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.

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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.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

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.

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.

Survey Shows Job Opportunities Growing for MBAs, Master’s Grads

Survey Shows Job Opportunities Growing for MBAs, Master’s Grads

A recent survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) revealed a growing number of businesses have hired or plan to hire MBAs and other business master’s graduates in 2013 as compared to 2012. GMAC partnered with the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) and the MBA Career Services Council (MBA CSC) for the survey, which yielded responses from 900 employers in 50 countries across the globe.

For those seeking careers in finance, the numbers are promising. Worldwide, 75 percent of businesses expected to hire MBAs in 2013 (compared to 71 percent in 2012) and growth was also expected in hiring of candidates with master of accounting (38 percent in 2013, up from 34 percent in 2012) and master of finance (43 percent in 2013, up from 41 percent in 2012) degrees. Bachelor degree graduates saw a 1 percent decline in projected hires, down to 74 percent in 2013.

U.S. and Asia-Pacific Project Strong Growth, Europe Flat

When you look at estimates from region to region, demand for MBAs in Asia is projected to kick up from 54 percent last year to 61 percent in 2013 – a 5 percent increase. In the U.S., 85 percent of businesses projected that they would be hiring MBAs in 2013 – up 3 percent from 2012.

Similar increases were expected for the specialized master degrees in accounting, finance, management and other business master degrees in the U.S.

Master of Accounting: 35 percent 2012/40 percent 2013

Master of Finance: 35 percent 2012/41 percent 2013

Master in Management: 36 percent 2012/39 percent 2013

Other Business Masters: 42 percent 2012/50 percent 2013

The number of available jobs for MBA graduates by company was also expected to increase. In other words, more businesses were expecting to have more MBAs on staff this year, along with other master degree talent – with the average number of MBAs per business growing from 11.4 in 2012 to a projected 14.6 in 2013.

Understanding Organizational Goals Could Give You the Edge

If you’re hoping to land one of the desirable entry-level finance jobs at a premier finance or banking firm, you’ll probably need more than an MBA or other specialty master degree to get hired. Top candidates do their research, and you should learn as much as you possibly can about the business goals of the firms to which you are applying.

Distinguish yourself by demonstrating how your talents will help the organization achieve or surpass its goals.

The GMAC survey also provided insight into employer efficiency and growth goals. In its survey report, GMAC wisely pointed out, “Strategic hiring decisions are often signaled by organizational goals.” This is key for up-and-coming graduates who seek entry-level accounting jobs and other finance careers.

How does your degree and background qualify you to make a contribution to the achievement of these goals? Demonstrate this to prospective employers to gain an edge over other candidates.

In the U.S., organizations surveyed listed these goals as most important:

Efficiency: 68 percent are looking to improve performance and productivity.

Growth: 61 percent are looking to expand the organization’s customer base.

Other efficiency goals included: reducing costs (50 percent); improving customer service (44 percent); and overcoming economic challenges (30 percent).

Other growth goals included: launching new products or services (51 percent); expanding geographically (37 percent); diversifying the organization (34 percent); completing or integrating a merger (16 percent).

Things are looking up for MBAs and master degree bearing college graduates who are entering the finance world, but competing for the best jobs takes work. Doostang specializes in helping talented MBAs and finance and accounting graduates stand out from the competition. Visit our website to learn more.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Source:

“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.

7 Must-Haves of a Wall Street Resume

7 Must Haves of a Wall Street Resume

If you’re priming yourself to score a dream job on Wall Street after graduation, creating a resume that stands out should be on the top of your to-do list. Competition for finance jobs in the Big Apple is stiff today, even if you attended one of the premier Ivy League finance schools.

In fact there are 13.5 percent fewer jobs in the securities industry today than there were prior to the financial crisis, according to a recent report from the Office of New York State Comptroller.1 So what can you do to ensure that your resume makes it to the top of the pile?

1. Follow one of today’s key resume best practices – include keywords. Regardless of your field, if you want your resume to make it to the hiring manager’s or decision maker’s desk, it needs to get through applicant tracking systems and/or be easily found in search engines.

This means you should include keywords that pertain specifically to the finance position for which you are applying. Pull keywords from the job description and include those in your resume and cover letter, then highlight your skills pertaining to these keywords as well.2

Yes, you should customize your resume for each individual job. That’s one way that successful job applicants get to the interview phase.

2. Keep it professional. For graduates who are seeking careers in finance, you shouldn’t be using your resume to show your cute or funny side. You’re going into finance, not art direction or web design. Wall Street is steeped in tradition and professionalism, and finance recruiters want to see resumes that are presented in a traditional fashion.3

This means no pretty paper or wacky fonts. Clean, black and white, period. Consider these financial analyst and investment banking sample resumes from Monster and Street of Walls respectively.3,4

Professional also means no typos or grammatical errors. If you’re not a wordsmith, hire a professional who specializes in finance careers to help write your resume or trade favors with your friend who is majoring in journalism.

3. Start with a bang (albeit a professional one). Once you’ve made it past the applicant tracking systems (or if you have had the luxury of emailing your resume directly to a person), your resume needs to make an impression FAST.

Along with a compelling cover letter, you need to highlight those skills and accomplishments that matter most to the employer (not you) in a summary at the top of the page. The person reading your resume has hundreds more to look at after yours, so if he or she makes it past the top quarter of your resume, consider yourself lucky.

Human resources pros and managers who hire finance professionals will scan your resume to see if you meet the specific job qualifications required, such as an MBA or experience managing a specific type of project. For recent grads with minimal real world experience, highlighting case study or classwork experience that pertains specifically to the job can help keep you in the mix.

This is also the place to show why you’re special. Any significant accomplishments you have achieved, that could impact how you would perform at the finance job in question should be worked into the introductory summary.

4. Include examples of your quantitative and analytical abilities. Wall Street firms want to hire people who know how to handle and analyze large amounts of data. They are looking for problem solvers. Include specific examples from your past jobs, internships or classwork that show how you excelled in these two areas.3

Generalizations have no place in a Wall Street resume. Spell it out.

5. Highlight quantifiable accomplishments. If you have real world job or internship experience in the finance world (or elsewhere), and can show how you contributed to reducing costs, increasing profits, etc. spell out these quantifiable accomplishments specifically.5

Show them the numbers if you want to separate yourself from the pack.

6. Show your passion for the finance industry. Along with your educational accomplishments, how else have you immersed yourself in the financial world? Have you competed in finance case study contests? Do you belong to any finance clubs? Have you helped others with their finances? Have you given presentations or written about finance topics for a paper at school or on your own blog?

7. Education, GPA and the like. This is a no-brainer, but it is a must-have. The school you attended does matter to some firms and hiring managers, as does how well you performed. This is especially true if you’re coming up light in the quantifiable accomplishments section.

Once you’ve created your stellar Wall Street resume, check out the finance jobs available through Doostang. We cater to recent college graduates and MBAs seeking finance careers with the best finance and investment firms on the planet. Visit our website to find your Wall Street dream job today!

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Sources:

1. DiNapoli T.P., Bleiwas K.B. “The Securities Industry in New York City.” Office of the State Comptroller, State of New York, Report 7-2014. October 2013. Available at http://osc.state.ny.us/osdc/rpt7-2014.pdf. Accessed October 22, 2013.

2. 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.

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

4. Sample Resume for a Financial Analyst. Monster website. www.monster.com. Available at http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/resume-samples/sample-resume-financial-analyst/article.aspx. Accessed October 25, 2013.

5. Meade, B. “Five Top Resume Turnoffs.” Forbes website, Feb. 19 2013. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2013/02/19/five-top-resume-turnoffs/

 

New York State Comptroller’s Office Reports Slow Growth in Securities Jobs on Wall Street

Slow growth in Wall Street securities jobs

In its October 2013 report “The Securities Industry in New York City,” the New York Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) revealed sluggish job growth in the city’s securities industry as compared to employment growth in the private sector overall.

During the economic recovery, job growth in the entire private sector in New York City (NYC) has been strong, with twice as many jobs added than were lost during the recession, or 335,000 jobs. The securities industry hasn’t faired nearly as well, in fact less than 1 percent of jobs added were in securities, or 2,300 jobs. Overall, the OSC estimates that there are 13.5 percent fewer securities jobs in NYC now than there were prior to the financial crisis.

Reorganization and Streamlining Slow Job Growth

The New York OSC doesn’t expect rapid growth in securities employment any time soon, and predicts that the securities industry will continue to adopt a reorganization and streamlining mindset as it attempts to manage ongoing regulatory changes and a recovering economy.

Of the 2,300 securities jobs that were added, many were in specialized areas such as risk management and regulatory compliance (no surprise).

So if you’re hoping to launch your career in finance at a Wall Street firm in the near future, focusing on these specialty areas may increase your odds.

Economic Impact of Securities Industry in NYC Still Huge

While the outlook for securities jobs on Wall Street may be cautious at the moment, the industry itself has been profitable. According to the report:

In 2012, the securities industry earned $23.9 billion.

In the first half of 2013, the industry earned $10.1 billion.

And if you’re fortunate to be among those employed on Wall Street, you’re still averaging a significantly higher income than employees in other sectors. Granted, income levels took a hit during the financial crisis, but compensation is nearing the peak levels experienced in 2007 (an average salary of $401,500 was reported for that year) before the economy took a turn.

In 2012, the average salary for NYC securities employees was $360,700 – more than five times that of employees working in private sector jobs outside of the securities industry ($69,200 on average). Keep in mind that NYC is the worldwide headquarters of the finance and securities world, and some of the highest-paid securities employees are based in the city.

Nonetheless, while only 5 percent of private sector jobs are in securities, the industry accounted for 22 percent of private sector wages earned in 2012.  And the economic impact doesn’t stop there.

Increase in Securities Jobs Leads to Job Growth Elsewhere

Along with earning a sizeable income, high-paid workers, regardless of where they live, can help boost the economy simply because they have more disposable income and spend more money.

As it relates to securities careers in NYC, the OSC estimates that this translates to jobs added (or lost) in other industries:

One job created (or lost) in the securities industry = two jobs added (or lost) in other industries.

Clearly, the securities industry in NYC plays a crucial role in the city and state’s economy. Only time will tell when the growth in jobs in the industry will accelerate. If you’re looking to jump-start your finance career with an entry-level finance job on Wall Street, be prepared.

You might consider focusing on the specialized regulatory and risk management niches to get you in the door faster, or give yourself the edge and contact Doostang. We specialize in helping top finance and accounting grads and MBAs stand out. Visit our website to learn more.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Source:

DiNapoli T.P., Bleiwas K.B. “The Securities Industry in New York City.” Office of the State Comptroller, State of New York, Report 7-2014. October 2013. Available at http://osc.state.ny.us/osdc/rpt7-2014.pdf. Accessed October 22, 2013.

6 Tips for Landing a New Job

Job searches can feel contradictory and confusing at times as you try to cover all the bases while simultaneously targeting a specific industry. In these tough economic times innovation is often necessary to land a job.  At the same time, you don’t want to be seen as too far removed from the mainstream when trying new approaches.  Balance is helpful in strategies and personal responses throughout the ups and downs of a challenging job search.

1.  Target Large and Small Companies

Don’t just pander to the Fortune 500 companies in your job search. As most economists note, small and mid-sized businesses do most of the hiring. Maintain a balance of the large companies and smaller regional businesses in your targeted job search.

2.  Consider a Temporary Position

Taking a temporary position doesn’t mean you will always be in a temporary slot.  The contacts may lead to full-time employment or another project with other businesses by further expanding your network.  Temporary positions can also lead to full-time positions, depending on your performance record and personal relationships while in the position.  Act like a full-timer in terms of big-picture planning and personal investment, and you’re likely to find yourself in that full-time position.

3.  Pursue an Internship

If you are interested in a career shift, consider an internship. These positions are no longer just for those finishing up college. Internships now accept established professionals who want to make a significant change in career direction. And an internship – at any stage in one’s career – serves the same purposes.  The internship will help you make contacts while you establish a skill set in a new industry.

4.  Follow up Judiciously

If you have posted your resume on a job site, be certain to follow up. Check email carefully for related job postings or additional leads. Cold call new prospects and conduct appropriate follow-ups. But remember the fine balance between being persistent and being a pest.  Anxiety or desperation about your job search can be conveyed in following up too frequently, appearing too eager or asking too many questions about the projected time-frame for interviews and hiring. Your best business suit is your confidence.

5.  Adjust Your Expectations

Balance your expectations with the reality of the job market. You may be ready to move into an upper management position, but find those jobs are unavailable. Look at the demographics of those currently in the job you desire. In many companies, those positions are held by folks who may have weathered the recent downturn and could be looking toward retirement over the next few years. Although it is hard to be patient and you may certainly feel you are over-qualified for a lower-level position, it can be important to simply get into the organization.  Once you have been accepted as part of the team, it is likely that you can move up quickly and perhaps that plum position will open up sooner than you anticipate. Moving into key positions is often more likely to occur from within the organization, so place yourself in a position to take advantage of eventual opportunity.

6.  Balance Traditional and Emerging Job Search Strategies

Networking is a tried and true method, but it doesn’t always have to be face-to-face.  Use social networking sites – appropriately – for your job search.  Professionally oriented sites such as LinkedIn provide a great place to start, but be sure to clean up questionable postings on Facebook to improve your chances in a competitive job market.

Dream big and balance your expectations with the economic reality. Maintaining a healthy combination in your approach and attitude will move you toward your ultimate career goals!  Balance is the key to your interactions, plans, and attitude in creating a successful search and landing that job!

Author: Alesia Benedict