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.

 

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 3 of 3

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 3 of 3

Question Category: Technical Competence

This is the third in a series of posts about how to best answer interview questions for financial analyst jobs, based on question categories: Education and Work Experience; Goals and Company Knowledge; and Technical Competence.

In the first two posts of this series, we discussed financial analyst interview questions you should expect to tackle in the categories of Education and Work Experience (part one) and Goals and Company Knowledge (part two). To wrap up the series, we will conclude with the category of Technical Competence.

As we mentioned in the earlier posts, interview preparation is key if you want to stand out as the best candidate for the job and advance your finance career. A seasoned interviewer will notice immediately if you are not prepared. Whether you are applying for an entry-level finance position or have a few years of work experience under you belt, do your homework.

Here are some of the questions regarding technical competence that you could face during your interview, along with some tips on how to approach them.

Technical Competence Questions

The interviewer will ask specific questions pertaining to finance terms, methodologies and your industry knowledge. Further, he or she will want to hear how your past experience (work experience, course work, industry involvement, etc.) has prepared you for the job duties at hand and which tools you have used. Some potential questions may include:

General Finance Questions

- What is EBITDA and how does it figure into revenues?

- What is a DCF analysis and can you walk me through how it works?

- What is EVA and in what scenarios would you use it?

- How do you define cash flow?

- What steps would you take to determine a company’s cash flow?

- When would you use a ratio analysis?

- How would you define present value analysis?

- What is a capital market and how does the concept apply to our clientele?

- What methods would you use to value a company?

- Can you explain in which scenarios you would use marginal costing, standard costing and activity-based costing?

- Which profitability models do you find the most accurate for forecasting?

- What impact can accounts receivable and inventory levels have on an income statement?

Questions Regarding Your Experience

- What quantitative coursework did you complete in college?

- Can you describe in detail a case study you completed in school, how you approached it and how the results would inform how you would approach this job?

- What software programs have you used for financial analysis?

- What types of charts and reports are you comfortable creating?

- Can you share a scenario (course work or real) where a company’s credit risk figured prominently into a financial analysis you performed?

- What stocks do you follow and why?

- Can you explain a financial analysis recommendation that you later regretted and what you learned from the experience?

- On a scale from one to 10, how would you rate your technical writing ability?

The interviewer is trying to: find out if you are well-versed in key financial terms and methodologies; learn how much experience you have making financial analysis decisions based on quantifiable tools and theories; get a grasp on how you approach a project; and determine how capable you are at formulating a recommendation based on the data and intelligence you uncover.

Prepare yourself for this series of questions by doing a thorough review of your past course work, case studies and job experience – essentially take a walk down memory lane. Refresh your knowledge of the different skills and methodologies you used, and think about how they would apply to the type of financial recommendations you would need to make if this specific company hired you.

The job description will help you focus in on the areas of expertise that the interviewer is hoping to find in a candidate, so review it closely and be prepared to address how you can excel at handling the specific duties and objectives listed.

There is no doubt that you will encounter a number of questions in your financial analyst interview that we didn’t cover in this series of posts. As we’ve said throughout, if you take the time in preparing for an interview and research the top companies on your list, you can increase your odds of standing out in this competitive job market.

Doostang strives to offer helpful insight here on our blog and offers a number of other great tools for recent finance grads and MBAs. Visit our website to learn more and search for the top financial analyst jobs, today.

Photo source: Shutterstock:

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 2 of 3

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 2 of 3

Question Categories: Goals and Company Knowledge

This is the second in a series of posts about how to best answer interview questions for financial analyst jobs, based on question categories: Education and Work Experience; Goals and Company Knowledge; and Technical Competence.

In the first post of this series we discussed how to answer financial analyst interview questions based on the categories Education and Work Experience. As with the first post, we’ll share some of the questions you might expect in the categories of Goals and Company Knowledge, along some tips on how to approach the answers so you make a great impression.

As we mentioned last time, if you want to make it past the first interview, you must take time in preparing for an interview and practice answering frequently asked interview questions. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will feel. So do the prep work and practice hard if you want to stand out.

Interview Questions to Expect by Category

Here are some of the questions you will likely be asked during your interview, along with some tips on how to approach questions about your goals and your company knowledge.

Goal Questions

The interviewer will ask questions about your finance career goals as they pertain to the financial analyst position you are trying to secure, as well as your goals for the future. Some potential questions may include:

- What are your short- and long-term goals in this financial analyst position?

- Where do you hope your finance career takes you in the next five years?

- How much money do you expect to earn in the next five years and 10 years?

- How can your personal career goals help our company achieve its goals?

The interviewer is trying to determine if you are a good fit for their organization based on where you are today and where you intend to be five and 10 years from now. The type of work you hope to do as well as the amount of money you hope to earn should align with what the position in question allows. He or she is also trying to learn how much you know about the company’s goals (more about this in the next section) and if your experience and desire will benefit the company.

Prepare yourself for this series of questions by researching the roles of the financial analysts who currently work at the company. Try to speak with someone who works at the organization and has an understanding of the financial analyst roles, goals and responsibilities to gain some insight. Otherwise review the job description closely, and tailor your answers to align with the duties outlined there.

You can also review the profiles of financial analysts who work at the firm (now or in the past) on LinkedIn to see if there are any consistencies across backgrounds and experience, and highlight any of those qualities that you also offer. Earnings information is pretty easily found online or through word of mouth.

Company Knowledge Questions

The interviewer will ask you questions that are specific to the company to which you are applying. Topics can range from specific stats and history to how your background aligns with the organization’s goals. Some potential questions may include:

- Why did you apply for a position with this organization?

- Why would you like to work for us?

- Can you tell me what you know about our company?

- What qualities do you have that make you a better hire for our company than your competition?

- What experience or knowledge do you bring to the table that will help our company improve or grow?

- What challenges do you expect to experience in this company’s financial analyst role?

The interviewer is trying to find out if you did your homework and took the time to research their organization. They are looking for people who will be passionate not only about the finance industry but the firm in particular. If you don’t show any specific knowledge about the company, its history, goals and challenges, the interviewer will likely write you off. And if you can’t show how you can contribute to the organization’s bottom line, consider that another strike against you.

Prepare for this series of questions by doing some good, solid research about the company and try to answer each of the aforementioned questions specifically. Read the company website from top to bottom, and look for the latest news about the organization and its key players online. Again, arranging to talk with people who work with the firm can really give you an edge. Do your homework.

You can read part one of the series here. Next up? We will address questions about your Technical Competence.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 1 of 3

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 1 of 3

Question Categories: Education and Work Experience

This is the first in a series of posts about how to best answer interview questions for financial analyst jobs, based on question categories: Education and Work Experience; Goals and Company Knowledge; and Technical Competence.

According to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 236,000 financial analyst jobs in 2010 in the U.S. The job outlook for those seeking positions as financial analysts is also promising, as BLS estimates there will be 23 percent more financial analyst jobs (54,200 positions) from 2010 to 2020.

While this all sounds great, you will still have to contend with stiff competition if you’re looking for a financial analyst position with one of the top Wall Street firms or in a niche industry where there are fewer desirable jobs available. Acing your financial analyst interview is a must if you want to come out on top. And in order to succeed, you must take time in preparing for an interview and practice answering frequently asked interview questions.

Interview Questions to Expect by Category

Here are some of the questions you will likely be asked during your interview, along with some tips on how to approach questions about your education and work experience.

Education Questions

The interviewer will ask you questions about your education, how you spent your time in college and why you chose to focus on finance. Some potential questions include:

- Why did you choose to major in finance (or related degree)?

- When did you know that finance was the right career path for you (and why)?

- How did you spend your time outside of the classroom during college (what did you do for fun, what extracurricular activities did you choose)?

The interviewer is trying to find out if you have a passion for the finance industry. They don’t want to hear about the parties you attended, so if you can tailor your answers to experiences that tie into finance-related activities, you’ll be set to impress – as long as your responses are genuine.

Prepare yourself for this series of questions by asking yourself how your interest for a career in finance revealed itself (a job, a class, a competition, an article, exposure to a thought leader, a game, etc.) to you and how you chose coursework, study groups, finance competitions and the like to enhance your knowledge and feed your passion for the world of finance.

Work Experience Questions

The interviewer will focus on your resume and ask questions about past jobs in general, other entry-level finance jobs, volunteer work, etc. Some potential questions may include:

- Of the jobs listed on your resume, in which position did you feel the most pressure and why? How did you deal with the pressure?

- Tell me about a scenario where you made a mistake or missed an important deadline and how you dealt with it.

- What was the biggest challenge you overcame in a past job and how did you resolve it?

- Which on-the-job duties or experiences have frustrated you the most?

- Why did you leave your last position?

The interviewer is trying to assess your attitude toward the job at hand and what skills you use to overcome challenges.

Prepare yourself for this series of questions by making a list of the key challenges you faced in your work life to date, then think about situations where you can share a positive outcome.

It’s OK to admit that you faced some tough challenges, and even made a small mistake. You just need to show how you turned things around quickly and what skills you learned from the experience.

Most of all, the interviewer is trying to see if you can handle the pressure and do so with a positive attitude. Avoid talking about negative experiences, unless you can show how you turned that negative into a positive.

In part two of this series, we will take on the categories of Goals and Company Knowledge.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Resources:

“Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Financial Analysts.” Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm. Accessed   Nov. 5, 2013.

How to Write a Cover Letter for Entry-Level Finance Jobs, Part 2 of 2: Include the Right Stuff

How to Write a Cover Letter for Entry-Level Finance Jobs, Part 2 of 2: Include the Right Stuff

If you will be applying for entry-level finance jobs or finance or accounting internships in the near future, you should include a cover letter with your application and resume. As we mentioned in part one of this two-part post, writing a cover letter isn’t exactly brain surgery, but it’s important to do some solid research about the companies you are targeting, present the letter in an appropriate style and include a few key items to make a good impression.

In the second installment of this two-part post, we’ll discuss the presentation and content of your finance job cover letter.

If you’re applying for an internship or entry-level position in finance or accounting, your cover letter and resume should be professional in tone. As with any type of career, you need to present yourself in a fashion that reflects the industry you are pursuing.

The finance industry and the people who work for finance companies are steeped in professionalism and old traditions. Your cover letter and resume should reflect this. In addition, typos and grammatical errors can land your application in the trash before a hiring manager even has the chance to read it. So review your cover letter (and resume) closely before you submit it.

You should also “make your case” in one page or less, because most busy recruiters and hiring managers won’t make it past the first couple of paragraphs unless the cover letter highlights key qualities that they desire in a candidate.

Review the job description closely, then include pertinent, quantifiable accomplishments that pertain specifically to the job in question. Candidates seeking out finance careers are plentiful, so you need to look like a star.

It’s also important to stay on point. Achievements that don’t apply to the finance jobs you are considering can typically be left out. Items that need more explanation can usually be presented better during the interview phase.

So what should you include in your entry-level finance job cover letter, and where?

1. Your contact information. If you’re creating a word document, follow standard letter style with your contact information up top and in your closing paragraph. For email body cover letters, contact information in the closing paragraph should suffice.

2. Your current status, the job for which you are applying and a brief but compelling explanation as to why you’re a good fit. You need to make a big bang out of the gate so incorporate these key items in your opening paragraph.

3. Who and what you know about the company. If you have any company contacts mention them here and explain how you met them. Follow up with why you want to work at XYZ Company. This is where your research really comes into play, and it’s a good place to show your passion for the finance industry and this company specifically, which is important.

4. A bulleted list of quantifiable accomplishments if possible. Include specific, quantifiable accomplishments that pertain to the company’s goals, and avoid other achievements that don’t apply to success for this position (too much information). You can derive these stats either from previous work experience, class work, finance case study competitions, scholarly papers, volunteer work, etc.

5. A strong closing paragraph that reinforces why you would be an asset. Summarize your accomplishments here and explain why you’d be a good candidate or asset to the company. Then follow up with the best way to reach you (your contact information as noted above, phone and email address should suffice).

6. Keywords drawn from the job description throughout. Both your cover letter and resume should include keywords throughout that are derived from the job description and are tied specifically to your qualifications. Keywords play a key role in your cover letter and resume making it through applicant tracking systems, so don’t skip this step.

If you’re ready to pound the pavement and find the finance career of your dreams, Doostang can help. We specialize in helping recent finance and accounting graduates and MBAs find accounting and finance jobs at top accounting, banking and finance firms. Visit our website to search jobs and learn about the wide range of services that Doostang offers.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Sources:

Isaacs, K. “Cover Letter Tips for Finance Professionals.” Monster.com. Available at: http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/cover-letter-tips/finance-cover-letter-tips/article.aspx. Accessed October 24, 2013.

“2013 Corporate Recruiters Survey.” Report 01. Graduate Management Admission Council, 2013. Available at  http://www.gmac.com/~/media/Files/gmac/Research/Employment%20Outlook/crs-2013-hiring-report-01. Accessed Oct. 28, 2013.

DeChesare, B. “The Investment Banking Cover Letter Template You’ve Been Waiting For.” Mergers & Inquisitions website. Available at http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-cover-letter-template/. Accessed Oct. 30, 2013.

“Example of a covering letter for a graduate finance traineeship.” University of Kent website. Available at http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/covlet.htm. Accessed Oct. 30, 2013.

“Investment Banking Resume;” “Private Equity Resume;” “Hedge Fund Resume.” Street of Walls website. Available at: http://www.streetofwalls.com/. Accessed Oct. 25, 2013.

How to Write a Cover Letter for Entry-Level Finance Jobs, Part 1 of 2: Do Your Research First

How to Write a Cover Letter for Entry-Level Finance Jobs, Part 1 of 2: Do Your Research First If you will be applying for entry-level finance jobs or finance or accounting internships in the near future, you should include a cover letter with your application and resume. Writing a cover letter isn’t exactly brain surgery, but it’s important to do some solid research about the companies you are targeting, present the letter in an appropriate style and include a few key items to make a good impression.

In the first installment of this two-part post, we’ll discuss what you need to do to get a good start, doing the research.

Getting Started on a Finance Job Cover Letter … Research First

Before you start typing, you’ll want to do some research first. It’s crucial that in your finance job cover letter and throughout the interview process you portray your knowledge about and interest in the company in question.

Why? If you want to distinguish yourself from other candidates and vie for the best finance positions and internships available you need to go the extra yard.

In your research, you’ll want to learn about the organization’s goals. This information will come in handy when you’re explaining why your skills and background will help them REACH those goals. In cover letters and resumes for finance careers, hiring managers and recruiters are looking for quantifiable accomplishments.

If you can tailor your accomplishments to the target company’s goals, you can increase your odds of getting an interview, and ultimately the job.

A recent survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) asked employers about their hiring and business goals for 2013. Employers are focusing on efficiency, with 68 percent looking to improve performance and productivity.

In addition, organizations are also focused on growth, with 61 percent looking to expand the business’s customer base. So, start digging.

You can learn a lot about a business by visiting its corporate website and examining recent press releases, videos and blog posts.

But don’t stop there; start working your network (if you don’t have a network, start building one!). Ask yourself who you know, who might know someone “in the know,” at your target companies.

Start Working Your Connections

Next, make a list, and work your connections to get an introduction to people who currently work at the companies you are targeting. Try to get face-to-face meetings if possible, or a phone or Skype conversation, to learn more about the company and its goals. You might also be able to use this person’s name in your cover letter to give it more credence if the person is agreeable.

All of this research may sound like a lot of work (and it is), but it’s worth it. Senior accounting and finance managers are looking for candidates who will contribute to the company’s bottom line; have knowledge of the business’s goals and structure; and would be passionate about working for their firm. Your research and how you demonstrate that your personal accomplishments and background would contribute to the company are necessary if you want a career in finance.

In part two of this finance careers cover letter post we’ll talk about the nuts and bolts – presentation, style and what to include from top to bottom.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Sources:

Isaacs, K. “Cover Letter Tips for Finance Professionals.” Monster.com. Available at: http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/cover-letter-tips/finance-cover-letter-tips/article.aspx. Accessed October 24, 2013.

“2013 Corporate Recruiters Survey.” Report 01. Graduate Management Admission Council, 2013. Available at  http://www.gmac.com/~/media/Files/gmac/Research/Employment%20Outlook/crs-2013-hiring-report-01. Accessed Oct. 28, 2013.

DeChesare, B. “The Investment Banking Cover Letter Template You’ve Been Waiting For.” Mergers & Inquisitions website. Available at http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-cover-letter-template/. Accessed Oct. 30, 2013.

“Example of a covering letter for a graduate finance traineeship.” University of Kent website. Available at http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/covlet.htm. Accessed Oct. 30, 2013.

“Investment Banking Resume;” “Private Equity Resume;” “Hedge Fund Resume.” Street of Walls website. Available at: http://www.streetofwalls.com/. Accessed Oct. 25, 2013.