5 Soft Skills You Need for a Career in Finance
If you want to make it in the finance world, you need technical skills and an education in finance, economics, or business. But while prospective employers will want you to possess the appropriate qualifications, they’re also going to want you to have the interpersonal skills that banks and firms need to attract and retain customers and stay ahead of the competition.
Whether you want to be an accountant, an analyst, or a banker, you’ll need to bring unique personal skills and talents to the table in order to stand out as a job candidate. Soft skills like the ability to commit, writing and communication skills, and customer service skills will help you fit in with your team and further your organization’s interests. Networking skills can help you get your foot in the door at a company, and climb the ladder when you’re ready. An understanding of industry-wide issues related to the field of finance will help you contribute to shaping an organization’s future.
1. Ability and Willingness to Commit to an Organization
Businesses of all types want to hire candidates who will stick around and build a lasting career with the organizations. Banks and finance firms are no exception. If you’re obviously willing to commit to the organization for an extended period of time, you’ll have an advantage over the hotshot young economist who’s just looking for a stepping stone on the way to a more prestigious or lucrative position with a bigger or more famous firm. Organizations don’t want to spend the time and money to replace an employee, and they’re also concerned that high turnover can affect morale and productivity across the board. Your employment history will tell potential employers whether or not you’re likely to settle in and stay for a while.
2. Writing and Communication Skills
Good writing and communication skills aren’t as common as you might think, and they’re valuable enough that they can help you land a position even when you don’t have a 4.0 from Harvard. You’ll use your verbal communication skills to establish and maintain relationships with clients and interact with colleagues every day. Writing skills will be useful for giving presentations and composing emails and memos. If you can explain complex financial concepts to laypeople without using jargon, that’s ideal.
3. Customer Service Skills
If you think you won’t have to say “How can I help you?” to a customer in order to succeed in finance, think again. No matter what position you ultimately fill, you’re going to need to bring in new customers and keep them happy so that they become old customers. There’s no way to do that without solid customer service skills. If you want to study online for your Master’s in Economics, consider whether you have any professional experience in customer service roles — you can easily transfer those skills over to a career in finance.
4. Networking Skills
Networking skills can be some of the most valuable throughout your career. Solid networking skills can help you get an in for an interview, but they can continue to help you even after you go to work.
Organizations hope that candidates with great networking skills can put those skills to good use making connections that can advance the company’s interests. Your networking skills can help you land accounts and bring in new customers. They can also help you advance when you’re ready.
5. An Understanding of Industry-Wide Issues
You wouldn’t be much of a professional if you had no interest in the industry you’re working in. Finance evolves rapidly, and in order to stay relevant, you need to keep up. Industry changes could mean changes to your own professional role. Employers will look for candidates who have demonstrated their interest in industry matters, through time spent researching and staying educated about industry matters.
You’ll also need to know how the numbers you’re working with relate to the organization as a whole, and explain what they mean to the business plan. You may even need to make financial decisions that could make or break the business in the future, so you need to know not only how the organization functions, but also how the evolving market influences it and how to evaluate opportunities and risks.
If you aspire to a successful career in finance, you’re going to need more than technical knowledge to make it happen. Soft skills can help you put your valuable education to work for your own good and that of your company, so make sure you have them.
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- Whether you want to be an accountant, an analyst, or a banker, you’ll need to bring unique personal skills and talents to the table in order to stand out as a job candidate.
- Soft skills like the ability to commit, writing and communication skills, and customer service skills will help you fit in with your team and further your organization’s interests.
- Good writing, communication, and verbal skills, especially the ability to explain business jargon in simple English is a very valuable skill.
- Finance evolves rapidly which means you must constantly stay up to date with the latest technology and laws, but also be aware of opportunities and risks.