There's a question we all ask ourselves in the course of applying for new employment: what, exactly, are hiring managers looking for? In the finance industry, that's an even harder question to answer. There are so many different degrees, certifications and training programs one can engage in and list on their memory that you could be forgiven for mixing some of them up. However, that doesn't mean there aren't very specific traits hiring managers are looking for in the finance industry.
Of course, hiring managers at financial institutions will inquire about specific skills or certifications you may have. And if you're applying for Wall Street jobs, they're going to want to see that you can anticipate future market movements efficiently. But what are the general traits that managers are on the hunt for in the finance industry? We've collected a number of them below and explained exactly why they're so important.
Proven analytical skills
Logical thinking is perhaps the most important quality you can have if you're applying to work in the finance industry. As our own CEO recently explained, showcasing your abilities to break down and analyze data is something you should always do during an interview.
"The ability to demonstrate logical thinking in order to gather and analyze a variety of information is an absolute necessity in the finance field," explained Skiddy von Stade, CEO of OneWire, in an editorial for The Ladders. "Since analytical skills aren't quite innate, being well-versed in analytical experiences ensures a solid foundation. During the interview, showcase your past analytical experiences by giving specifics on what you've encountered."
Experience is obviously one of the primary factors that decides whether you'll be hired enough. It's worth noting that this is as true for young individuals as it is for people who have been working in the industry for 20 years. Nowadays, many companies are going to be looking for individuals who have spent a significant amount of their academic career in internships.
In fact, expecting young applicants to have already worked two or three prestigious internships before applying for an entry-level finance job is now common practice among many hiring managers – so make sure your experience levels stack up, even at a young age.
Demonstrable communication skills
Obviously, communication skills are hugely helpful during the interview itself—creating a natural and relaxed rapport during that conversation is as important as anything on your resume. It's worth it to remember that communication skills are what many hiring managers look for. They don't just want people who can fit into the company culture – they want workers with the kind of positive attitude that will enhance that culture.
A professional attitude
If you plan to work in the finance industry, then you want people to trust you with their savings and assets. And if you want that, then you need to maintain a professional stature, attitude and appearance throughout your career, as our own CEO recently explained.
"Regardless of company culture or client environment, quality finance job candidates exude professionalism in all situations," wrote von Stade in the aforementioned editorial. "A formal tone will establish consistency and trust, and while some environments may be more casual, quality finance job candidates should know how to adapt but also remain professional. This is particularly important throughout your interview, even if your interviewer maintains a more casual tone."
This one should go without saying, because it's expected and valued in all industries, and not just finance: hiring managers want people who they can see becoming company veterans and leaders. One quality you don't want to display during an interview is shyness.
More than anything else: passion!
The one thing that excites hiring managers more than anything else is a display of passion. There are always going to be applicants who can go toe-to-toe with you in terms of experience or skills. So you need to have the x-factor—and in a job interview, that x-factor is going to be your passion.
"The best finance candidates are those who wish to develop in every position they take on," von Stade explained. "If you're dedicated to continued learning and advancement in the finance sector, employers will take notice … Showcase your passion for learning throughout your cover letter and resume, and consider seeking out companies who share this passion."
Keep these skills and their importance in mind when you're crafting a cover letter, prepping for an interview, and engaging in every exchange with a representative from the company that you want to work at. Show them that you care about the company, and that you're excited about the value you can add to it. That'll catch their attention more than anything on your resume!