Transitioning to a Career in Finance: Tips to Help Women Achieve Success
Getting started in the financial services industry can seem daunting. It takes time, dedication and determination to turn your passion into a rewarding and lucrative career. Embracing these challenges can lead to big rewards in a fast-paced, dynamic work environment. Edward Jones Financial Advisor Melissa Lenz knows from firsthand experience: “It’s the most rewarding work you'll ever do. Not only do you have the ability to impact individual people's lives, but also the community at large. The people you're meeting and helping aren't just anyone. They are your friends; they are like family. So that’s what you're building, a big family that you'll just happen to work with.”
Check out our favorite advice to help you get started on your way to success in financial services.
1. Develop your soft skills.
A strong educational background in finance and related services is a plus, but what can really help you stand out from other professionals with a similar history are soft skills. These skills include interpersonal communication, listening, team-orientation, attention to detail, charisma and more. “Women tend to be better listeners, and that's what you need to be successful in this role. You have to listen to what your client’s needs are; what they want, what they are excited about, what they desire, etc. If you want to help them achieve their financial goals, you have to really hear what they are first,” says Melissa.
Improve your soft skills by expanding your horizons. Build relationships with your peers and seek out diverse interactions that will help you navigate different business scenarios with people from all walks of life. Set a goal for your progress and practice each day by engaging in conversations and seeking out opportunities for coaching. Developing these skills should be an integral part of your professional continuous improvement process.
Networking goes beyond your social media profiles (make sure those are up to par, too!). Find events and conferences to attend, and meet local, active professionals in the financial services industry. An enriching networking experience will help you build dynamic relationships that often lead to your first job, a recommendation for a promotion or raise, or key advice to take your career to the next level. Brush up on tips like these to get the most out of your networking experiences.
Networking is a common way to meet tenured professionals who can move into a mentorship role, helping you through the duration of your career. This is especially important for women in finance, who seek to help one another reach success and achieve higher-level positions within organizations. “I have never forgotten that the reason why I am where I am today is because of people that didn't know me but gave me their time and energy to make me successful. Mentoring is a way to give back to the women who helped me in the past,” says Edward Jones Financial Advisor, Becky Anderson.
Lastly, networking helps to build vital communication skills that can then be leveraged internally and externally with co-workers and clients. This gives you an edge that goes beyond your resume, differentiating you from other candidates who may not have your diverse exposure and experience interacting with multi-level professionals.
3. Never stop learning.
Many financial services professionals go on to obtain advanced degrees and certifications. Even if you don’t have a desire to go back to school, it is important to stay on top of new industry trends and data that become available in order to provide the highest quality of performance for clients. Other than enrolling in a university, professionals can continue their education through journals and publications, yearly conferences and by joining professional organizations, which routinely hold workshops and other events to educate members about new practices.
There are many more ways to enhance your competitiveness when it comes to breaking into the industry. Consider your career goals and develop a plan to put it in action. A fulfilling career in financial services is waiting for you.
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