How to be a Financial Analyst
One of the vast number of jobs out there in the business category is a financial analyst. Financial analysts look at the money related data for companies about products, industries, countries, or regions. They collect and use this data to predict what will happen in the future and decide whether or not a situation will be a lucrative investment or not.
This article will discuss step-by-step how to be a financial analyst.
Get a Bachelor's Degree
To be a financial analyst you will need at least a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree is usually preferred. Popular fields of study for financial analysts are business administration, finance, economics, statistics, and accounting. A degree or experience in a computer science field could also be quite helpful as well. You could gain some of this experience during internships or clubs in school.
- Try to get good grades. Better grades are much more sought after by companies.
- Get involved at your school. Activities outside the classroom are also something a company will look at.
Be an Intern
The next important step is to obtain internships in your field. Companies look for individuals who already have work experience. A good way to come by this is by being an intern at a company. This will give you a chance to learn more about your field while also gaining valuable work experience at the company you intern for. Internships can be either paid or unpaid, but it's a good idea to still do your best either way as the companies you intern for will become references for your future job searches. You also may decide that you want to work for the company and doing a good job during your internship will increase the likelihood that the company would hire you.
- Most companies are looking for about 1 year of work experience to hire someone for the first time.
- Try to get more than one internship from more than one company. This gives you work experience diversity. It also shows that more than one company was willing to hire you as an intern.
Consider a Master's Degree
Although a master's degree is not required to be a financial analyst, obtaining one will be a much more rewarding experience. Many companies in the finance sector of business search for those individuals with master's degrees as they are more educated and hopefully more skilled than those with just a bachelor's degree. It will also make you stand out among the rest of the applicants if you are applying for a new job.
- Master's degrees also typically open doors to management positions in companies.
- Having a master's degree also usually increases your expected salary in a company as you are a more highly skilled employee.
Certification is another resume enhancing route you can take. It certifies that you have certain skills that companies search for. The most likely certification for a financial analyst would be to become a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)- To sit for the exam for this certification you will need 4 years of work experience and to have achieved at least a bachelor's degree. Getting certified as a CFA indicates that you show mastery of financial analysis and investment management. Being a CFA will grant an advantage when looking for a job as you will stand out.
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