Investopedia is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in finance. The best feature on the site is, hands down, the comprehensive ‘Finance dictionary.’ You can search almost any finance-related term and it will give you a) a definition that is in context, and b) ‘Investopedia says’, which is usually an example of how that word might be used in practice.
The site also features career related articles, and one that caught my attention recently is entitled “How To Land A Finance Job Straight Out Of Undergrad.” Here are the main points:
Get an internship
AUTHOR SAYS: While you may be doing boring work, internships are very valuable because you gain a lot of ‘background’ knowledge.
I SAY: I did an internship and it very much helped me get my first job. Not because it equipped me with the best training, but because it looked great on my resume. It helped build my personal brand.
AUTHOR SAYS: You have four summers while you’re in university/college — why not do four internships? It looks better than ‘flipping burgers.’
I SAY: There are a couple of problems with this point. The first is that you probably aren’t sure what you want to do when you’re just heading into university. The second is that, even if you do, summers are a great time to gain LIFE experience while still making money. Always wanted to be a kayak instructor in BC? This is your chance. And the fact is, if you market yourself properly when looking for a job, these LIFE experiences can be a great asset to your resume.
Diversify your experiences
AUTHOR SAYS: Don’t stick to one line of finance in your internships — diversify and learn about the different areas unless you’re absolutely set on one area of banking.
I SAY: I’d go further. Unless you’re absolutely certain you want to work in banking, try different industries. OR, for example, if you like the banking culture but think you might want to be a marketer, look for an internship in bank marketing. If you’re a numbers whiz but can’t stand the thought of working for a large bank, try asset management, hedge funds, or even a financial analyst role in a completely different industry.
Learn to talk the talk
AUTHOR SAYS: If you’re certain about working in finance, take a degree in finance, business or economics. Alternatively, read the business section of the paper everyday.
I SAY: Sure, this makes sense if you’re certain. Most people aren’t.
Start your CFA
AUTHOR SAYS: A great way to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
I SAY: Agreed. However, a huge commitment (recommended study time=250 hours) if you’re not sure. That being said, more education is never a bad thing.