How to Pursue a Career in Finance

If you are eager to pursue a finance career, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of landing a great first job in the field and going on to achieve your ambitions. Keep reading for tips on how to get started.

Your Education

First, you need to go to college and get a bachelor's degree. If you already have a degree and are changing careers, you may want to take some finance classes. Depending on exactly what type of specialty you choose, you might eventually want to pursue more education or certifications, such as becoming a certified public accountant. However, to begin with, you should get your undergraduate degree in finance or a related field.

You can get your degree and pay for it with loans from a private lender along with other sources of money for college, such as scholarships. Look for a lender who offers you a favorable interest rate and a repayment plan that you are comfortable with. Eventually, you might want to get an MBA, but most programs look for students who already have some work experience, and you will benefit most if you spend a few years working between your undergraduate and graduate degree.

Interning and Other Work

College is a great time to pursue internships and other opportunities to get real-world experience. Unfortunately, not every internship is paid, and you may feel that you are at a disadvantage if you cannot afford this opportunity. However, there are plenty of other ways that you can network and get experience. Look for a regular part-time job where you get to work with finance. Join any related organizations you are eligible for, whether they are student or professional groups. See if your school can connect you with a mentor.

Choose a Specialty

Finance is a large field. Can you narrow down what type of job you'd like to do and what industry you'd like to work in? You might work in banking or government, entertainment or sports. You could become a financial advisor, a financial analyst or a securities sales agent. You might want to work in New York City on Wall Street or in your hometown on Main Street. Thinking about what you will specialize in while you're still in college can help you direct your studies and the experience that you get so that you are better prepared.

Your First Job and Beyond

At your first job, it will be important to accept that you're the junior member of the team. That will often mean doing unglamorous work, but your willingness to do it with a good attitude will get you far. Look for training opportunities and other chances to show your supervisor that you are eager to learn more and move up. When you leave your first and subsequent jobs to move on to something better, try not to burn bridges. Work on your relationships as well. Some people say networking as though it is an undesirable word, but there is great value in getting to know people, building relationships and maintaining those relationships across years and even decades.