One of the most popular questions amongst career changers is: “How do I market myself to employers when I don't know what they want?” The reality is, if you can figure out how to market your current skill set and confidently show how these things can be used in a different career, you will have a much better likelihood of success. This month, we will walk you through what characteristics to focus on when changing careers to become a financial planner and how to emphasize the important skills you have learned over a lifetime.
Financial planning is a people based profession. Sure, there are numbers and calculations too, but the planners that tend to have the most success usually have well above average people skills. When you’re working with clients, understanding and being able to relate to them is important for building relationships. If you have any experience with building relationships and being relatable in your previous role, this can directly translate to working with clients in the financial planning profession. Clients want to be able to trust you. Here are some ways you can build trust:
- Get to know them by asking them about their everyday lives. Clients are not interested in opening up to you if you don’t seem interested in what's actually going on in their lives.
- Be a reliable source to them. If you show the initiative that you are there to help when they need it, this will build on their trust with you.
- Keep open lines of communication with them. If you don’t communicate, wires get crossed. When you have open communication, this allows for a successful relationship.
As a career changer, this can be even harder to do. By asking them notable questions and engaging in what's important to them, you build that sense of trust. When changing careers, hone in on this skill set of working with people and caring for them, as this can go a long way.
If you have managed projects and/or people, highlight these in your cover letter, resume and in your interviews. Here are several examples of how you could show you skill set on your resume:
- Monitored the process of building the X project to ensure successful completion and implementation.
- Managed a team of 20 individuals and trained them on xyz.
- Experienced in listening to client needs and successfully implementing changes in order to improve practices going forward.
Employers look for these skills when searching for the right candidates because they can take significant time to develop. Managing people can be difficult and many financial planning firm owner founders would rather not spend time doing this. That’s where you come in - if they can delegate this function to you, it makes you much more valuable from their perspective. Managing people can be difficult and many financial planning firm owners would rather not.
Having undergone any sort of leadership training, or even experiencing great leadership from someone else can give you a leg up in being successful in a different career. It’s important to give examples of how you may have utilized or implemented being in a leadership role both on your resume and in an interview.
Leadership ability is highly transferable to the financial planning profession. Some examples of leadership skills you may have experience with could include:
- Being on the leadership team at your current firm or company
- Brainstorming new opportunities for your team and taking initiative to see them through
- Joining a local non-profit chapter where you could gain experience leading and engaging with other professionals.
These are just a few examples you could include, but there are plenty of others you can use on your resume in this instance.
Odds are you have probably been managing your own financial affairs which do give you some experience, credibility, and relatability. Keep in mind that financial planning clients are seeking wisdom, experience, guidance, and confidence from their planner. You are going to be better positioned to effectively guide clients if you have been through market downturns, and other life events such as births, deaths, divorces, illnesses, empty nest, etc.
Changing careers can be challenging, but becoming a financial planner is worth it! Make sure you are utilizing the valuable skills you have developed over the years to help get your foot in the door and launch your successful second career as a financial planner. these skills on your resume, giving specific examples as to how they were used and how they can be applicable in a new profession. Believe it or not, you probably have a lot of the necessary skills needed to be successful in a different job, you just have to think about how they are transferable and use them for the greater good.
If you are entering the financial planning profession or seeking the perfect fit with a top-tier financial planning firm, submit your resume here or pursue our openings for entry-level planners. Keep in mind, we only recruit for salaried entry level positions that require no product sales or business development.
We are here to help you in any way we can so you can secure your dream job!