Why Your Resume Won’t Get You Hired

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You have been working very hard at your resume and cover letter, posting them online and mailing them out. Yet nothing is happening for you. There have been no phone calls to request interviews; not even a phone interview. You realize the economy is not 100%, but it’s not that bad.

You really are qualified and your experience is extensive. Why are you getting passed over and not getting hired? You have excellent performance appraisals and recommendations. All of this is on your resume. Where is the disconnect?

What’s Wrong With My Resume?

  • Outlandish Objectives

Most professional resume writers would tell you not to include an objective at all. If you need to put something at the top of the page, make it an overview of your skills. Don’t write an objective that sounds like you can walk on water and solve every problem a company might have. Don’t use code words like ‘seasoned professional’. Everyone knows that means you have been in the workforce a long time. Don’t make it sound like you will just be using this job to get to the next one.

  • Experience that is Irrelevant

Do not list jobs that have no relevance to where you are in your career now. Do not list part time jobs unless you have never worked full time. Unless you are applying for an entry level position don’t list your high school job at McDonalds.

  • Faux Achievements

Achievements are important, really important. However, they need to be real and they need to be relevant. If you won the Betty Crocker Homemaker Award in high school, it is not relevant. If you won an honors scholarship in college that may be relevant. However, it is not relevant if you have been out of college and in the workforce for 20 years.

Relevant achievements are the money you saved your company last year. Don’t say “I saved money.”  Instead say, “Cut department’s expenses by 34% , saving the company over $50,000 in 2013.” These are the kind of achievements you want on your resume.

  • Pictures

Some people are advocating putting a picture of yourself on your resume. This is a very European thing to do and most American hiring managers will either not care or be put off by it. Play it safe. No pictures on your resume.

  • Personal Stuff

Don’t put any personal information on your resume. Don’t say you are married or divorced. Don’t say you have 3 children. Religion, political affiliation, or anything else that is purely personal does not belong on your resume and could be held against you. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate based on most of these things. That is why they will not ask you about them in the interview. Don’t volunteer the information.

  • Inappropriate Email Address

You do want to list an email address where the company can contact you. However, if the only email address you have is partynow@partydown.com, then get a new one. Use a Gmail or Yahoo address with your name or initials. Make it professional. This one item at the very top of your resume might be the one thing that costs you an interview.

  • Negative Comments and Stressing Weakness

Don’t offer negative comments or stress your own weaknesses. Don’t point out gaps in your employments unless you can explain them. Don’t ever state that you were fired from a job. Never make negative comments about a previous company or a previous boss.

Avoid these mistakes that will keep you from being hired.

About the Author: Gerald Buck is the editor of ejobapplications.com, a site offering job applications and resourceful information. He is passionate in providing advice to those seeking job opportunities.

Major Resume Myths

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1) Your Resume Can Only Be One Page

This is amongst the most common and hard to break myths surrounding resumes. The contemporary job applicant is dealing with filtering systems and various other unique technological advancements that were not in play within the recruitment field even 5 years ago. These variables have a direct impact on the response to this inquiry.

Resumes should be condensed and focused solely on key information that is from a relevant time span (ie. 10-15 years of recent experience). With that noted,resumes can absolutely expand beyond 1 page. From entry-level to C-level professionals, some applicants simply have too much information to effectively condense without hindering representation of their background. Additionally, inclusion of added content allows applicants to better optimize their document for Applicant Tracking Systems. Finally, certain industries, such as federal/government capacities, require more in-depth responses. For these reasons, 1-2 pages is now considered the standard amongst all recruiters.

2) Nobody Will Read Your Resume

While filtering systems are a reality of the contemporary workplace, simply filling a resume with keyword-optimized content isn’t doing an applicant any favors in the long run. Ensuring cohesive and seamless integration of keywords with professionally crafted content helps in all stages of recruitment, not just the earlier ones.

Make sure your resume passes the human test.

3) Your Resume Should Be Exhaustive

This is very common and one of the unfortunate mistakes made by the average applicant. Resumes are not intended to be exhaustive lists of past work experience. Instead, they should focus on the most 10-15 recent years of employment. Skills and accomplishments maintained during this time frame carry more significance for recruiters. Those are the positions that should command the most real estate on one’s resume, rather than referring to an older position over 15 years in age.

4) Your Resume Should Have an Objective Statement

Despite what may have been standard with past template-based resumes, objectives no longer have a place in the contemporary resume. Recruiters manage such a high volume of orders that they needn’t be told what the applicant is looking for in an employer. The recruiters want to know how you can benefit their company. Opt for a career summary, highlight achievements, and use this section to sell applicable skills.

About the Author: Sebastian King is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches and a Doostang Resume Expert.

 

How to Disclose Salary Requirements in a Cover Letter

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In a game of poker, showing your cards to your opponents would put you at a great disadvantage. No surprise, then, that when an employer asks you to list your salary requirements in a cover letter, you feel a tad vulnerable.

But there is a simple logic behind this standard request: If you require compensation far beyond what a company is prepared to pay for the position, it doesn’t want to waste its time—or yours—going through the interview process. So if you’re asked for salary requirements, especially if applications without them won’t be considered, it’s time to tip your hand.

BENCHMARK
Websites like Salary.com and Glassdoor can show you what you can expect to earn based on your industry, location, skill set, and experience. If you have industry contacts, inquire what entry-level employees typically make. Or go straight to the source, says Ellen Gordon Reeves, author of Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview? “You can call the HR department of a company and simply say, ‘I saw a job advertised at your company and I’m wondering what the entry-level salary is for this department.’”

SET A RANGE
Your benchmarking should help you determine a bottom line—the absolute minimum you’ll accept. But rather than a single figure, present your requirements in a ten-thousand-dollar range. This increases the chances that your expectations and the employer’s budget will overlap and gives you some room to negotiate later on. Reeves suggests writing, “My salary requirements are in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, depending on the type and scope of responsibilities.”

WIGGLE ROOM
Unless the employer is feeling generous, you’ll probably be offered a salary on the low end of your range. But you still have some wiggle room. Salary is only one part of an employer’s offer; employee benefits also carry a lot of weight, and can be used as leverage. If you feel the salary is on the low side given the responsibilities of the position, it can’t hurt to bluff a bit and say that you expected more comprehensive employee benefits and will need a higher salary to offset this.

Why Recruitment Software Doesn’t Pick the Top Candidates

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Recruitment software and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are must-haves in today’s recruitment world. We rely on technology to increase efficiency in nearly all other aspects of our lives, so it only makes sense that we now have software to automate recruitment tracking by handling job applications and resumes electronically.

Using an online recruitment system or ATS allows companies to better organize and streamline the hiring process. But while recruitment software is designed to help save time, reduce errors and ensure proper tracking, it is still unable to perform the single most critical part of the hiring process — picking the top candidate. Technology can only take us so far. In the end, the hiring process will always require a human element to pull the most qualified candidate from a stack of applications.

Email applications still carry an advantage over recruitment software and ATS. They require personal interaction from both sides throughout the entire hiring process. While accepting email applications requires additional time and organization from the employer, in the end, it helps you to more easily pick the top candidate for the job. Employers and candidates alike should take note of the following limitations of recruitment software and ATS:

They act as a funnel

Each new job posting will trigger an average of 1,000 resumes submitted. That is a staggering amount of paperwork, especially if you’re hiring for multiple positions at any particular time.

Recruitment software and ATS act like a funnel, taking in a large amount of applications in the beginning, but quickly narrowing them down to a mere few. This may sound great, but the limitation lies in the software’s ability to accurately determine what qualities and soft skills would make a candidate the best suited for the job. As a result, you end up eliminating qualified applicants who may not have used the exact words or descriptions the system was looking for, sending good talent right out the door.

They force candidates into boxes

People aren’t made to fit inside boxes, and their resumes don’t translate well into such rigid form fields, either. An online recruitment system breaks down the information on an application and organizes it into different “buckets.” If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t get recorded, and it is never seen by the employer for consideration.

Sometimes the most unexpected information on a resume is the hidden gem that really makes a candidate stand out. For example, maybe a candidate is a certified yoga instructor or holds a national title in chess, but they’re applying for a marketing job. Holding a title in chess displays critical thinking skills, and being a yoga instructor shows the candidate works well with others. But if ATS don’t know to look for these words and identify them as valuable skill sets, they’re sure to be overlooked. One of the most important components to bring to the hiring process is an open mind. ATS do quite the opposite. They use a set of blinders to only focus on the exact keywords that have been pre-established.

They lack the human element

Many of the limitations of online recruitment system is is lack of human interaction. Nearly three-quarters of resumes will never be seen by human eyes.

In order to choose the best person for the job, candidates need to be evaluated much more personally. This is yet another reason why recruitment technology will never be able to fully replace the human element within the hiring process. A computer will tell you who looks best on paper, but only you can decide who possesses the interpersonal skills and personality that makes them the right fit for your company.

They encourage candidates to play the system

When it comes to applying for a new position, the emphasis has shifted. Candidates now want to know how to carefully craft an application that avoids recruitment software and ATS pitfalls. Learning how to “play the system” has taken precedence over simply submitting the most positive, honest representation of yourself.

Worse yet, ATS reward such tactics by bumping candidates with phony, keyword-laden resumes to the top of the stack, regardless of whether they are truly the most qualified. This is yet one more reason why recruitment software doesn’t pick the top candidate.

They discourage great candidates from applying

We can’t overlook the limitations of recruitment software and ATS that so many companies rely on for their hiring process. Sure, they make accepting and sorting applications a breeze, but
picking the top candidate is a subjective decision that no amount of technology can accurately automate. This will always remain up to the employer. Hopeful applicants should also be concerned with these limitations, as they affect whether their resume ever makes it before human eyes.

In the HR world, the hands-on approach still proves to be the most accurate. Stay involved in the hiring process and don’t rely on recruitment software to make one of the most critical decisions for your company!

What do you think? What limitations have you experienced using an online recruitment system as either an employer or a candidate?


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.

How to Clean Up Your Disorganized Resume

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Your resume is the first glimpse into who you are as a candidate. A well-organized resume may show a potential employer that you’re on top of your work, have the right skills, and know what you want. Disorganized resumes tell a very different story.

Here’s the deal: On average, hiring leaders spend about six seconds reviewing each resume — and that’s if you’re lucky enough to get past barriers to entry like applicant tracking systems. Those valuable seconds are crucial to your job search; they can make or break your chances. What are you doing to declutter your resume?

Resume writing can be a daunting task for candidates of any experience level. Here are some key ways to freshen up your resume in order to make a great first impression:

Create a great design

When a hiring leader is faced with tons of resumes, one that’s well-designed can stand out among the rest. Boring templates not only make you look outdated, they may also reflect badly on you as a professional. Those who create well-designed resumes have clearly taken the extra steps to stand out. If you haven’t, you may come off as lazy or OK with putting in the least amount of effort.

Tip: Add personal touches such as a logo, use of subtle color, or an interesting (but readable) font in your resume. Use this theme in additional application materials to show continuity and a dedication to really solidifying your personal brand.

Get rid of the objective statement

If you still have an object statement in your resume, you’re living in the past. Objective statements usually state you’re interested in the position because of your qualifications or accomplishments. Well, that’s obvious if you’re applying for the job, especially if you illustrate as such in your resume. Resume writing should not involve objective statements. Get rid of them and save yourself some valuable resume space!

Tip: Instead of relying on an objective statement, make your case in long-form in your cover letter. You can also consider including a professional summary on your resume explaining the value you’ll bring if hired.

Put the important stuff first

Employers should see the most important information first. For example, while you should list your education or volunteer experience, your relevant experience holds a higher priority. Every industry is different, but many hiring leaders look for information in the following order: Contact information, experience, education history, and then skills. You also can list professional organization affiliation towards the end of your resume or as you deem fitting in your experience.

Tip: While some may advise you to include an “accomplishment” section, you can easily weave this information into your experience. Remember: Hiring leaders only have a short amount of time. Limiting the amount of content and avoiding repetition can work out in your favor.

Use numbers

At the end of the day, a hiring leader wants to see what you can do for them. Quantitative elements show results in black-and-white. For example, if you increased the amount of clients your company received or nabbed your company a few awards, note them and detail your involvement in the process.

Tip: Use cause and effect style wording in your resume writing. For example: “Managed the complete overhaul of the company website, which increased page views by 10 percent.”

Limit your resume to one page 

You may have a ton of relevant experience. However, this doesn’t mean you have to list it all. Not everything you’ve done is relatable to every job. Plus, employers often don’t have time to read resumes that are more than a page. While I know it can be tough to cut out the important stuff, one-page resumes are what most employers are looking for.

Tip: If you have lots of relevant experience, redirect the employer to your website or LinkedIn profile, where you can house additional information.

While resume writing can be a challenge, a few tweaks will ensure you declutter your content and nab the opportunities you’re looking for. Use the above tips to remove the clutter and better organize your resume.

What do you think? What are some ways to clean up your disorganized resume? What sorts of resume writing have you found to be the most beneficial?

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.

How To Make Yourself Stand Out For A Competitive Job

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the financial industry sector is expected to see dramatic rises in employment by the year 2022.  The securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities sector, a relatively small portion of the overall industry, is expected to see more than a 20% increase in employment. Comparable advances are expected in many of the other sectors as well. Even with this growth, the competition for desirable jobs still remains fierce. With that in mind, what can a current student or recent graduate do to improve their chances of landing that dream job in the financial sector?

Building The Foundation

To successfully build a career, laying a firm foundation is crucial. This foundation building includes:

-Taking the right courses

-Adding proper experience to your resume

-Making the right connections

Set Education Goals

For current and future students, explore the job market for the industry sector you want to join and adjust your curriculum to include courses that will be of value to employers, not just now but in the future as well. This requires examining current trends towards new technologies and software being used in the industry as well as developing a knowledge of available certifications and skill sets that are sought after by employers. By creating a curriculum that includes these trending skills and certifications, you add appeal to your resume.

Gaining Experience

After setting educational goals, your next step should be adding some work experience to your resume. This has been the bane of many new graduates. Every employer wants to hire someone with experience but how can you get experience if no one will hire you?

To get the experience you need to stand out among the throngs of other qualified applicants, you must become resourceful. Look into the possibility of internships, job shadowing and other resources that will provide actual hands-on experience in your chosen field. That unpaid summer internship program or leadership conference might cost you a bit of time and money now but the experience gained from these sources adds some real value to your resume.

Get Connected

The third, and perhaps most important, point in building your career’s foundation is creating the right connections. Whether you choose the old fashioned meet and greet method or opt to go online through social media, the connections you make can deliver some very rich rewards. Connections made through joining professional organizations, people you met during internships and conferences or those you met through a digital platform such as LinkedIn can help you get your foot in the door with competitive companies. Even the most seemingly insignificant connection may be your link to the CEO of that Fortune 500 company you want to work for.

If you are just a faceless resume among hundreds or thousands of other faceless resumes, it is hard to get that dream companies attention and  the call for an interview. When you lay out a solid foundation for the career you want, it becomes much easier to stand out in the crowd and get noticed.

 

How do you get noticed?  What are you doing to build the resume for the career you want? What techniques have worked for you? Leave a comment and share your thoughts 

 

About the Author: Gerald Buck is the editor of ejobapplications.com, a site offering job applications and resourceful information. He is passionate in providing advice to those seeking job opportunities.

 

Cover Letter Tips: I-Banking

 

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Are you looking for a job in Investment Banking? In addition to a great resume, you’ll need a strong cover letter to stand out from your competition.  Careful choice of words, tone and aesthetics are essential to creating an outstanding cover letter.

THE “WRITE” STUFF

Because firms may use cover letters to evaluate writing ability, make sure your grammar is flawless and you’ve spelled all names correctly. As with your resume, proofread for typos.

LOOKIN’ GOOD

To increase the professional look of your application, use the same paper, contact information, header, and font style in both your cover letter and resume. It’s also acceptable-and often encouraged-to email applications. Don’t let the informality of email change the way you put your documents together.

A WELL-TUNED TONE

The tone of your cover letter should be professional and persuasive. Banking recruiters tell us they want letters that show candidates to be aggressive and knowledgeable. Use concise sentences and be direct.

At the same time, inject plenty of enthusiasm and genuine interest into your letter.

COVER LETTER INGREDIENTS

There are two basic types of cover letters: those responding to a specific job opening and those serving as letters of introduction. The latter is sometimes called a broadcast letter, and it can lead to opportunities where no job opening presently exists. Broadcast letters can play a more important role than those responding to specific openings or required for on-campus recruiting.

While your cover letters should follow a basic structure, don’t write a form letter. Develop an outline. Then write a clear, concise, and well thought-out summary that shows you offer exactly what an investment bank needs.

THE BASIC COVER LETTER FORMAT

When it comes to cover letters, you can follow a general outline. You can vary your approach to suit each position, industry and employer.

Every cover letter should include:

. Your contact information

. Date

. Employer’s contact information

. Paragraph 1-introduction (reason for writing)

. Paragraph 2-what you offer them

. Paragraph 3-what happens next

[Photo Source: Businessweek]

Resume Checklist for Recent Graduates

Your Resume Checklist

Ah, the resume: one piece of paper, such enormous power over your future. On the surface, a resume is simply a list of qualifications for a position. But to stand out from the crowd and score face time with recruiters, it should serve as a strategic marketing tool that screams, “I am perfect for this job!”

Creating an effective resume can be a daunting task, especially for entry-level candidates with little to no full-time experience to flaunt. But have no fear: Armed with the following checklist, you can learn to make the most of your one-page pitch and enter the running for the positions you want.

TRY A FUNCTIONAL FORMAT.There are three key elements to every resume-contact information, education, and experience-and many ways to organize them. Although the chronological format is most common, a functional format, which lists skills above places of employment, is perfect for job seekers with little work history.

GO EASY ON THE EYES. Use bullets and bolding to make your resume easy for recruiters to scan. Just don’t go overboard: Keep the formatting consistent and bulleted sentences concise.

PLAY UP YOUR STRENGTHS. Make your most impressive accomplishments the most prominent. If your volunteer work required or led you to gather more relevant skills and accomplishments than your part-time job, put “Volunteer Experience” before “Work Experience.”

INCLUDE ALL RELEVANT EXPERIENCE. Paid jobs and internships aren’t the only way to gain skills. Courses, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and interests all count as qualifications-as long as you include the relevant skills you picked up.

SHOW, DON’T TELL. It’s one thing to say you gained excellent marketing skills as a club coordinator; it’s another to prove it by saying you increased the club’s attendance by 10 percent. Always include numbers and tangible accomplishments to back up your work.

KEEP IT SIMPLE. When it comes to formatting and word usage, basic is best. Use action verbs when possible (“organized files” is better than “kept files organized”), and don’t use flowery language where simple terms would suffice.

TAILOR, TAILOR, TAILOR. Mass-mailing one resume may be easy, but real results come with customization. Create a master resume listing everything you’ve ever done, then pick and choose what to put on each individual resume and adapt the language to fit the job requirements. This can also help keep your resume to one page.

PROOFREAD. This seems like a no-brainer, but applicants often forget it. Read for typos, misspellings, and wordiness. Also be sure to use active voice (“answered telephones” instead of “telephones were answered”) and consistent tenses.

CONSULT THE EXPERTS. In addition to proofreading, take advantage of your school’s career center and any adult contacts willing to review your resume and provide advice. Additionally, you can consider hiring a Professional Resume Writer to get your resume in shape.

LIVE IN THE DIGITAL AGE. You will likely need to submit your resume several ways online. To avoid headaches, save four copies: a PDF and Word doc for attachments, formatted plain text for the body of emails, and unformatted plain text for online submission forms.

Applying for Entry-Level Finance Jobs? Increase Your Odds with These 8 Tips

Applying for Entry-Level Finance Jobs? Increase Your Odds with These 8 Tips

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:

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Resources:

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.

Financial Analyst Jobs: Getting Hired With or Without an MBA

Financial Analyst Jobs: Getting Hired With or Without an MBA

If you’re passionate about making it to the top in the world of finance, securing a financial analyst job is one of the best places to start. And when it comes to entry-level finance jobs, analyst positions pay a decent wage straight out of college. You can expect to earn about $75,000 per year according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

So what does it take to get hired as a financial analyst?

Education. Education. Education.

It all starts with a solid undergraduate degree from a top university. Depending on the industry or sector you prefer, your undergrad studies should include coursework in economics (macro and micro), business principles, accounting and mathematics. For certain specialty analyst positions, a degree in law, engineering, agriculture, physics, biology or computer sciences might be preferred.

If you’re hoping to be considered for senior financial analyst jobs, an MBA is usually required as well. In fact many firms will hire an MBA from one of the top tier business schools for a senior analyst position right after graduation.

Candidates with undergraduate degrees will typically need to work their way to the top, but will be considered for junior analyst positions if they:

- Can get an interview – stellar cover letter and resume required.

- Have great grades.

- Attended a top 20 undergraduate university.

- Have experience that relates closely to the position.

- Can demonstrate passion for the finance industry.

- Know the history, goals and other ins and outs of the company where they are interviewing.

- Make a great impression and successfully answer top interview questions.

Do I have to get an MBA to rise through the ranks?

Obtaining additional certifications and licenses may help you land a senior financial analyst position. So if you haven’t obtained your MBA, consider participating in a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) program and work toward passing the Series 7 and 63 exams.

The CFA® program focuses specifically on investment knowledge vs. the broad range of topics covered by most graduate school programs. Since it is offered in a self-study format, you can work toward obtaining the charter while you’re completing your undergrad education or if you’re already working.

The Series 7 and 63 licenses are required if you want to sell or take orders for investment securities. FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) manages the testing and requires that a financial securities firm sponsor the applicants.

The Series 7 exam is extensive – 250 questions – and covers investment securities, handling customer accounts and customer financial evaluation. The Series 63 exam pertains to the uniform state securities laws, and allows a representative to work in a specific state.

Earning a CFA® and preparing to pass the Series 7 and 63 exams takes time and hours of intensive studying. In other words, you have to know your stuff. Adding a CFA® or Series 7 and 63 license to your resume can help you advance your career and get hired for a senior analyst position, but not at every firm – many still only hire MBAs.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Sources:

“Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Financial Analysts.” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm. Accessed Nov. 13, 2013.

“CFA® Program.” CFA Institute website. Available at http://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfaprogram/Pages/index.aspx. Accessed Nov. 13, 2013.

FINRA Registration and Examination Requirements. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority website. Available at http://www.finra.org/industry/compliance/registration/qualificationsexams/qualifications/p011051. Accessed Nov. 13, 2013.