As summer comes to a close and school starts, the pressure of “what’s next” looms on the minds of many college seniors and their professors and families. Landing a stellar career opportunity post-graduation can be attainable with preparation done throughout the year. Though there is no perfect formula to ensure career success, seniors seeking entry into the financial planning profession can utilize some of the following steps to optimize their senior year.
Timing Your Job Search: One of the most common discussions we have with both candidates and clients is the timing of your search. Because the school year and thus the hiring cycle happen seasonally each year, there are some timeframes to keep in mind as you begin your search. Though it is never too early to begin your search, it is important to note that many smaller firms don’t begin to seriously consider spring graduates until around January. As the school year begins and there are many job fairs and the excitement of career opportunities, note that firms may be looking for more immediate hires during the fall semester (applicable to December graduates). Some May graduates also get hired in the fall, and there are many soon to be graduates that receive offers following a summer internship. Strive to be ahead of the game, but don’t be discouraged if activity doesn’t begin to pick up until closer to your graduation date. For more on timing your search, watch our featured video.
Firm Research and Outreach: Regardless of the timing of your search, it is imperative that you do adequate research on firms and the corresponding career opportunities. When considering opportunities, you should have a good understanding of the firm, its clientele, the responsibilities of the role, and future growth opportunities. If you want to take it a step further, reaching out to firms in your area or areas of interest may serve you well in knowing the opportunities that are available and that may become available. The more research you do on various firms, the better idea you’ll have on what is the best fit for you.
Seeking Guidance from your Program Director or Professors: Professors and professionals within your program are one of your greatest resources as a career seeker as they are primed in working with new entrants to the industry as well as current financial planners. These professionals will likely be helpful with mock interviews, polishing up your resume, and fine-tuning your delivery of financial planning or related industry knowledge that you’ve gained during your time in school. Overall, the directors and professors within your program are a great sounding board and liaison toward your next steps. Keep in mind that your professors have teaching and research obligations and are not responsible for getting you a job.
The common theme of these helpful tips is that networking is key! It is important to utilize your current network as well as continue to build connections as you work through your senior coursework and subsequent job search. Additionally, attending conferences and seeking out externships are ways in which you can broaden your financial planning knowledge as well as meet other industry professionals. The job search for each new financial planner will look different as no firm, opportunity, or individual is the same. As you take on your senior year, keep in mind that you are in control of your knowledge, next steps, and your network. Ask questions, do research, dream big, and overall feel encouraged that your next step will be a great one and that you will be well-prepared to start your career in the financial planning industry.
If you’re interested in beginning your journey in financial planning or are looking to make a change, submit your resume here, or check out our list of top-tier opportunities in financial planning firms nationwide here. The team at New Planner Recruiting is eager to help you on your way to ultimate career success.