Tips for Finding Your First Finance Job

Dona DeZube, Monster Finance Careers Expert
You’re about to graduate with a finance, accounting, economics or business degree. How do you parlay that achievement into a great job? Just as you did when you wrote all those term papers, the first step is to pick a topic, or in this case, a niche.Finance degrees usually lead to jobs with corporations or financial institutions. Corporate jobs include analysts, who make strategic business decisions, and accountants, who budget and track spending. At financial institutions and insurance companies, work is transaction-related. You could evaluate risk as an underwriter, work in financial planning or sell stock.

To narrow your options, review your college career. Ask the professor who taught your favorite finance class what job is most closely related to the subject he teaches and for referrals to companies that hire for that position. In addition, look for companies whose products or services are related to your favorite extracurricular activities.

Another way to think about where you fit in finance is to consider whether job security or salary is most important to you, suggests Dan Lynch, assistant director for recruiting services at the University of Miami’s Toppel Career Center. “You can’t have security with salary right out of school,” he says. “If your primary goal is money, go into sales, because there’s no ceiling.” But there probably is a floor — salespeople typically earn only a small base salary, and if you don’t sell well, you won’t last long.

Work the Employer Angle

Instead of focusing on a specific job, set your sights on companies. The local business journal can be an excellent source of information on midsize and fast-growing companies in your market, says Susan Terry, director of the University of Washington Center for Career Services. Make a list of 10 local companies you’d like to work for, and set up Monster Saved Searches to alert you when those companies list jobs on Monster. Review the listings to learn more about the types of finance positions they’re looking to fill.

Networking 101

Start networking today. “It’s really important that seniors take advantage of every on-campus opportunity to connect with companies,” Terry says. “Maximize your use of the services that are offered by the career center.” Join student clubs that invite employers to visit. Attend on-campus company information sessions and off-campus career fairs. Ask if the finance department can arrange internships or has other relationships with finance employers such as consulting deals, she adds.

“Look at professional organizations where you can become a member inexpensively and maybe bridge with employers who don’t have ties to your university,” Terry suggests. Contact alumni who already work at your target companies or industries to arrange informational interviews.

Make Something Out of a Little

Even if you have only limited work experience, you can still have a great finance resume. “Draw upon your education,” says Monster Resume Expert Kim Isaacs. “Put in your classes, your knowledge base and special projects.”

Include jobs unrelated to finance, but don’t list your duties. “Talk about accomplishments in those positions,” Isaacs says. “Say, ‘Was entrusted to train new wait staff based on my leadership potential.’ Draw out your transferable skills.”

Remember to customize your career goal statement and resume for each job. “If you’re going in multiple directions, create multiple resumes — your financial analyst version and your sales version,” Isaacs says.

The Monster Resume Builder will take you through the resume-writing process step by step. If you’d rather have a professional handle the chore, turn to a resume-writing service, such as Monster’s.

Finding a Job Is a Job

If you want to find a really great finance job, you’ll need to put a lot of effort into your search. From now until graduation, think of your search as a part-time job. Make a list of your job search-related tasks, and schedule time to do at least one each day.

You won’t start collecting a paycheck for this work until graduation, but knowing that you’ve got the right job lined up will make the effort more than worthwhile.

Source: http://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/find-your-first-finance-job

Investment Analyst: Job Description & Average Salary

What’s it like being an accountant?

DO YOU LIKE NUMBERS? A CAREER AS AN ACCOUNTANT MAY BE A GOOD FIT FOR YOU. CHECK OUT THIS ACCOUNTING JOB DESCRIPTION TO LEARN MORE.

Accountants often get a bad rap for being brainy paper-pushers who squint at long lists of numbers all day, but that depiction misses out on the true essence of accounting. So, then, what is an accountant? An accountant prepares financial documents and checks those documents for accuracy, and he or she may make recommendations based on an organization’s or individual’s financial status. People who work in the field provide an indispensable service by helping their clients ensure solvency and grow in prosperity.

Do you like numbers? A career as an accountant may be a good fit for you. Check out this accounting job description to learn more.

What Can You Expect from an Accounting Job?

Responsibilities

An accountant’s primary function is to organize financial data and make recommendations based on that data. However, it isn’t really fair to make sweeping generalizations about what accountants do because there are several different types of accountants. While the bare bones of each accounting field might be the same, the specifics can vary widely.

The main types of accountants are:

  • Financial accountant
  • Management accountant
  • Tax accountant
  • Government accountant
  • Project accountant
  • Forensic accountant
  • Social accountant
  • Public accountant

The duties and job description of the types of accountants may overlap.

Depending on an accountant’s specialty field and position within a company, he or she may perform any of the following duties:

  • Scrutinize financial documents to make sure they are accurate and complete.
  • Prepare financial documents and reports.
  • Offer recommendations to help clients make wise financial decisions.
  • Work to comply with local, state, and federal laws. Stay up to date on these laws as they change from year to year.
  • Keep financial records organized and up to date.
  • Use sophisticated accounting software to make the most of provided data.
  • Help businesses and individuals be more efficient financially.
  • Look for discrepancies in financial data and correct errors.
  • Investigate any oddities in financial statements.
  • Conduct audits for businesses and individuals.
  • Work with fellow accountants to provide comprehensive reports for businesses.

Work Environment

Now that you know what an accountant does, you might wonder what an accountant’s work environment is like.

Accountants typically work in offices. This may be in a corporate office, a government office, or a private office. Because many of the documents accountants prepare and submit are time sensitive, the work environment is often fast-paced. There may often be pressure to meet pressing deadlines. However, even when deadlines rear their ugly heads, it is important that accountants keep their cool so they do not sacrifice accuracy for speed.

Some accountants, particularly tax accountants, may choose to open their own consulting business. This allows for greater flexibility in the workplace. Independent accountants can choose how much to take on so the probability of making errors is greatly reduced.

Accountants may be able to find work in almost any city across the United States. After all, death and taxes are the two universal inevitabilities, right? However, accountants are most in-demand in large cities that have a significant corporate presence.

Boston, Massachusetts is one of the top cities for accountants. According to one estimate, there are 50,000 accountants and auditors in the city. New York City, however, leaves Boston in the dust; the Big Apple has an estimated 140,000 accountants, auditors, and bookkeepers. Other cities where qualified accountants have promising job prospects include Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, and Seattle.

As you learn more about accounting jobs, you’ll likely become familiar with top accounting talent networks across the country. You can research prominent accounting firms and discover what kind of reputations they have for their work environments. Maybe you’ll find one that offers the total package — a good salary, a decent benefits package, and a friendly atmosphere.

Schedule

What kind of schedule can you expect if you enter a career in accounting? Most accountants work at least 40 hours a week. Overtime isn’t uncommon, especially for public accountants who help individuals with their income tax returns. During the annual tax season, public accountants may work between 60 and 80 hours per week. Other types of accountants may also have to work long hours when deadlines demand it.

If you don’t mind working long hours, you may enjoy having an accountant’s schedule. You may be able to find a job that offers nights and weekends off — more time for you to get out on the town! Telecommuting is an option for some accountants, so you might even be able to find a job that lets you work in your pajamas.

What Qualifications Are Required to Be an Accountant?

Education

The education you’ll need in order to become an accountant will depend on your specific career goals. You may be able to find a basic accounting job if you have a certificate in accounting. However, most employers require that job candidates have at least a bachelor’s degree. CPAs, or certified public accountants, always need at least a bachelor’s degree.

The sky is the limit when it comes to education for accountants. Some professionals in the field even have doctorate degrees. To be eligible for the most lucrative accounting positions, you should pursue an MBA in accounting or a Ph.D. in accounting.

There are a few different education tracks that could lead to an accounting job. While focusing on accounting during your education is the most obvious route to an accounting job, you may also choose to pursue an education in business administration and management or general finance.

Experience

The more experience you have as an accountant, the more valuable you will be to employers. A formal education will give you a base for succeeding in your chosen career field, but experience will teach you problem-solving skills and hone your number-crunching abilities.

According to data, almost 25 percent of accountants have between six and 10 years of experience. Only five percent of people in the field have two or fewer years of experience. However, accountants and auditors are among the fastest-growing careers in the field of sports, so it may not be long before fresh accounting graduates are in high demand for sports organizations.

Skills

There are some key skills that will serve you well as you embark on your accounting adventure:

  • Attention to detail. If you accidentally mix up numbers or misplace a decimal point, the consequences could be dire.
  • Organization. You should be able to prioritize your tasks and keep track of many documents.
  • Adaptability. You may be asked to work with a range of different people, and your schedule may fluctuate according to the deadlines for specific projects.
  • Communication. You’ll have to understand your clients’ circumstances, so you need to know how to ask the right questions. You should also be able to clearly convey your recommendations and explain the reasons behind them to people who are not as knowledgeable about accounting as you are.
  • Computer skills. You may have to use sophisticated accounting software.

Salary Expectations

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career as an accountant, one of the first questions you’re likely to ask is, “How much do accountants make?” The average national salary for accountants is $63,712. In San Francisco, the average pay is nearly $10,000 more at $73,647.

If you have a lower level of education, or if you choose to work only part-time, you can expect to make significantly less than other professionals in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the bottom 10 percent of earners in the accounting field make $41,400 or less per year. However, with the appropriate education and experience, you might be able to get a job that lands you in the top 10 percent of earners. People in this group make around $119,000 per year or more.

Job Outlook for Accountants

Projected Growth

The BLS projects that job growth for accountants and auditors will be well above the projected average job growth across all occupations. This projected growth is thanks to a shifting economy and ever-stricter financial laws.

Career Trajectory

When you first enter the world of accounting, you may be given routine tasks that don’t offer much variety or excitement. However, as you grow in experience and education, you will be able to tackle more interesting and varied assignments. You may even be appointed to oversee a team of other accountants. Being a manager in an accounting office will offer increased pay, and it will help you hone your communication skills.

You may eventually earn a position as a controller. A controller is a key component in a business whose job it is to analyze data from different portions of a company and see how they interrelate. Controllers work closely with a company’s chief financial officer (CFO). You may even be able to become a CFO yourself one day.

For those who have the personality for it, accounting is an exciting and rewarding field. If you have a love for numbers, have an eye for details, can communicate well, and don’t mind pressure from deadlines, you could become a powerful force in the world of accounting.

Source: http://advice.careerbuilder.com/posts/whats-it-like-being-an-accountant