor Michael Bloomberg or super bowl winning coach Bill Belichick ring a bell? Losing a job can happen to anyone. And just about everyone has dealt with some backstabbing at the office.

Take the high road and know that everything isn’t always going to come up daisies or go your way. If you have a negative experience with a company or individual, try to suck it up, keep any vitriol to yourself and move on. The pain will ease over time, and your grace under duress will impress.

Remembering the Golden Rule doesn’t hurt either. Treating everyone the way you would like to be treated is never a bad idea. The person you do a bad turn to today, may be the person who decides whether you get hired, fired or passed over tomorrow.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Resources:

FINRA Registration and Examination Requirements. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority website. Available at http://www.finra.org/industry/compliance/registration/qualificationsexams/qualifications/p011051. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.

Hedge Fund Jobs: 10 Personality Traits You Need to Succeed

Hedge Fund Jobs: 10 Personality Traits You Need to Succeed

If your goal is to make a top salary in the world of finance, a successful career in hedge funds might be in your sites. The pay-offs can be big, even for entry-level financial analyst jobs with a hedge fund. According to the 2014 Glocap Hedge Fund Compensation report released in late October, entry-level analysts at mid-performing hedge funds were looking at annual compensation somewhere in the neighborhood of $330,000 in 2013.1

Top hedge fund managers are “notorious” for taking home millions of dollars. According to Glocap, average salaries for portfolio managers were coming in at $2.2 million.1 Sign me up you say? Well, even getting entry-level finance jobs with a hedge fund isn’t easy, and becoming one of the top hedge fund managers is even more difficult.

You need to master the art of consistently managing hedge funds well, which means you know how to reduce risks (hedging) while gaining a sizeable return for your investors. No easy task.

Tenacity and Experience Are Required

If you want to get your foot in the door, you will need to immerse yourself in the hedge fund world by doing your research about the industry, the key players and the funds you are interested in pursuing (including the sectors they specialize in and strategies they use).

Two to three years of prior experience through internships, work at other types of finance firms or hedge fund service companies (experience with prime brokerage, risk management or hedge fund administration) can help you make contacts and get the experience hedge fund recruiters are looking for in an entry-level candidate.2

It also takes a special breed to succeed in the hedge fund game. Think you have what it takes to make it? The following personality traits are common among people who succeed at hedge fund careers (as well as many other finance careers).2,3

1. Competitive. Do you have an ongoing desire to outpace and outperform your competition?

2. Can handle high stress levels. Do you thrive under pressure instead of curling up in a ball.

3. Self-disciplined. Can you get the job done without someone looking over your shoulder?

4. Analytical, number cruncher. Can you review enormous volumes of data and make sense of it easily?

5. Quick on your feet. Are you able to make fast and accurate decisions without getting flustered?

6. People person. Can you hack the grind of networking so you can make connections and get ahead?

7. Focused and flexible. Does switching gears multiples times a minute, hour, day … not throw you for a loop?

8. Concise. Can you effectively make your point in a few short sentences?

9. Passionate about work. Do you go all-in when you get a job and seek to learn everything you possibly can about it?

10. Goal oriented. Do deadlines and the opportunity to earn a big paycheck keep you at the front of the pack?

As with most finance careers, getting ahead in the hedge fund industry takes time and a dedication to growing your professional network. Use top financial sites such as Doostang’s to search for hedge fund jobs in your city of choice, apply online then reach out to your contacts to see who has connections at the funds where you have applied. This can help improve your odds of getting an interview.

Resources:

1. Holliday, K. “Hedge Funds: This industry has an entry level salary of $335,000.” CNBC website; Nov. 1, 2013. Available at http://www.cnbc.com/id/101161993. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.

2. Wilson, R. “10 Steps to a Career in Hedge Funds.” Investopedia website; July 8, 2013. Available at http://www.investopedia.com/articles/financialcareers/08/hedge-fund-career.asp. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.

3. Adams, S. “How to Get a Job at a Hedge Fund.” Forbes website; July 23, 2013. Available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/07/23/how-to-get-a-job-at-a-hedge-fund-3/. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.