It’s no secret – volatile markets can be stressful. We’re already starting to see firms who charge via assets under management (AUM) slow the hiring process or temporarily put it on hold. What does this mean for aspiring planners seeking opportunities? Until fears associated with the economy, market and overall way of life are calmed, the career opportunities in financial planning might not be as plentiful as they were just a few short months ago. There are still firms hiring so don’t get discouraged but the effort required for candidates to get hired into quality positions will be higher. So as you prepare to up your game, keep these four tips in mind when trying to get hired in a down market.
- Top firms still need top talent. When markets are volatile firms rely on the expertise of their employees to an even greater extent due to increases in client service and adding new clients. Many ‘do it yourselfer’ and ‘validator’ client types realize they cannot handle their financial planning themselves so end up hiring a professional in times like this. In most cases, the work load increases when the market drops. The best managed firms know this and have been preparing for it for the last decade. Now is a good a time to re-evaluate your value proposition and ensure you can articulate it clearly and confidently in any situation and without notice.
- Be on your A game! When then economy slows the job market becomes more competitive. Though many firms are still working diligently to find candidates, firms can become more selective. This means that you can’t overlook the small things. Check your resume and cover letter – and once you think it is perfect, review it a few more times. You wouldn’t believe how many errors we see on candidate resumes that could easily be fixed with a few extra minutes and/or another pair of eyes. Focus on refining answers to common interview questions and don’t hesitate to practice in front of a mirror. Also, take the time to write a follow-up email and a handwritten note for any professional you encounter that takes their time to talk with you. In a tech driven world, they make you stand out above the rest.
- Leverage your network. The financial planning profession is filled with phenomenal individuals who are drawn to financial planning because they are passionate about helping people. The best candidates are those who can demonstrate passion for the profession and commitment to the financial planning career. Spend time studying the firms in your area/network and reach out to them and ask about their pain points and how you might help. Be flexible and open to shadow opportunities and internships, contract work, anything to get your foot in the door. Most of the time if you are a solid contributor firms will find a way to keep you around even if their revenue is down.
- Reach out to us! If you are seeking an opportunity in the financial planning profession, reach out to us. We’re always excited to learn more about you, what you are looking for, and how we might be able to help. Our firm’s founders have been through the 2001-2002 and 2008-2009 market crises and several pandemics over the last 20 years and would love to be a part of your success story. Our team is eager to help you navigate this increasingly challenging job market.
Remember, since you’re on lockdown anyhow, take this time to develop new skills such as learning a new software program like eMoney, Redtail, RightCapital, MoneyGuidePro, etc., or a coding language like Python, Java, R, WordPress, etc. While a coding language might not be directly applicable, it’s an amazing skill to have and will help you wherever you end up. If you want/need more, sign up for the July or November CFP certification examination and use this social distancing time to the fullest! Take care. Stay safe. We look forward to hearing how we can assist in your career journey.