You are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in finance because you are focused on building a successful career. However, your efforts to improve your career should not end with graduation. There is so much more to achieving success and finding satisfaction in your work than a bachelor’s degree and entry-level employment can provide. Here are a few goals you might set for yourself to push yourself to new and greater heights in your finance career.
Advance Your Education
A bachelor’s degree might be enough to qualify you for an entry-level position, but it is generally considered the bare minimum of education requirements in the finance field. To differentiate yourself from the crowd of finance position applicants and to improve your career prospects now and into the future, you should pursue a graduate degree. While you gain real-world work experience, you might enroll in an online master’s in finance program, through which you will study advanced information and practices that will hone your financial knowledge and skill. What’s more, employers may be willing to cover some or all of your tuition as they, too, benefit from a more highly educated financial professional.
Earn Valuable Certifications
In many professional fields, certifications demonstrate to employers that a certain worker has specific skills above and beyond their formal education. There are many different certifications you can pursue within finance, to include:
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)
Chartered Market Technician (CMT)
While many certifications have distinct requirements, most involve some coursework and an exam. Again, your employer may be willing to cover costs associated with certification, so you may ask about professional development programs at your firm.
Find a Mentor
The benefits of mentorship are well-documented, and research confirms that professionals who engage with mentorship see greater career success. Through a mentor in the finance field, you can gain access to a wealth of real-world experience, which will lead to valuable connections, practical career feedback and advice, professional and personal accountability, reasonable support and encouragement and more. There are many different ways to find a mentor: via networking, within your employer’s management, from the faculty of your degree program, through a local professional association and more.
Increase Your Salary
Everyone enjoys making more money. Though even entry-level finance salaries can be enviably high, you might make increasing your salary an attainable career goal. Raises can be achieved by boosting your credentials — through education and certification — and by job hopping to new employers every few years. You might also simply ask your employer for a raise if you can demonstrate that you are going above and beyond to achieve business success.
In addition to a boost to earning potential, management positions in the field of finance offer outstanding opportunities to influence business decisions. Financial leadership works directly with other corporate leaders, creating business strategy that can lead directly to corporate success. However, breaking into management is easier said than done. In addition to high-quality qualifications, you will need a certain number of years of real-world work experience before you will be considered for your first management role. From there, you can climb the career ladder to high-powered positions, like CFO.
Become a Mentor
Once you feel comfortable and confident in your career position, you might consider paying your success forward and becoming a mentor, yourself. Mentors experience benefits from the mentor-mentee relationship, as well; sharing your knowledge and skill can help strengthen both, and forging relationships with a younger generation of financial professionals keeps your network fresh and your perspectives broad. You might push for a formal mentorship program within your company to make the process of finding and meeting with mentees simpler.
Start a Business
Not every financial professional has entrepreneurial dreams — but if you do, you should make launching your own business an important career goal. Entrepreneurship is difficult work, and you should only engage with it once you feel certain in your ability to run every aspect of a business. Fortunately, your experience in finance will help you achieve startup success as financial expertise is remarkably important to budding businesses.
A bachelor’s degree is a good first step into a finance career, but there should be many more steps to follow. With the right goals pulling your career forward, you should find yourself achieving career success in no time.