Posted by Rebekah McLain on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 12:15
It seems like accounting and finance professionals are in higher demand than cronuts these days. According to a recent Robert Half webinar on hiring for finance careers, some of the major driving forces behind this trend are the need for increased speed and efficiencies, baby boomer retirements and employees leaving for higher-paying positions. This set of factors leads to finance employees and candidates having the upper hand in the current job market.
So it’s not surprising that many are looking to take advantage of the strong candidates’ market and are seeking out new careers in finance. Before you draft your two-week notice or change your major, though, there are a few things you need to know. We asked Robert Half Orlando division director Noel Tiell how to get your search for a finance job off on the right foot.
What degree(s) do you need to succeed?
According to Tiell, a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting helps if you want to work in corporate finance. An MBA will also increase your overall marketability, he says.
What positions should recent graduates consider?
Tiell advises new graduates with finance degrees to consider entry-level or junior financial analyst roles. These positions allow finance professionals to understand how corporate finance looks at operating results. Skills such as budgeting, forecasting, cash flow analysis, month-to-month analysis and financial planning and analysis (FP&A) function, which are needed to advance into a finance manager or operational analytics position, are also developed in the financial analyst role.
What’s the outlook for employees looking to transition to finance?
It can be more difficult for candidates who have been part of the workforce in another sector to land careers in finance. According to Tiell, employers are identifying talented finance and accounting prospects while they’re still in school. They approach candidates with career development opportunities — like internships or mentoring programs — and recruit them the minute they’ve turned the tassels on their graduation caps.
However, it’s not impossible for employees in other sectors to transition into careers in finance. For example, employees who have solid IT skills are brought in to serve as liaisons between IT departments and end users. Professionals with an IT degree or strong IT skills and an MBA can also make strong candidates for data analyst positions.
Regardless of whether you’ve just graduated or are looking to change career paths, says Tiell, “Candidates have to take a more proactive approach in this market than just applying for jobs. They need to differentiate themselves.” The best means of doing this are:
Working with a specialized financial recruiter
Honing communication skills
Getting in front of hiring managers, visiting career fairs and having an appealing resume
Using LinkedIn contacts to find connections to hiring managers
Are you one of the many candidates considering careers in finance? What career development or hiring advice do you have to share? Let us know in the comments section.