Head Office : 0161 828 8726

How to Stand Out in the Finance Job Market

Published 13th Apr 2023

The finance sector has over 2.3 million jobs and contributes £100 billion to the UK economy, which means it’s a highly competitive industry to look for a new role in. 

However, there are key skills and areas that you can focus on to make sure you really stand out and secure the job you want – but where do you start? That’s what we’re here to help you with.

Core Skills

Of course, number one on any employer’s priority list is going to focus on ensuring you have the core skills required to succeed in the role. There are so many skills you will have developed throughout your finance career, but some of the key areas that organisations will focus on include:

  • Analytical and communication skills, 
  • Market and industry awareness
  • Using your initiative 
  • Ability to work as part of a team 
  • Ambition for success and driving the organisation forward. 

Tailor Your CV

It may sound fundamental, but if you’re applying for a job in the finance sector, make sure that you highlight your interest, your qualifications and your experience in this area in the CV that you send to prospective employers. 

Perhaps you did an internship in a bank or an insurance company during your degree? This will have given you a deeper understanding of how the industry works, and will demonstrate to employers that not only are you committed to working within it, but that you are determined to succeed.   

Tailor your CV for each individual application, and try to match your relevant experience or qualifications to those that the job ad asks for. Perhaps make a list of all the qualities that the employer is looking for and list your relevant responses to them in your CV? Even if you don’t tick every single box on their list, you can look to adapt other areas of your abilities to suit.

Talk About Your Training!

Most employers these days will be looking for graduates who have at least a 2:1 in their chosen degree – which doesn’t necessarily have to be finance-related! What interests hiring managers more are any relevant qualifications you have – these may actually be a prerequisite for some positions. 

There are numerous organisations that offer training relevant to the career you want. These include: 

Network, Network, Network

LinkedIn is a vast (and free) resource of information and help for anyone who aspires to work in financial services or is looking to take their career further in that sector. Not only can you follow companies that you are interested in working for, but you can also follow interesting individuals – people working in the industry that you aspire to emulate, hiring managers who you hope to impress, and thought leaders who may offer a different perspective on a relevant or current issue. 

Your CV should link to your LinkedIn profile, and should enhance it, giving hiring managers a glimpse into how you interact with other professionals, as well as what you’re interested in, both professionally and personally.

Make sure your profile is professional, relevant and up-to-date – there’s no point directing an interested hiring manager to a profile that hasn’t been updated in a long time. 

You can base your profile on your current job description – highlighting the most important and pertinent aspects of your role – and add anything you’ve learned during your current position – have you undertaken any training? Given any presentations? 

If you’re confident about writing posts, try sharing your thoughts on an aspect of the finance industry that you find interesting, or that has been in the news recently. Interested parties will soon pick up on your knowledge and interest in the subject. Otherwise, a simple comment on someone else’s post is enough to draw attention and shows you enjoy interacting. 

Whether you’re looking for your first finance role or are moving up the ladder, networking can seem daunting but it’s a great opportunity to meet other people within the industry to share news and views, and impress potential employers! 

Networking events enable you to meet professionals across the industry, connect with them and create a network of professional connections who have the potential to help your career either now or in the future. 

Financial services networking events happen frequently, so plan ahead and look at events happening that are relevant to your chosen career path, and book early. 

  • UK Finance, for example, which represents over 300 banking and finance industry firms, offers a series of events and training courses including conferences, dinners, forums and seminars, which cover the latest developments in finance and banking.
  • Women in Banking & Finance (WIBF), a not-for-profit organisation, promotes diversity and gender equality in financial services. It offers low-cost events (which are free to members) which are either in person or virtual and are designed to help the financial services industry realise the value of diversity and inclusion.
  • The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) hosts events for members and students around the UK in various ‘branches’ which offer support both professionally and personally. 

The secret to successful networking is to be interested as well as interesting. Do your research and prepare relevant questions which will demonstrate your knowledge of your subject – but never be afraid to admit that you don’t know something! Above all, try to have fun.

Get in touch

If you are looking for your first financial services role or you’re contemplating taking on a new challenge within the industry get in touch with the specialist recruitment consultants at McCarthy Recruitment on 0161 828 8726 or contact us here.

Join the #1 Best Place To Work In the UK