Your Career Change: Career change to Finance is the fourth guide in our Career Change series. We put the spotlight on a career and how to transition into it. In this guide, you’ll discover the benefits of changing careers to finance and the steps you need to take to make the switch.
Finance is a fast-moving and dynamic industry with a plethora of career opportunities. In fact, there were over a million financial services jobs in the UK in Q1 2022.
If you have a passion for numbers, problem-solving, and helping others reach their financial goals, a career in finance could be the ideal fit for you.
Plus, with high demand for talented finance professionals and excellent earning potential, it’s the perfect choice for career changers looking to expand their job prospects.
We break down everything you need to know to make a career change to finance and how to get started in this ever-evolving industry.
Should I Make a Career Change To Finance?
Making a career change is a huge life decision. As such, it’s essential that you weigh up the pros and cons before taking the leap.
To help you, we’ve rounded up the advantages and disadvantages of a career change to finance.
- Competitive salaries: A career in finance can be extremely lucrative, with many employers offering competitive remuneration, bonuses, and benefits.
- Development opportunities: The finance industry spans a diverse range of job roles, including investment banking, accounting, and auditing. This means there are plenty of career opportunities and room to develop skills in different areas.
- Transferable skills: Professionals in the finance sector develop an assortment of valuable transferable skills, such as problem-solving, analytical skills, and numeracy.
- Dynamic industry: The finance industry constantly evolves and presents professionals in the sector with new challenges and opportunities to grow.
- Demanding schedule: Investment banking and wealth management are two particularly demanding finance roles. Both require long hours and a lot of dedication, making it difficult to strike a good work-life balance.
- High-pressure work environment: The financial sector is known for being a high-pressure environment, especially when managing large accounts. So, stress management is key to avoiding burnout.
- Competitive industry: Thanks to its lucrative salaries and opportunities for career progression, the finance industry is highly competitive. As a result, it can be tough for career changers to stand out from the crowd and land an entry-level role.
- Technical skills required: Most finance roles require a number of technical skills, such as accounting, financial modelling, and familiarity with business intelligence tools. Therefore, you may need to retrain to successfully start a career in finance.
While there are significant benefits to making a career change to finance, it’s not the right career path for everyone. As a result, it’s important to do your research to make sure it’s a good fit for your skill set, goals, and values.
Changing Careers To Finance: What Skills Do I Need?
You’ll need a combination of technical and soft skills to thrive in the fast-paced world of finance.
Here are some of the key skills you’ll need to hone:
- Analytical skills: You’ll need to be able to analyse complex financial data and make informed decisions.
- Communication skills: Many finance roles involve working closely with clients or stakeholders, meaning strong communication skills are a must.
- Teamwork: Most finance roles require teamwork, so robust collaborative skills are essential.
- Adaptability: Finance is a fast-evolving industry, making it important for professionals in the field to adapt to new technologies, regulations, and processes.
- Problem-solving: Having a solid knowledge of financial systems, principles, and processes is just the beginning. Finance professionals also need to be able to tackle complex problems and offer clients personalised solutions.
- Technical skills: Depending on the role, you’ll need a range of technical skills, such as data analysis, financial modelling, and accounting.
These skills will provide you with a solid foundation and prepare you for the challenges financial professionals face.
Your Career Change: How To Change Careers To Finance
If you’re ready to make a career change to finance, here are some steps you can take.
1. Research the professional landscape
The first step in transitioning to a career in finance is doing your homework. Analyse the finance industry to get a clear idea of:
- The different job roles available
- The skills and qualifications required for each role
- Industry news, events, and trends
- Potential career paths
2. Grow your network
Networking is hugely important when changing careers. Not only does it help you make connections and gain industry insight, but it’s also a great way to find job opportunities.
Here are some ways to network when changing careers to finance:
- Attend industry-specific events: Look for conferences, job fairs, meet-ups, and webinars to network with other finance professionals and build a solid list of professional contacts.
- Grow your social media presence: Try using social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to network with like-minded professionals. Start by joining finance-related groups and engage in discussions and threads. Then, start sharing industry-related content and connecting with other finance professionals.
Finally, reach out to industry professionals and ask if you can pick their brains about the finance sector, career paths, and advice on getting started in the field.
Read our tips on building a personal brand for more ideas.
- Volunteer: Volunteering is an excellent way to develop hands-on experience in the finance industry and build your network at the same time. So, it’s worth reaching out to local NGOs and charities to see what opportunities are available.
Networking is an opportunity to build connections within the sector, gain industry insight, and boost your chances of successfully changing careers to finance.
You may also be interested in 👉🏿 Networking tips for career changers
3. Tailor your CV
Crafting a well-written CV will seriously improve your chances of landing your first finance role. That said, it can be tricky if you lack experience in the industry. If that’s the case for you, don’t get disheartened. Instead, focus on a skills-based CV that highlights the key competencies you have and how they can transfer to finance.
The key is to tailor your CV to fit the job role and company. This means showcasing examples of how your skill set can be of value in the world of finance.
Need help revamping your CV? Take a look at our guide on writing a career change CV. It’s packed with advice on optimising your CV and standing out in a sea of applicants.
4. Do an adult internship or apprenticeship
Building experience in the finance sector can be tough, but it’s not impossible. Taking on an adult internship or apprenticeship will equip you with the experience and skills you need to break into the industry.
Plus, many organisations offer high-performing interns and apprenticeships a job at the end of the programme, making it a great way to get a foot in the door.
Retraining is the best way to build the essential soft and technical skills you need for a career change to finance. Fortunately, the UK is home to a diverse range of finance retraining courses to best suit your budget, lifestyle, and goals.
When opting for a retraining course, it’s important to consider your current level of education, budget, career goals, professional background, the reputation of the course provider, and the time commitment.
It’s also important to research the job market and your target role to analyse the demand for qualified professionals and the required skills.
You may also want to look into what funding options are available to you.
By taking all of these factors into account, you can choose the course that aligns best with your needs.
Here are some of the best retraining courses for starting a career in finance:
- ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants): A globally recognized certification that is popular for people looking to start a career in accounting, finance, or auditing.
- CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst): A globally recognized certification that is perfect for people looking to start a career in investment banking, asset management or equity research.
- CISI (Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment): A globally recognized certification that prepares you for a career in investment banking, financial planning, or wealth management.
- CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants): A globally recognized certification that sets you up for a career in management accounting, financial management, or business analysis.
- AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians): A vocational qualification that develops your skills for a career in bookkeeping, accounting, or financial management.
Bonus read 👉🏿 5 professional courses for career changers
Changing careers to finance can be a challenging but rewarding process. The finance industry offers a wide range of job opportunities, high earning potential, and transferable skills. However, it’s essential to consider all your options before taking the leap.
For many, the benefits of changing careers are significant. Changing careers to finance is a chance to embark on an exciting and rewarding new chapter. Plus, the demand for talented finance professionals is high.
To make sure it’s the right career path for you, we recommend doing plenty of research and speaking to professionals in the field. They will be able to provide you with guidance, recommendations, and advice on the retraining process.
Once you’re sure it’s the right choice, it’s time to retrain and update your CV. It may take time to get your qualifications, but the sooner you begin, the sooner you will qualify.
Be sure to regularly check our dedicated career change jobs board to find finance roles near you. We have everything from career change jobs with no experience to jobs for good communicators.
For more advice on changing careers, we’ve compiled a list of career change support and resources to guide you.