I talk a lot on this blog about ways to succeed and how to grow your client portfolio. And that’s certainly important. But while you’re busy tending to your client’s money, it’s also essential that you make time to look after your career as well.
It’s not enough to just find a job; what matters is finding the job that’s right for you.
This is a great time to work in the financial services sector. The opportunities are endless. From banks to brokerage firms, from wealth management companies to insurance companies, new positions keep popping up year after year.
The challenge lies in finding a job that is a good fit for you. If you’ve ever worked a job, even one in your chosen field, that didn’t match your unique talents, skills and career goals, then you know how miserable being in the wrong place can be.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid making a bad professional move. Here are some steps to ensure that you and a financial firm are a good match.
We begin by knowing what to look for in a firm. Finding a place where you’ll be happy and successful involves a lot more than just replying to a job posting on Indeed.com. You will want to spend some time looking into the company first and learning all you can about it. How do you do that? The same way we learn everything else in life: By asking questions. Lots of questions.
For starters, what type of technologies do they currently use? If you’re just beginning your career in wealth management, you’ll probably be right at home working on the latest platforms that operate on the newest software. You’ll naturally feel comfortable in that environment. But what if the company’s tech stack is several generations behind what others are using? (And believe me, there are far too many companies in that boat.) Big problem! It wouldn’t take long for you to feel frustrated by not having the proper tools to perform at your best level. Then it would just be a matter of time until that frustration spilled over into other areas, and suddenly you’ve got a major headache on your hands.
Conversely, working for a firm that stays on top of ever-changing software dynamics can feel like a dream come true. So, it’s especially important to invest time in checking out how the prospective employer operates.
Likewise, you’ll want to be sure to explore how the firm processes its client services. To put it another way, how do they carry out their activities from the moment they sign a new client until the day that account closes. Are you comfortable with their business model and professional approach? Can you picture yourself productively functioning within it? Remember, these are questions only you can answer. So be honest with yourself.
Here’s something you’ll want to know that job seekers (especially those just launching their career) often overlook: What type of clients does the firm specialize in serving? Does that connect well with your expertise, interests and background?
A critical question to ask is: How does the firm facilitate client leads? Will you be expected to spend hour upon hour cold-calling off a paper list? Or does the company take a more modern, integrated approach to acquiring new clients? The answer could go a long way in determining your future prospects.
Finally, what’s the daily work environment like in the firm? Is it corporate or casual? Buttoned-down or laid back? Is it a team atmosphere, or does everyone just do their own thing? Are there opportunities for mentoring within the firm where a more experienced hand can show you the ropes and guide you along the career path that’s right for you?
This may seem like a lot of work just to get a job. But remember this—you spend the biggest chunk of your week at the office. It just makes sense to be sure you are spending that time in the right place.