Cover Letter Tips: I-Banking

 

0829_ibank_630x420

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]

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.

Looking for a Finance Job? Look Outside of Wall Street

Looking for a Finance Job? Look Outside of Wall Street

For years, finance grads have looked to our nation’s largest financial centers to launch their finance careers. Wall Street employs the highest number of people in the finance industry (436,000) by far, but the number of jobs in New York has declined by 7.4 percent since 2007.1

The other big U.S. financial hot spots Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles have also seen declines. Across the top five, a net loss of 39,000 jobs occurred from 2007 to 2012. Fortunately, jobs in the financial sector are cropping up in other cities across the nation – with a net gain of 12,000 finance jobs outside of the top five during this same time period.2

Where Are the Finance Jobs Going?

So the top five financial hot spots are losing jobs, where should you look if you’re a recent grad searching for entry-level finance jobs? If you still aspire to work on Wall Street or in one of the other financial centers, jobs are still available for the top candidates who excelled in college, achieved excellent grades and are able to stand out in a sea of applicants.

If working on Wall Street isn’t important to you, or staying closer to home (away from the big city) sounds appealing – you now have more options.

The cities that realized the most growth in finance jobs from 2007 to 2012 include:2

St. Louis, Missouri/Illinois – This city in the heart of the Midwest, the home of baseball’s Cardinals, added 5,600 jobs for an increase of 85 percent.

Washington, DC and surrounding areas – Finance jobs added near our nation’s capital amounted to 4,400 for an increase of 28 percent.

Phoenix, Arizona – Finance opportunities in the desert, home of basketball’s Suns, grew with 3,900 jobs added or an increase of 36 percent.

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas – Deep in the heart of North Texas, the booming DFW metroplex added 2,600 jobs for an increase of 14 percent.

Some of the other growing markets for finance jobs during this same period were Des Moines, Iowa; Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida.2

Why Are Finance Jobs Moving?

There are a number of reasons why more opportunities are cropping up outside of New York and other traditional financial hot spots. One of the main reasons finance degree jobs are moving is that the cost of living is lower in smaller cities and towns. Housing is significantly less expensive as are day-to-day costs. This means finance firms, banks, insurance companies and private corporations can pay employees less – which helps cut costs.

Growth in the energy and manufacturing industries, which are tied to locations near the gulf coast (Texas, Louisiana) and parts of the Midwest (Iowa, Missouri, Illinois) and portions of the Rust Belt (Pennsylvania), also prompt the necessity to add more finance positions.1

In addition, access to a skilled workforce, favorable taxes and regulations and the expansion of the virtual work model can play a role in where companies choose to operate today – whether they are in the financial sector or not.

So if you’re looking for a job in finance, the good news is that you aren’t limited to a few select cities anymore. To look for a finance job on Wall Street or Main Street, check out Doostang’s website. We specialize in helping top finance grads and MBAs find the best jobs from coast to coast.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Resources:

Kotkin, J. and Shires, M. “The Cities That are Stealing Finance Jobs from Wall Street.” Forbes website, May 31, 2013. Available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2013/05/31/the-cities-taking-finance-jobs-from-wall-street/. Accessed Nov. 20, 2013.

Cox, W. “The Dispersion of Financial Sector Jobs.” Newgeography website; Jan. 8, 2013. Available at http://www.newgeography.com/content/003387-the-dispersion-financial-sector-jobs. Accessed Nov. 20, 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.

Financial Analyst Jobs: Duties and Responsibilities

Financial Analyst Jobs: Duties and Responsibilities

Recent college graduates who are looking for entry-level finance jobs often seek out financial analyst positions to kick off their finance careers. If you think a career in finance is in your future and a position as a financial analyst might be right for you, make sure you’re up for the duties and responsibilities involved first.

Financial analysts work long hours, are often required to travel at a moment’s notice and must be willing to immerse themselves in extensive research to succeed. They must also be able to grasp and communicate (verbally and in writing) complicated economic and financial insights and data in order to make financially sound recommendations to the companies they support.

This takes a lot of courage, especially if you are making recommendations that involve millions or even billions of dollars.

Another thing to consider when looking for an entry-level finance position is the type of company you would like to work for starting out. The experience you gain now may dictate where you end up working later on. A variety of types of companies hire financial analysts, such as:

– Private banks.

– Investment banks (buy-side or sell-side).

– Brokerage firms.

– Insurance companies.

– Private corporations.

– Government agencies.

Think you have the passion, stomach and work ethic to make it as a financial analyst? Here’s a breakdown of the duties you’ll be required to perform.

Research, Research and More Research

In general, the role of a financial analyst is to cultivate and review large volumes of data then formulate a recommendation based on what you have learned. You will need to examine national and global trends in economics and finance and make predictions based on this research.

Financial analysts also spend time researching the strengths, weaknesses and risks associated with different companies based on the type of firm for which they are working. They are often required to make lengthy, onsite visits to the companies in question during this research phase.

You may be wondering how an analyst’s duties vary based on the type of firm. While the core responsibilities are very similar, there are some differences, because goals vary from one type of firm to the next.

A financial analyst working at an investment bank will research and evaluate companies to determine risks and the potential benefits and profits pertaining to mergers, acquisitions and IPOs (initial public offerings). They will need to closely evaluate financial and economic conditions and often utilize forecasting tools and models.

A financial analyst at a buy-side investment firm will research companies to determine which businesses their organization should or should not purchase stock in for an in-house fund that the firm manages. They also need to closely evaluate financial and economic conditions and often utilize forecasting tools and models.

A financial analyst at a sell-side investment firm prepares research reports for buy-side firms that are looking to purchase stocks to add to an investment fund. These analysts often focus on a specific industry sector and will spend time comparing the quality of securities in that sector. Ultimately they will recommend whether to buy, sell or hold specific stocks.

A financial analyst at an insurance company or private corporation will research a variety of economic and financial data pertaining to the specific industry at hand. In addition, they will look closely at the financial health of the company itself or other companies that it may have an interest in presently or in the future.

Financial Presentations and Reports

Once the analyst has wracked up hours of research and analyzed untold amounts of data, they need to present their recommendations to a department head or team, depending on the firm.

This is where it helps to have solid technical writing skills as well as experience with preparing spreadsheets, charts and graphs. A good analyst will be able to prepare a technical financial report that clearly supports the recommendations they are making – with both numbers and words.

Staying Abreast of Current Economic and Finance Trends

Along with the company and industry sector specific research that analysts perform, they also need to read general financial and economic industry reports, research, journals, newspapers and the like to stay on top of trends in the finance industry as a whole. Seeking out webinars, media reports and industry events also help top financial analysts stay informed.

So if you still think you’re up for the hard work and long hours that come with a career as a financial analyst, Doostang is here to help. Visit our website to search jobs, today. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Sources:

“Career: Financial Analyst.” Princeton Review website. Available at http://www.princetonreview.com/careers.aspx?cid=68. Accessed Nov. 15, 2013.

“Becoming a Financial Analyst.” Investopedia website. Nov. 4, 2012. Available at http://www.investopedia.com/articles/financialcareers/06/financialanalyst.asp. Accessed Nov. 15, 2013.

“Best Business Jobs: Financial Analyst.” U.S. News and World Report website. Available at http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/financial-analyst. Accessed Nov. 15, 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:

Doostang Success — Listings from Quality Employers who are Serious about Hiring

Leanne

NYU, 2010

“All things considered, graduating with a master of science in real estate finance should be concerning these days. The exception is when you receive multiple emails notifying you that an employer has downloaded your resume and shortly thereafter calls to request an interview. This was the case for me, and I cannot thank Doostang enough for facilitating this.

In my experience, Doostang provided job listings from quality employers who were serious about hiring.

This was a refreshing change to the many company websites which display job listings out of protocol but already have candidates teed up for the particular positions listed.

Doostang offered a way for me to differentiate myself amongst other candidates, whereas my university’s career website was bombarded with candidates just like me.

Doostang is not your monster.com, it is a very sophisticated, niche product that is tailored to well-educated and ambitious applicants in their 20s.

Thank you Doostang, you have my highest recommendation.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Research Associate – World’s Leading Finance & Investment Support Firm, New York, NY

Marketing & Communications Assistant – Chicago-Based Private Equity Investment Firm, Chicago, IL

Corporate Strategy Sr. Analyst – Venture-Backed Cleantech Company, SF Bay Area, CA

Sr. Consultant – Establish Management Consulting Firm, Chicago, IL

Quantitative Equity Analyst – Innovative Quantitative Investment Management Firm, Boston, MA

Search jobs on Doostang