28 November 2017 | Career Advice | Guest Author
While the unemployment rate in the UK recently dropped to 4.9%, it is generally thought that this figure is not a true reflection of the job market as a whole. There remains a fundamental lack of opportunities for skilled workers, for example, which is translating into lower wage growth nationwide. We have also seen the number of retail vacancies fall considerably in recent times, while the delayed impact of Brexit could yet cull opportunities within the financial services sector.
Landing your first financial job role: 3 tips for students
Sadly, the rate of graduate unemployment is higher than the national average, despite a recent decline in the number of qualified students out of work. The situation is even more concerning for graduates who wish to work in finance, as a deceptively weak and volatile economy continues to take its toll.
With this in mind, students will need to think creatively and adopt a proactive approach if they are to successfully land their first financial job role after graduating. Here are some steps to help them achieve this:
Monitor the market and focus on developing transferable, financial skills
The job market is always evolving, regardless of which individual industry you choose to focus on. The financial sector represents a relevant case in point, particularly with the looming spectre of Brexit threatening financial services jobs in the UK.
The issue is that nobody is sure how the UK's separation from the EU will unfold, so students must commit to monitoring the latest developments while also developing a core set of transferable, financial skills. These include in-demand skills such as accountancy and risk management, as they will remain coveted by businesses regardless of how Brexit impacts on the economy.
This will increase your chances of finding financial work as a graduate, as you look to create some sense of security in a volatile job market.
Gain practical skills and work experience
Due to the huge demands placed on students, most are forced to focus solely on their studies for the duration of their chosen course. While this may help you to achieve the highest possible grades and a strong base of theoretical knowledge, however, it does little to afford you the practical skills and workplace experience that employers crave in uncertain times.
You therefore need to use your time wisely, identifying opportunities to build a practical skill-set and earn invaluable experience at work. Those who wish to work with an investment firm could open a demo account through FxPro, for example, and gain real-time experience of trading within a simulated environment. Some of who may also want to volunteer your services to leading financial firms, or seek out internships as a way of gaining first-hand, workplace experience.
Either way, you will need to have a plan that cultivates real world skills in line with your chosen career path.
Build a resume that distinguishes you from the crowd
As you build skills and experience, you will find that you have considerable swathes of data to add to your resume. Make no mistake; you should record your experiences over time, and start building a CV that can empower you when you finally graduate and enter the job market for real.
The longer you work on your resume, the easier it will be to refine it and create a document that affords you a competitive edge over your rivals.
In addition to acquiring and recording new skills, we also recommend that you emphasis the unique attributes and characteristics that make you a valuable candidate for financial sector work. This helps to personalise and embellish your resume, enabling you to shine like a beacon amid a slew of similarly qualified applicants.