Jobs in Banking are in high demand and applicants should be prepared to put in the hard work to prove themselves. The financial sector is fast-paced, and the work is extremely demanding twelve hour days are standard for entry-level positions but if a graduate is willing to put in the time and the effort, the rewards can be substantial.
The financial sector covers Investment Banking, Corporate Banking and Markets. All areas require candidates to have a solid academic grounding, but require different approaches to conducting business in the field.
The majority of work in the financial sector is in London and the City, meaning graduates from other areas should be prepared to relocate.
How to Get a Job in Banking
The biggest area in Banking is Investment Banking. There are several different departments within this area, and each requires a different set of skills, but all require candidates able to work under pressure and willing to work long hours.
The three key areas in Investment Banking are:
1. Research and Analysis
Research and Analysis roles require employees to conduct research and deliver reports on businesses, stocks, shares and varying sorts of equity. Analysts give their opinions on how much a company's shares are worth and draw comparisons to what they are currently selling at, finally offering a buy or sell verdict to the Sales team. The role is vital to the success of the Traders and Sales teams.
Graduates applying for this department need to demonstrate meticulous research skills, in-depth knowledge of the industry and an understanding of market trends.
Sales Teams take the reports from the Researchers and Analysts and contact clients with findings and recommendations, which means that employers look for Sales applicants with the ability to form long-term relationships with clients. Members of the Sales Teams must be able to gain client trust and convince them to trade with the bank.
Candidates for Sales should be able to provide evidence of excellent communication skills, as well as confidence and drive. Sales Teams in banks can spend all day on the phone with clients, so a good telephone manner is imperative.
Trading relies on making the right deal at the right time; buying shares before they rocket and selling before they plummet. Traders work closely with the Sales and Research teams to understand and implement their findings.
Graduates interested in become Traders must be quick and decisive thinkers, able to keep up with developments and with client demands.
Regardless of the specific skills required for each department, candidates for any position in Banking should display the following:
1. Academic Excellence
Banking recruits the best of the best. Classifications of 2:1 or higher are usually required; banks rarely accept anything lower without excellent work experience. Applicants will usually require a degree in a related field such as Maths, Economics, PPE or Computing, though banks will occasionally accept applicants with more traditional academic degrees in the Humanities.
Graduates should be aware that banks look for a history of academic excellence and will ask for A Level results, and possibly GCSEs.
2. Commitment and drive
The long hours and hard work associated with Banking require commitment and persistence. Candidates should expect to undergo a rigorous application process to prove that they are up to the task.
Most banks will require several online applications, tests, psychometric tests and interviews. Candidates should brush up on their technique, and practice as much as possible since competition is fierce. Banks thrive on dynamic employees and driven, ambitious candidates.
3. Interpersonal skills
Banking requires working closely with other departments in a high-pressure environment. Candidates need to be people focused, with excellent communication skills. Teamwork is essential, and candidates should do their best to showcase any experience which may display their interpersonal skills.
4. Excellent Numeracy Skills
It should come as no surprise that graduates wanting to go into Banking should have a head for numbers, and be able to juggle figures quickly and efficiently. Candidates should be able to provide evidence of their numeracy skills such as experience working a part time job which included cashing up in a shop, or serving as a treasurer for a university society or sports team.