6 Simple Steps to Land Your Next Job

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Sometimes the path to your dream career isn’t about the big moves you’re supposed to make, but rather, is riddled with the little ones.  The great thing about small steps is that you have no excuse not to take them – you can always find a moment to work on your job search.  Here are a few minor things you can be doing to land your next position:

Create an Email Account Designated for Your Job Search

If you haven’t done so already, consider creating an email address solely for your job search.  The first thing you should do is to choose an address that is professional – this will look far better on your resume and when you reach out to employers.  Doing so will also allow you to keep all your job search materials in one place, and will prevent your personal emails from posing a distraction.

Review Your Resume

Take a few minutes of down time to scan your resume and make sure that it’s polished and up-to-date.  You may not have caught all of the typos when you originally put it together, so pay particular attention to spelling and grammar.  Also check that your dates and current contact information are correct.  It’s especially helpful to have an outsider review your resume to catch all the small (or big) issues that you might have missed, so ask some friends for feedback or get a professional critique.

Revise Your Facebook Page

Because so many employers are now turning to social networking sites to see what additional information they can dig up about each potential hire, it’s important to put your best foot (or face) forward.  Make sure that you have appropriate privacy settings in place, and take down any pictures that you wouldn’t want your next boss to see.

Practice Your 30 Second Interview

It’s important to practice your 30 Second Interview, or elevator speech, when you have a moment.  This will ensure that you’re less likely to trip up the next time you’re in a situation where someone takes an interest in your career path.

Network

Take a few moments to find some key contacts that can help you in your career search.  Consider your alumni network or find the contact information of someone at a company you wish to work for.  Send out a quick email to set up a time to ask for some advice, or simply try to establish rapport by reaching out with a question.

Enroll in a Class

If your dream job requires knowledge or skills that you don’t yet possess, enroll in a class that will bring you up to speed.  Once you make that initial commitment to go, you’ll be one step closer to the career you want.

There are a multitude of little things you can do throughout the day that will advance your job search.  So when you have some free time, be proactive and do something small that can make a big difference.

 

Wall Street or Bust

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As a recent graduate from Stanford University, I often hear friends of mine lament the downfall of the finance world. What was once such a hot industry – one many of us strove to join as bright-eyed underclassman – suffered serious setbacks in the past years, forcing hordes of Economics and Business majors to set their sights elsewhere. One friend of mine, a Finance major with previous internships in investment banking, decided to start a company promoting art museums when his job offer was rescinded. So for some, the shortage of jobs in finance has led them to pursue more unique, if initially less lucrative, opportunities.

Still, there are others who remain hopeful in their quest for capital gains, risk arbitrage, and absolute returns, holding on to the mantra, “Wall Street or bust!” Recently I sat down with James, a friend of mine who works for a hedge fund. I asked him questions about his work and about the sort of skill set required of an individual who is looking to break into the finance realm in such a competitive industry. Here is what he had to say:

What does your job entail?

I am an analyst for a long short equity hedge fund. My main responsibility is to advise my portfolio manager on investment decisions. This involves forecasting earnings and valuing companies based on my primary research.

Do you have any specific areas of focus?

My sector of focus is technology, which is extremely broad. Within technology, I’m currently focused on Internet and telecom companies, as well as alternative energy.

Did anything draw you specifically to Tech as a sector?

Definitely. Tech is a sector in which the United States is still very much a leader, and there’s always exciting stuff going on at the margin – new disruptive technologies turning whole industries upside down. Being a tech analyst requires you to stay on your toes and achieve a very comprehensive understanding of industry players. In some ways it is like being in college again – because you are often learning about these companies’ products and the science behind them, not just their financial statements. However, the workload is much more significant than in college, so I would recommend getting some recreation time in before you graduate if you do choose to work at a hedge fund.

What skills are emphasized in the work that you do?

I think it’s very important to be a good listener and a fast learner when you are ramping up – or learning the ropes. You have to be resilient as well – sometimes you will spend quite some time learning the ins and outs of a sector or the particulars of a company before you can really get an edge. But I think that in any finance role, diligence is probably the most important attribute for any candidate, particularly at the entry level. It’s very easy to lose the trust of your superior by messing up some minor detail, and once you’ve lost that trust, it can be hard to move back into a position where you’ve had the same responsibilities as you had before. That’s something I learned as an intern a couple years ago.

How did you land a job at a hedge fund in this job market?

I wish that I could say that I was just an exceptional candidate who could have gotten a job anywhere, but that’s probably not the case. The truth is, I essentially got to where I am now from my internship two years ago. I made certain to stay in touch with the people I worked with, and one of my coworkers from that summer ended up taking a job as a portfolio manager where I now work.

I would advise any undergraduate who has held internships before to try to stay in casual contact with their coworkers, because it makes things a lot less awkward if the time comes to follow up in search of a job. If you do fall out of touch, then it still won’t hurt to ask. Most people like to help other people out, so just be humble and confident and throw out a line.

Do you have any thoughts on the recent political controversy surrounding bonuses in finance?

I guess I can understand why some people are bothered by the bonuses being paid out at firms like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. These firms benefited a great deal from a government backstop, were really on the cusp of a liquidity crisis and now are in as good shape as ever. At a time when most people are suffering, that kind of prosperity in the sector that is blamed for the recession is going to hit nerves.

At this point in time, would you discourage people from entering finance?

I think now is actually a great time to get involved in finance, at least in certain areas. I think that the capital markets have been so depressed recently that, for bankers in leveraged finance, M&A, or any field that’s seen massively reduced activity, there will certainly be a bounce-back. And with head count lower, the compensation per employee might actually be higher down the line. I also think finance is a great place to be for young, driven professionals in search of a challenge, and I believe that there will always be room for the talented to succeed on Wall Street.

What steps could someone take to secure a finance job at the entry level right now?

Be exhaustive in your approach. Don’t be afraid to make phone calls to people who you barely know, or even don’t know, if you are certain that you want a job on Wall Street. My first internship in finance I got through a cold call to an alum of my school. He agreed to give me an interview and a chance to prove myself. If you are persistent and smart, something will stick. But the advice on being detail oriented applies to the application process as well – you can’t afford to make any mistake that will make it easier for people to shut you out.

In addition, a website like Doostang is a great tool for anyone looking for a job. Because there are such a limited number of available jobs out there at the moment, and because many of these jobs are kept within individual firms, it’s often difficult to find the positions you might want to apply for in the first place. It’s crucial to make use of every available resource you have at your disposal, and a job board that lists exclusive jobs at top firms certainly qualifies as a valuable resource.

So take it from the insider, if you’re considering entering the finance field – now is the time! And if you’re not sure where to begin, Doostang is there to help get you started with exceptional finance openings at all levels.

 

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

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

Welcome to part three in our three-part series on entry-level finance and accounting jobs to consider for recent or soon-to-be graduates with 4-year accounting or finance degrees. In parts one and two, we covered entry-level jobs in the fields of accounting, insurance, finance and banking along with the median income for these jobs as estimated by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). To wrap up, we will cover some positions you could find at a number of other private, public or government organizations.

So for recent grads interested in working for businesses in other industries or the government, plenty of opportunities exist to kick off their accounting and finance careers. Think about topics and industries that you migrate toward when you hear news online or when you’re watching T.V.

Entry-level finance and accounting jobs can be found in manufacturing, at marketing and advertising agencies, for technology and energy companies, with city, state and local governments and more. If you look outside of traditional accounting and finance firms for work, you might be surprised how many operations (big and small) have openings for recent accounting and finance grads.

Along with the traditional entry-level accounting jobs we discussed earlier, here are a few additional positions to consider in the private, public and government sectors.

Tax associate/specialist, auditor, collector or revenue agent. Does tax law put a spring in your step? Then you will have plenty of entry-level job opportunities with corporations and the government to consider. Corporate tax laws change every year, and an entry-level tax associate can help public and private corporations stay on top of changes in tax legislation and corporate tax code. On the government side, you can find entry-level opportunities reviewing and monitoring tax filings to ensure compliance or assist with collections of unpaid taxes. Median Income: $49,360.

Budget analyst. Whether a business has 10 employees or 10,000, it has a budget to manage. Entry-level budget analysts review existing budgets and expenses and proposed budgets for new initiatives. It is the budget analyst’s job to recommend where expenses and costs can be reigned in and identify opportunities to increase revenues. It helps to be a good communicator and a “people person” in this role, because along with developing financial reports, an analyst typically interacts with multiple departments and personnel to gather data. Median Income: $68,200.

Financial auditor. Corporations are under a higher level of scrutiny since the economic collapse, which resulted in an abundance of new government regulations in recent years. As an entry-level financial auditor you would review financial statements and ensure that public records are properly kept and reported. Monitoring legislation that applies to the business and industry niche to ensure compliance, may also be part of a financial auditor’s job duties. The auditor might also provide insight regarding general business operations, product development and mergers and acquisitions. Median Income: $61,690 (though many financial auditor positions will require an MBA).

Financial manager, controller or finance officer. An MBA is often required for financial manager positions, but some smaller companies will hire graduates with 4-year finance or accounting degrees and some previous work experience for these jobs. Financial managers/controllers oversee a variety of finance-related initiatives and employees. They are responsible for preparing and managing financial reports (balance sheets, budgets, expenses, revenue, forecasts, etc.), monitoring corporate investments, managing human resources concerns and making sure tax and regulatory obligations are met. Median Income: $103,910.

Clearly, this list should just be a starting point for you. You can find a number of additional entry-level jobs under different job titles, with varying job descriptions and many duties that overlap.

If you’re searching for an entry-level finance or accounting position, look to Doostang. We specialize in helping top accounting and finance grads and MBAs find great jobs with some of the top finance and accounting firms and in other industries nationwide.

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.

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.

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

How To Land the Highest Paying Finance Jobs on Wall Street

How to Land the HIghest Paying Jobs on Wall Street

If you plan to climb your way up the corporate ladder and secure one of the top paying finance jobs on Wall Street, be prepared to pay your dues. The most coveted Wall Street jobs typically require an MBA and several years of toiling away in the trenches.

There is no question that finance jobs can pay well, which is one of the main reasons people choose to pursue careers in finance. Even entry-level financial analysts can expect to start out well. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the 2010 median annual income for a financial analyst was close to $75,000.

For finance pros who hope to earn the big bucks – millions of dollars in salary and bonuses – the opportunities are better in finance than in many other fields. It still isn’t a piece of cake to land the highest paying finance jobs on Wall Street or elsewhere. If you do want to aim high, here are a few jobs you might consider along with some insight on what it takes to get hired.

Stockbroker

If you have a 4-year degree, competitive spirit, thick skin and excel at networking, a career as a stockbroker might be a good option for you. Your degree might get you in the door, but you’ll have to work hard and compete with hundreds of other brokers to get the most desirable, high-net-worth clients to utilize your services. Long-term success in the brokerage world relies on referrals, so you need to deliver great results for your clients in order for them to recommend people from their circle to you.

Head of Investment Banking Firm

Have you set your sights on the investment banking world and the big paychecks that come with it? Getting to the top of an I-bank isn’t a walk in the park. While entry-level investment banking jobs pay a decent wage to start – you can expect to make about $75,000 per year – you will need to have a top-tier MBA, do your time as a financial analyst (80 to 100 hours a week) and be a great networker to become a head of an I-bank. You will also need to be a stand out contributor in big-money deals, have strong accounting skills and be able to deal with egos and office politics to get the top investment banking jobs.

Chief Risk Officer

If you have a passion for risk management, actuarial work and your MBA in hand, the role of Chief Risk Officer could be your ticket to a big payday. The demand for experts in risk management has grown in recent years due to the economic collapse. Expect to spend your early finance career years doing actuary work (the median income level for actuaries was close to $90,000 in 2010 according to the BLS) and accumulate a decade or so of managerial experience before qualifying for this position. Excellent communication skills – verbal and written – are a must for Chief Risk Officers.

Mutual Fund Manager

Are you a team player who is willing to spend time in the trenches researching companies and fetching coffee? A career in mutual funds might be a good fit for you. Entry-level mutual fund analysts can expect to make a decent starting wage similar to other entry-level finance positions. Once you make your way on to a mutual fund management team, salaries in the low to mid six figures are common. Managing multi-billion dollar funds comes with a great deal of pressure, because a lot of people are relying on your decisions, so you’ll need to handle stress well. Mutual fund companies also prefer to promote from within, so you’ll want to avoid job-hopping to land the top-paying mutual fund jobs.

Finance Media Superstar

If you’re looking to see your name in lights – or on the TV screen – you could expect to make a good chunk of change in the finance world. According to Forbes, big names like Suze Orman and Jim Kramer can pull in $10 million to $20 million or more annually. In order to work your way up the media ranks, you’ll need to start with a journalism degree, and an MBA will help get you in the door at the top media networks – Bloomberg, ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox. Expect to spend several years working behind the scenes doing research and supporting other players before you get your chance in front of the camera and a book on the New York Times bestseller list.

Head of Mergers and Acquisitions

Like other finance careers, you’ll need to do your time as a financial analyst and have an MBA to be a top M&A earner. Expect to do the legwork, research and number-punching for a managing director then set your sites on an associate position at one of the top banks. You’ll need to advance your career from associate to VP to managing teams and hone your relationship building skills along the way if you hope to land a top job in mergers and acquisitions.

Big Money Means Hard Work and Time Invested

All of these finance jobs have several things in common, aside from the multi-million dollar paydays. If you want to secure a top job on Wall Street, you will need a great education, an MBA, years of experience working through the ranks and a strong network. If you hope to make your way to the top, expect to invest many years getting that top degree and working hard.

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Resources:

“Occupational Outlook Handbook; Financial Occupations.” U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistics. 2012. Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

“Making It Big on Wall Street.” Forbes website; May 18, 2013. Available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2013/05/18/making-it-big-on-wall-street/. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

LaRoche, J. “Can’t be a CEO? Here are 9 Other Super High Paying Wall Street Jobs and What You Need to Do to Get Them.” Business Insider website; July 20, 2012. Available at  http://www.businessinsider.com/9-high-paying-wall-street-jobs-2012-7?op=1. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

How Your Career Can Benefit from a Professional Portfolio

professional portfolio

When you think of a portfolio, you usually think about career fields such as modeling, art and writing. However, it doesn’t stop there. Every professional, no matter if they work in the consulting field or the engineering field, can reap the benefits of the portfolio.

Creating a professional portfolio does not mean that you have to have the perfect looking template with visual images of your past work, but rather that you have taken the effort to show how you have been successful throughout your career. Whether you create a professional portfolio website and submit it with each job application, or you put together a sophisticated binder to present at certain times throughout your career, having a professional presentation of your work will help get you to where you want to be.

Your portfolio can also help you market yourself. While jobs can come and go, your portfolio remains constant. Your experience is what gets an employer to hire you, and a portfolio can back up the claims you make about your skills, accolades, certifications and experience. You are highlighting what you’re great at and offering it up for current and future employers to take advantage of.

It is inevitable that you will end up in the following scenarios throughout your career, and the time you put into making a portfolio will get you positive results:

Job interview

Career professionals stress that there’s no better place to provide proof of your experience, skills and knowledge then a job interview. Employers can look at your resume as a quick summary of who you are as a professional, but they look at your career portfolio for a depiction of each accomplishment you have had. While discussing your experience for each of your past positions, refer to your portfolio and show them exactly you contributed to the success. Everyone can say that they turned around a client’s sales numbers, but not everyone can show it, and you can prove that you can through your portfolio.

A great portfolio also gives off the impression that you are a candidate who is passionate about your career and motivated to succeed.

Reviews at current positions

A career portfolio is not only beneficial during your job search; it can also be useful during performance reviews at your current position. They provide you with a source to look back on to highlight how you have made a positive impact while at your position. You’ll be able to go beyond just saying that you’re a great asset to the team by being able to show and remind your employer that you’ve done certain things that have added to their success as a business.

Salaries and promotions

Often, one of the most uncomfortable parts of your career is when it comes time to negotiate a salary or asking for a promotion. In order to even be considered, many employers ask that you explain why you feel you deserve it, and that can be difficult when your heart is beating a thousand miles a minute and your mind is racing. Many people leave the meeting wishing they remembered to say certain things, but career portfolios prevent this from happening. By using your portfolio as a reference, you’ll be able to provide your employer with an endless amount of reasons as to why you should receive a certain salary, raise or promotion.

 

Making a career portfolio is one piece of advice that you shouldn’t ignore, and not having one may cause you to miss out on numerous opportunities throughout your entire career. Therefore, make your job search noticeably easier by backing up your claims with proof and showing that you are determined and motivated to excel at what you do.