Career Paths: Dr. William Sassman Outlines Steps To Break Into The Finance Industry

When it comes to choosing a sustainable profession, there are some industries that may be a bit risky. For example, getting into magazine publishing or textiles can be profitable, but both are currently in decline.

However, one thing’s for sure: money is here to stay. A vast number of opportunities in the financial sector are available now with more expected in the future, from managing wealth to forecasting cryptocurrencies and beyond.

So if you’re looking to break into a new career, or make a move to another one, then considering the finance industry could be a move that pays off – not just for you, but for the clients and managers who you help in making money decisions, says Dr. William Sassman, VP of Finance at Overdraft Control in San Francisco.

But now that you’ve decided that a career in finance is the way to go, how do you go about breaking into it? Dr. William Sassman outlines some steps you can take to become successful in this field, and you don’t necessarily need a PhD (or even a degree in some cases) to achieve it.

Consider Starting as a Financial Analyst

 For recent graduates, stepping into the role of a financial analyst is ideal. Basically, your role as an analyst is to crunch data and report your findings to decision makers, meaning you can play a role in the success of an institution, even at a junior level.

For the undergrad, a financial analyst position is ideal because there is no clear set of educational standards in the field. However, institutions are likely to be more favorable to those with a bachelor’s degree in a financial discipline – such as economics – and having more training under your belt will help separate you in a highly competitive field, says Dr. William Sassman.

There are a number of directions you can go within a financial analyst position, which can land you in a bank, an insurance company, or any other number of institutions that rely on smart financial decisions. While someone starting in a financial analyst position may not earn as much as others in the financial world, you’ll still end up earning more than the median income across the country.

Other entry-level financial positions to consider include personal financial advisor and financial auditor.

Use Your Professional Connections Wisely

Having a frank conversation about your intentions with a contact in the industry can go a long way to breaking into a finance position, notes Dr. William Sassman.

This person can end up being a mentor, and if you show promise they might take you under their wing and show you the ropes. They may also introduce you to key people that can help you get your foot in the door, with or without a degree. Don’t be afraid to ask the contact for a referral.

Consider an Internship

If you don’t have training in finance, then you might be able to get yourself set up with an unpaid internship or even a volunteer role. It may sting financially in the short-term, but the experience you’ll gain could end up paying dividends in the future, says Dr. William Sassman.

If you do have some finance education background, then you could land a paid internship while having a better chance at landing full-time work when the company looks at its intern roster.

Ensure Your Credentials Are Clearly Outlined

Of course, any education and related experience in the finance world will be an asset on a resume. However, while some jobs in the industry aren’t completely reliant on a degree, you might be able to take some stand-alone financial-related courses that help round out your education.

As well as being good with numbers, there are people skills involved in a financial job. You can impress a potential employer by knowing the industry terminology and researching financial topics in books or online from reputable sources. Maintaining a blog about financial topics may also impress the right person.

And like for any interview, researching as much as possible about the company can give you an edge – even if you’re only using it as a stepping-stone, concludes Dr. William Sassman.