Perhaps you’ve been in the same career for some time now… but recently, you feel the urge to switch things up. Sadly, your current job isn’t exciting to you anymore. You want a career that’s financially-focused, fast-paced, and empowering! You have no degree in finance, no previous work experience in finance, and yet, for some reason… You’re dying to know how to get into finance.
Finance can be an amazingly rewarding career path in so many ways. And no, you don’t NEED a degree in finance to make it happen. In fact, keep reading below for our 5 sneaky ways on how to get into finance, without a degree.
Whatever your reason or career background, we’re here to help you figure out exactly how to get into finance!
How to Get into Finance with no degree – in 5 Simple Ways
1. Immerse Yourself in Finance
The first way on how to get into finance is a must! Like any other new career path, you’ll want to be knowledgeable and up-to-date on current events in your field. And finance is no different.
So, sign up for daily updates from the Wall Street Journal and check the stock market daily. Do whatever you have to do to “stay in the know.” People become what they’re surrounded by; so the more you immerse yourself in finance, the better your odds are of finding the people and opportunities you need to get in front of!
Additionally, be sure to educate yourself as much as you can. You can do so independently in your spare time with free resources like the trading simulator on www.Investopedia.com. Or, sign up for a financial boot camp like Wall Street Prep and Training the Street. Resources like this will train your brain on all things finance and prepare you for your awesome career to come!
2. Invest (Time or Money) into a Side Deal
Sneaky way number 2 on how to get into finance really is sneaky! It requires you to be alert at all times, always ready to pounce on a deal when it presents itself.
This trick works well if you already work for a company that is often cutting deals. Or, if you’re typically surrounded by entrepreneurs looking to make new investments.
Whatever it is, next time you see a good deal come up, insert yourself into it. Put some money in to invest or offer your services like,
“Hey! I’m happy to provide your new startup with my social media skills for free! All I ask is that you sit down with me and help me understand this investment/financial decision better.”
Or offer any other way you’re able to pitch in and volunteer in return for a financial learning opportunity. For example video ad editing, T-shirt making, stocking shelves, making copies, etc.
Whether it’s money or time you’re investing, being surrounded by financial deals and people who make them are invaluable. You’ll learn how big decisions are made, and what the day in the life of a financier looks like. Because there’s no better way to create the life you want than by being with people who already live it!
3. Get Employed at a Bank and Work Your Way Up
Obviously there’s no better way to be surrounded by finance than to work in the very epicenter of money: banks! Banks are a great place to figure out how to get into finance because there are many different positions. From customer-facing employees to those who work in the back, there’s no limit on where you can start in finance. Plus, since there are so many positions in a bank, there might be one that aligns with your previous skillset. Like customer service, advertising, or HR.
To make this sneaky tip simple, start as an entry-level finance position or in a position you already know. Try your best, ask those above you lots of questions, and figure out what it takes to get there. We’ll be honest, this might not immediately lead to the finance job you want. But, if you prove you’re a patient, hard worker, odds are high you’ll be next in line for that promotion!
4. Network, Network, Network!
Working in finance can be unique in a lot of ways, but this tip is universal. If you really want to know how to get into finance, the answer is: network. Know the right people, stay in touch with them, and remain on their good side.
One great way to do this is to befriend a freelance financial analyst or consultant. Someone who creates their own schedule doing what they love: managing money. Ask to shadow them, observe what they do, and see if you could see yourself doing it.
If so, ask them advice on how to get your foot in the door. Just like many other careers, doing finance on a freelance basis is a real possibility! And with a little bit of networking and a lot of hard work… You can even choose your own clients and your own hours!
5. Learn How to Sell Yourself
Our final crucial piece of advice on how to get into finance is to know how to market yourself. Let’s face it. If you don’t have a degree in finance, you might not be the first in line for a position. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not qualified.
Look up descriptions of the financial job(s) you want. Note the skills they are looking for, and see which ones you already have. Reorganize your resume and cover letter to highlight your finance-friendly skills.
Maybe you’re great with Microsoft Excel, mental math, problem-solving, and communication. All of these might mark you as hireable in a financier’s book!
And, if you seem to be missing a lot of skills, don’t get bummed out. Instead, think of it as a list of skills you’ve yet to acquire. Pick three achievable skills i.e. learn stock market basics, how to create financial projections in Excel, and close deals. Dedicate one month to building each skill and polishing your resume. Then you can start sending out your resume with confidence that you’re more qualified for the job.
Financial Certifications without a Degree
Whether you realize it or not, there are plenty of financial certifications and careers you can get without a degree. We’ll list a few here so you can see if any sound like a good fit! And, to help you understand them better, we’ll list them in order from least to most demanding. With the first certification requiring only 10 weeks of coursework, to the final one which requires one year.
● Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC)
This is probably one of the best certifications to look into if you’re eager to get one quickly. That’s because the CMFC only requires a ten week course. After that, pass your exams through the College of Financial Planning, and BAM! In just three months time, you’ve already mastered one of our sneaky ways on how to get into finance.
● Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
After 150 hours of classes and passing a test you can have this certification! Typically this one is held by tax preparers, accountants, and financial analysts.
● Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
For this certification you can look to the American College of Financial Services for more information. It is similar to the CFP (below), but is more “niche.” Think small businesses or family separations. To get this certification, you’ll need to complete four months worth of courses and a test.
● Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
Would you like to work in a bank analyzing financial risks? If so, this certification might be for you! The GARP administers the two part 8 hour test that stands between you and this certification. 200-250 hours of study are recommended for you to pass this exam.
● Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
This certification isn’t for the faint of heart, but getting it means you can land big clients! Coursework, 250 hours of study, and a 7 hour test is what stand between you and this financial certification.
● Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
The CFA Institute issues this financial certification. It’s for people who’d like to become skilled in financial securities and exams. Similar to the CFP, this certification is no walk in the park – 300 hours of study are recommended! More specifically, extensive coursework plus three different levels of examinations are required to get this certification.
● Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)
Are alternative investments like hedge funds more your thing? If so, buckle down for a year’s worth of coursework with the CAIA Association.
How to Break into Investment Banking
If being the “Wolf of Wall Street” feels like you’re calling, then perhaps you’ve been looking into investment banking. Investment banking is essentially being a financial advisor, but on a corporate level. It’s a fast-paced job that demands strong, educated decision-making skills. Typically, only those who have gone to college for finance or hold an MBA are considered for such positions.
However, like always, there are a small handful of people who break into investment banking without these credentials? How?
They’re not afraid to network! They use their financial contact list to the best of their abilities to get their foot in the door.
They’re not afraid of internships. No matter their age, they’re willing to do whatever is necessary to make a BIG impact and get noticed.
They’re not afraid to start in an entry-level position. Even if they don’t start with the ideal position, they know they have the potential to work their way up.
They use their past and their background to their advantage.
Many companies have special hiring programs for veterans or people of diverse backgrounds. Additionally, many big banks are more than willing to hire people who have a history in law or consulting.
Changing your career to finance might not be the easiest thing you’ve ever done. But, if you have a passion for making deals and educating people on their financial future… Then it might be the best decision you’ll ever make!
As long as you’re willing to put in the work, study hard, network, and rebrand yourself, it’s entirely possible.
Have you recently changed your career to finance? Do you have any advice for others on how to get into finance? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!
And be sure to tune back in next week for more, exclusive financial tips, tricks, and advice from EveryDimeMatters!
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