How to become a Financial Analyst with no experience

TheCareerHub, 28th December, 2020


The world of finance is very demanding, especially in today's time. Like any other field, it needs constant efforts to upskill yourself to stay in the competition. The word 'analyst' indicates that the person holding this position must be curious, organised, data-driven and result-oriented.

The role of a financial analyst is no different. A day in a life of a financial analyst covers the following:

  • Gathers information
  • Organises data
  • Performs analysis
  • Derive projections and forecasts
  • Publish recommendations
  • Prepares models, reports and presentations

Did I hear you say I am ready to do all of the above but got no experience? Then let me guide you on how to get a job as a financial analyst.

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The qualification matters

Your academic background says a lot about your ability, especially if you are a fresher looking to get a break. Therefore, start researching the possible courses and certifications you can take based on your interest and capabilities. Perhaps a career counsellor might help you take that decision. You can also take help from your university career centre or career coach. Remember to begin with small steps like diploma and short certification courses. International qualifications like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) ask for minimum relevant experience before enrolment.

It would help if you also considered areas of specialisation that might appeal to you, like research, markets (capital and financial), modelling and valuations, risk, investments, planning etc. Clarity on these things will help you pave your career trajectory.

Building a network is the key.

I cannot emphasise the importance and power of networking. According to the studies, nearly 60 to 70 per cent of the vacancies are filled through referrals. These are the jobs that do not even make it to a company's job portal or career page. Therefore, try to connect with as many people as possible within and outside your circle. LinkedIn is a perfect platform that allows you to see companies operating in a similar line of business and people working in your desired role. Connect with your prospective employers and colleagues, get recommendations from your teachers, and ask your friends to refer you to their company. Sometimes it is not about what you know, but who you know makes all the difference.

Other options you can explore are attending seminars, webinars, and industry events to land your dream job.

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Create your identity

I was the topper of my batch and a gold medallist in mathematics; says who? The hiring manager scans through hundreds of resumes every day. You will only get a chance to showcase your talent once you get an interview. But how to increase your chances of getting one?

It will need some effort to stand out from the crowd. Some of the ways to build a good reputation in the job market and get more visibility are –

  • Tailor your resume to meet the company's needs
  • Build an eye-catching covering letter
  • Gather knowledge and polish your skills
  • Start a blog, page or online channel about related topics
  • Stay updated with the current trends in the industry

This will keep you in the chase and away from depression and self-doubt.

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Be prepared to start small.

I am aware that the thought of million-dollar deals, individual cabins, hefty paychecks, bonuses and golf with the clients attract many people to the field of finance. But you need to wake up and take a reality check. Depending on your background and the economic conditions, you might have to settle for less to get an entry into the world of finance. It might be a summer internship you got from your university placement, apprenticeship, unpaid assignment or work as a junior financial analyst.

Your first salary as a financial analyst may not be USD 50000 per annum, but if you have the willingness to learn, perseverance and courage to take calculated risks, you can reach that number pretty soon.

Another word of caution is to take inspiration from suitable sources. Just because your friend got his first break at Goldman Sachs does not make you a loser. It is easy to get inspired by movies like "The Wolf of Wall Street" and say I want to become one of those. But we should also look at the other side and learn from movies like "The Pursuit of Happiness" and "Jobs."

After all, to succeed at anything in life, you need aptitude, attitude and willingness to learn.


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