With unemployment low, equities markets booming, and economic growth accelerating, the market for finance jobs has rarely been better. There’s even room in the mix for newly minted finance majors, long viewed as quota fodder.
Across the country, independent financial advisory firms are hiring. So are big banks, community credit unions, Fortune 500 firms planning internal finance team expansions, boutique planning shops, and everyone else in between.
These are among the top jobs for finance majors, and what to expect from each.
- Financial Analyst
Financial analysts are the workhorses of the banking and finance sector. Depending on their specialties and sub-specialties, they might be responsible for researching public and private firms, financial instruments, or whole industries. They conduct analyses, compile reports, and deliver synthesized information to colleagues charged with acting on it.
Financial analysts’ work quite literally moves markets and upends balance sheets, but it’s not always heralded. If you’re a low-key type with an eye for detail, you’ll do well here.
- Budget Analyst
Finding budget analyst jobs has never been easier. Like financial analysts, budget analysts are all about numbers and trends. Their work focuses on budget proposals, helping organizations and public entities determine where best to allocate funds, when to pull the plug on unprofitable initiatives, and how to train staff to execute durable initiatives.
- Investor Relations Associate/Manager
If your communications skills are above the finance major baseline, you’re likely to be a good fit for this role. Investor relations associates communicate directly but discreetly with shareholders large and small through press releases, personalized outreach, and formal company reports. It’s a solemn duty with plenty of room for growth.
- Commercial Real Estate Agent
This is another great role for socially adept finance majors, and one of the more potentially lucrative entry-level jobs available. Bear in mind that commercial real estate is a cyclical industry, and pay is often performance-based, so this isn’t a job for grads not comfortable making their own way.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wait until you have a CPA license in hand to find accounting jobs. Entry-level accountants learn on the job, and many employers are more than willing to cover high performers’ graduate tuition. Fair warning: If you’re not a fan of crunching numbers, this is not the gig for you.
- Independent Financial Planner
When in doubt, hang out your own shingle and become an independent financial planner. This isn’t a decision you can make overnight. Post-graduation, you’ll need to obtain additional credentials, then spend time prospecting to build a solid client list. Still, this is a great choice for internally motivated finance pros for whom a traditional 9-to-5 isn’t ideal.
Land Your Dream Job (or Career) Without the Wait
No matter how unimpeachable your credentials, there’s no such thing as a guaranteed job – even in a historically tight labor market with room to get tighter still.
All six of these roles face persistent worker shortages. But that doesn’t mean you can simply walk into the office unannounced and walk out with an offer to start in two weeks. It’s on you to prove that your finance major is just one facet of a well-rounded, competent personality – that you’ll be a valuable addition to the team, in good times and bad.