Should I still apply for finance placements and internships?

With all the credit crunch news in recent weeks you might be forgiven for thinking that the entire world had collapsed and there were no more jobs to be had in banks and the finance sector.

However, before you wail in anguish and turn your back on this career path, lets take a look at some of the facts:

  • The world hasn’t ended
  • There are still banks and finance companies around
  • These companies need people
  • When times get better (as they always do), they will need even more people with skills and ideally experience to help them do business. If you managed to get a placement or internship in the meantime, that puts you in a great position.
  • Finance departments of organisations also need people (e.g. Management Accountants)

Some more facts…

  • At our recent Finance, Business & Management Fair 58 exhibitors were recruiting for finance roles, and of those 38 were offering internships and placements!
  • We have advertised over 80 internships, placements and placement schemes so far this year.
  • Finance recruiters have been telling us that they really want to carry on recruiting students and graduates, as your skills can help them drive forward the company in future years. They may stop recruiting experienced hires for a while, may even shed a few jobs, but the message is that if they stop recruiting graduates that can harm their competitiveness a few years down the line, so they don’t want to do that.

Now, its also true that at the moment, getting a job in this sector is going to be even more tough than it was before. But it was always a competitive career path to go into, so whilst the number of applicants per job might have increased, what’s really changed?

If you are genuinely interested in finance, take this as a realistic eye opener on what working in the city can be like. Whilst we have had a sustained boom period, the markets are not plain sailing and there will no doubt be other gloom times in the future (as well as good times), so if you are keen on investment banking for example, you will need a healthy risk tolerance.

If you haven’t stopped reading by now and are still interested, you might be asking ‘so what do I do to navigate these uncertain times?’. Well, we could learn a lot from the very ideas finance professionals use. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, for one. Diversify your portfolio. Hedge your bets. Assess your own risk. Basically, think of a back up career option, what happens if you don’t get the placement or job that you want. Or even, what happens if a few years down the line something happens and your career path becomes a rocky road? The Careers Service can help you here. If you haven’t already visited us, we have information ressources you can pick up, and loads more we can point you to. Talk your ideas over with a Careers Consultant.

How do you stand out from the deluge of other candidates? Do your research… I mean really do it. Understand the companies, what areas they work in. Speak to them at presentations, fairs. Read the FT regularly from now on. Make yourself stand out, get involved with student societies, take on responsibilities. All these things can give you skills they will want to see.

Oh, and don’t wait too long to apply! Some of the investment banks and other finance firms have closing dates in Nov. Others will be before Christmas, and whilst other companies may have open closing dates, the longer you leave it the more applicants you will be trying to outshine.

Some good places to start researching:

Good luck!

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