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5 skills graduates need to start a career in finance

One of our goals here at polkadotfrog is to find and keep great talent in the East of England. It’s a thriving part of the country which offers numerous opportunities for workers, and the financial sector is no exception.

From start-ups in Cambridge, shipping companies in Suffolk and agricultural firms in Norfolk, employers need staff for roles ranging from entry-level jobs to director roles.

Demand for finance professionals is increasing – especially in Cambridge. Although employers need to expand their teams as quickly as possible, you still need to impress them to bank a job in finance.

You’re expected to be able to demonstrate a winning combination of skills and personal qualities in interviews. Whether you’re graduating this year or you’re a keen sixth former, here’s some advice about some of the most commonly required skills.

  1. Know your numbers

Although it’s an obvious skill, a high-level of numeracy is essential. You might be attracted to the sector for its lucrative salaries and promotional opportunities, however, you should also enjoy working with numbers in a variety of formats.

As well as numeracy skills, having a passion for the work will help you handle the more challenging points in your career and the long hours often required to meet deadlines.

You don’t always need a maths or accountancy degree. For instance, investment fund management requires a 2:1 degree of some sort, but subjects such as business studies and management are helpful.

  1. Time management

The ability to constantly juggle deadlines is crucial, with many finance-related tasks being defined by deadlines, such as the end of the financial year, regulatory and policy changes, board meetings, AGMs, and the publication of interim and annual company reports.

  1. Aptitude for analysis

If you have an analytical mind, you may have the necessary talent to help businesses grow. Financial analysts aim to create successful solutions and strategies for driving a business forward and circumventing market risk. Typical tasks include in-depth number-crunching, interpreting financial data, conducting research across the organisation or industry, and generating statistics.

  1. Clarity in communication

A skill not traditionally related to finance is communication. You’re going to be interacting with people whose specialisms have no connection to finance at all. Therefore, you’ll need to apply your excellent communication and diplomacy skills when explaining complex issues and persuading colleagues to agree to requests such as budget cuts. Such tasks are never easy, so you’ll also need plenty of resolve.

  1. Innovative thinking

With the rise of FinTech and RegTech in the financial services industry, professionals these days need to think creatively and b

e open to embracing new innovations. The old, fuddy-duddy image of the sector is long gone — it’s now a cutting-edge industry harnessing digital technology to produce exciting opportunities for businesses and consumers.

We’re always on the lookout for ambitious graduates who want to work in all areas of finance. Register on our website and sign up for our vacancy alerts, or talk to one of our consultants.