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Why Should I Do Finance Work Experience?

That statement, “You need to get work experience” often feels glaringly obvious. We’ve all heard it before, right? Perhaps so much so that it’s easy to take it for granted.  

No one falls into a top finance or banking job these days; it really is vital for you to get finance work experience onto your CV when you can. Here are a few golden reasons why:

Get on the radar

City finance job opportunities without any prior work experience are, essentially, a big fat no-no. And it makes sense, doesn't it? With heavy competition for these roles, one of the best ways for recruiters to measure candidates’ dedication to a finance career is to take a look at their work experience track record. If you want to go for a graduate role at a top tier investment bank, it’s paramount that you gain work experience with the bank you aim to apply for, or else a bank that’s in the same league of competition. Some of these banks state that if you haven’t completed their internship scheme, you simply won’t be considered for a graduate role. It’s that important!

Show you’ve got what it takes

What’s more, the working environment in a financial organisation, particularly in an investment bank, can be high pressure, with some extremely long hours in some cases (it’s not unusual for front office investment bankers to clock up 80-hour weeks). If you’ve successfully completed an internship in this area and had a taste of the lifestyle and working culture, then they’re going to be more confident that you’re cut out for it. Find out more on how to impress here!

Find the right fit for you

Plus, you’ll know if it’s for you as well! Lots of people like the idea of a front office role, but until you’ve actually tried and tested it, you won’t know for sure. It could be that you’re better suited to another area of banking or finance entirely. If you undertake an internship in one particular area and it doesn’t quite work out, then don’t fret! Some valuable experiences aren’t always the best or most enjoyable ones, and your application for other areas of finance based on what you learnt what wasn’t for you can be just as useful.

Invaluable networking opportunities

Finance work experience is by far the best way to get to know professionals in your industry of choice and learn from them. If you use social networking wisely, for example your LinkedIn profile, then visible connections with industry professionals will be great for your personal brand. The advice they can give you can also be ridiculously useful as you move into your applications and interviews for a graduate role.  

By Jos Weale, Editor, AllAboutFinanceCareers.com