Entry-level finance jobs and the skills you need to land one
If you are considering a career related to finance, what are your options? Here, we share the entry level financial jobs available to you, as well as the salaries you can expect. We’ll also share the skills you need to launch and grow your career, and what makes a major in finance worth it.
You will find finance jobs in just about every organization, in every industry. Human Resources Manager and Blogger Eunice Frey says: “It’s up to you to select the industry that you think is best for you and has the right level of career progression that you can benefit from. She sees many finance and banking professionals stagnating and being frustrated because they are not moving in a meaningful direction. You should think about which career path you would most like and choose an industry and organization that can provide it for you.
Entry-level financial jobs
- Loan officer
All banks need loan officers, from the local bank down the street to gargantuan institutions with branches on every corner. A loan officer, as described on wisegeek.com, “functions as the liaison or intermediary between an institution which provides personal and business loans to consumers and loan applicants.”
- An accountant
Accounting is one of the best careers in the financial industry because it is a very valuable position for businesses across the United States and a valuable part of every business. Accountants work on the company’s transactions and track the flow of money. Accounting positions represent about 28% of finance jobs. In fact, journalofaccountancy.com claims that “the profession is flourishing – with college enrollments, degrees awarded, and the demand for new accounting graduates all reaching historic highs.”
While launching an accountancy career has a low barrier to entry, your salary will likely be lower than in other finance jobs. Additionally, many accountants work very long hours because accountants cannot get away without meeting deadlines. With that said, you can have a promising career as an accountant. Frey says accountants can move on to a senior accountant position and then “to an auditor or financial controller position”. After that, “they can then look for opportunities that take them to the role of CFO.”
While there is a low barrier to entry into a career as an accountant, your pay will likely be lower than other entry-level financial jobs. Additionally, many accountants work very long hours because accountants cannot get away without meeting deadlines.
- Financial Analyst
There are several types of financial analyst positions, but the basics of the position remain the same. An analyst examines and considers various investment statistics, then offers opinions on which investments are good and which are not. Being an analyst can give you a solid foundation for a good job in an asset management company. Investment analysts earn a good salary, but it is a difficult area to break into.
If you have excelled in school and are ready for a challenging but rewarding career as an analyst, you may want to head to New York or Chicago. These two cities are home to many opportunities in the financial sector.
- Junior tax advisor
As the cliché says, “the only things that are safe are death and taxes.” Even with the recent tax reform aimed at making things easier, individuals and businesses will still need help understanding this aspect of their finances. That’s why a junior tax associate position is one of the best entry-level finance jobs.
The pay isn’t as bright as some of the jobs listed above, but the experience and knowledge you gain can serve as a valuable launching pad for other opportunities down the road.
- Financial auditor
An auditor closely monitors a company’s financial statements, checking for accuracy and warning signs. It’s a competitive field because there are so many opportunities for growth and it’s a position of trust. To increase your chances of landing a job as an auditor, consider specialized training beyond your bachelor’s degree. This will help you stand out in a candidate pool.
The world needs more calculators and motivated individuals to analyze, audit and review its financial matters.
- Investment analyst
In a world where everyone wants to invest, there are many opportunities to become an investment analyst. Even increasingly popular local lenders need these professionals to help them determine the most viable investment options. “As an investment analyst,” says Frey, “you can become a fund manager before you get into an associate position, which ultimately leads to vice president.
Related: 5 Financial Niche Career Options For Recent Graduates
Business versus government opportunities
In the business sector, a finance graduate will have the opportunity to explore the field of business management and plan financial strategy within a company and with its board of directors. This includes helping to determine the profitability, pricing and marketing of a project or product. Many companies hire recent finance graduates to assess their company’s current position in their markets and to study government policies that might affect them.
Finance majors are also well suited for jobs in government. When working with government at the federal level, finance majors are often responsible for policy preparation and are called upon to advise regulatory bodies that manage national economic issues.
Salaries for entry-level finance jobs
Below are the national averages for entry level financial jobs. Data provided by glassdoor.
Financial analyst: $ 59,111
Accountant: $ 55,199
Loan officer: $ 49,951
Junior Tax Associate: $ 54,448
Financial auditor: $ 64,269
Investment analyst: $ 85,317
The skills you need to land a job in finance or banking and to grow in your career
Saurabh Tyagi, a writer on education, technology, and career counseling, gave us his advice for finance majors, especially the skills you’ll need to get hired and grow in your career:
Intellect: Recruiters are drawn to intellectual thinkers who have the ability to quickly grasp new concepts, whether it’s a task, project management, or data assimilation. People with strong learning agility can easily thrive in demanding and difficult situations, which are common in these industries.
Adaptability: The banking and financial sector is constantly exploding with new trends, new offers, opportunities with the creation of new markets and the abandonment of old markets to history. As such, it needs people who can handle these rapid changes and deliver results quickly, even in unfamiliar situations. Curious personalities, curiosity, asking the right questions at the right time are all good qualities to stand out in your job search.
Innovative: You can’t expect this to be part of the skill set of successful finance professionals. In fact, being innovative is a highly prized trait for this career path. The ability to create or identify new opportunities to grow the business, generate new ideas, and approach a problem with a new and refreshing perspective is one of the key requirements for thriving in an age of fierce competition. Show recruiters how you can think outside the box and how you look for opportunities for improvement.
Math skills: Your ability to calculate numbers should be unmatched. Performing tasks such as creating financial reports, balance sheets, income statements and budgets requires excellent quantitative ability. You should be able to read financial reports and explain them to your clients or colleagues. A banking job will require you to deal with loads of money on a daily basis. If you are a financial professional working in a brokerage firm, your responsibilities will include such tasks as drafting stock purchase orders, calculating transfer taxes, and distributing dividends to clients. , all requiring the mastery of an expert in mathematics.
Communication: Your ability to communicate verbally and in writing is essential. Financial professionals must manage the communication of many important policies and procedures to their clients. They should communicate management’s budgetary concerns, as well as redressing consumer complaints. Many banking stations will require you to communicate regularly with customers to answer their questions. Meetings, presentations and conferences are an important part of most management roles in these sectors.
Also read: Communication skills are a determining factor that is promoted
Resilience: There are many stories about the notorious pressure cooker situations experienced by banking and finance professionals. With tight deadlines and a pressured work environment, you need to prove to recruiters that you are resilient. Many higher education courses do not focus on the key skills that can make or break your career. That is, your ability to work under pressure.
Global outlook: Trends go fast in this industry. An economic wave in the United States creates a wave of business in countries around the world. Thus, if you are able to carry a global objective and operate in an international context, you will be an attractive candidate.
What makes a major in finance worth it
You have many options as a major in finance. Competent financial leaders are needed in every organization in all industries. The pay can be quite attractive and in a constantly growing field, those pay rates will only increase.
The personal benefits for finance majors don’t end with a good salary. One of the best things about specializing in finance is that you can really make your own money work for you. Since the very nature of financial education is about growing wealth, it stands to reason that you will have the knowledge to invest your money creatively and intelligently. With an intimate knowledge of tax law and financial policies, finance majors have a leg up on other professionals when it comes to securing the best discounts. While other careers can bring in a bigger paycheck, finance majors have the knowledge to turn less money into more wealth – and also know what the difference is.