Everyone today wants to make BIG BUCKS when it comes to Finance Jobs; to become a CFO of top paying International Bank, however end up getting no or low paid jobs. Have you ever thought to yourself, WHY?
The answer is extremely simple; make sure you are different from the 1000 people applying for the same job, you have skills the employers are looking for and most importantly, always have the X factor which can then help you get a premium over others.
Now to further simplify the above given formulae. When we talk about Finance Jobs, the employers are always looking for professionals who have the right educational background as the most basic requirement. However with the Bachelors and even Masters becoming the most common and basic level qualification these days, you need something to differentiate from the 1000 applying for the same job. Therefore if they are looking for someone to work at a bank, they would as a minimum expect their prospective employee to have done a Banking course for e.g. a Diploma in Banking and Finance (DBF) in addition to the bachelors or masters. Similarly, Investment Banking firms when hiring for their wealth management department is looking for people who have good fundamental and conceptual knowledge of markets etc. therefore a CFP course (Certified Financial Planner) or CFA would be a bare minimum requirement to start in that organisation. Coming to the Finance Jobs where the requirement would be for a person to know Finance and Accounts, then ACCA course or CA would become the basic requirement for such a profile. As you may have already seen, whenever the employer will roll out any position, it is most commonly seen the first thing they ask for is qualification, hence doing a Banking course, or a CFP/CFA course or ACCA/CA course becomes your entry ticket to the world of high paying finance jobs.
Moving to the next variable in the formulae; making sure you have the right skills. When we look at a finance job, some of the key skills required are accounting knowledge e.g. IFRS, budgeting and forecasting, financial planning and analysis, and domain knowledge e.g. banking job requires banking knowledge etc. Therefore once you have done course like ACCA, CA, CFP, CFA or DBF, you need to start to hone your skills. Make sure you understand your domain extremely well and become an EXPERT, because the employer is not hiring you for what you are but for the skills you have and will bring. As bad as it may sound, unfortunately that’s the truth, in the market today people do not hire basis their emotions but basis their work needs, therefore if you have the skills they need, you are HIRED!
And finally the most important element of the formulae, the X factor! Many people talk about this, very seldom do we actually understand what is really the X factor. To keep it simple, it is the one most unique thing/skill/trait etc. about you that no one else has. I have found the X factor easiest to be incorporated within the personality. Now what do I mean by that, we all love Amitabh Bachchan for the actor and person he is, but mostly his heavy and matured voice. That’s his X factor, because that’s what makes him different from the others in industry. Similarly Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, he’s just like any other trader making big money in the market (and this is true, only few become as famous as he has), but the point he’s known for picking the best share (script) from the market, therefore finding that diamond (script) in coal mine (market) is his X factor. Please don’t confuse this to be skills, as trading in market is a skill, but finding that diamond script is an X factor. And similarly the list will go on with personalities who have this X factor, and because of which they have reached the epitome of their careers.
So to sum it all up, be DIFFERENT from the rest, do the right COURSES at the right time, hone your SKILLS and find your X FACTOR! The finance job market is huge and requires ACCA, CFP, etc. certified professionals, so don’t wait and go for it, the high paying jobs will come after you. All the very best!
Zaheer A Sayed is an ACCA member, currently working as an Associate Director with UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland) as a Financial Controller and have worked in countries like UK, Australia and Bahrain. Also in his free time teaches the ACCA course at Financial Planning Academy, Mumbai (fpa.edu.in) and is a strong advocate of the qualification due to the job opportunities available in the Accounts and Finance sector for the qualified professionals.