How do I find a job in corporate finance?

Entry level positions in capital markets and corporate finance (finance) are some of the most coveted jobs for new graduates. It's important you learn how to best position yourself to succeed in the recruitment process and understand the differences of the job search in finance compared to other industries.

Networking for Finance 

Given the competitive nature of the industry, networking with industry professionals is an extremely important part of the finance job search process. Building a rapport with people at different levels of the firms you’re interested in gives your application a better chance of being recognized and selected for an interview. If you’re able to leave a great impression through your networking efforts they may even specifically request your resume and accelerate your application through the normal screening process.

The best way to network with professionals is through coffee chats and phone calls which you can arrange by emailing professionals at the firms you are interested in. Ask them for 15-30 minutes of their time to offer advice and answer your questions about the firm.

As an international student, especially if English is your second language, this can be the most daunting part of finding a job in finance, but one of the best ways to start is reaching out to professionals with a similar profile to yours. 

For example, if somebody working at the company you wish to apply to was also an international student from the same country as you, they might be more receptive to chatting.

You can learn more about breaking down the networking process through the R.A.I.N. Career Institute online course.

Finance Resumes

The traditional finance resume follows these guidelines:

  • A strict one page limit and is typically more conservative than other resume formats (black and white, no pictures or icons, one column)
  • Key sub-sections of the resume include:
    • Education (make sure to include your GPA) 
    • Work Experience, 
    • Extracurricular Experience 
    • Other Information such as your technical skills and interests

Stick to the sub-sections mentioned above and avoid including sections you might find in more general resumes such as Summary of Qualifications, Profile, or References

Some of the technical skills useful in finance include:

  • a strong understanding of the Microsoft Office suite 
  • experience using financial databases such as Bloomberg, Factset and Capital IQ 
  • In more quantitative finance roles, experience with multiple programming languages is an asset and sometimes a requirement

Finance Cover Letters

The cover letter is a chance to introduce yourself and supplement your resume. Similar to the finance resume, the finance cover letter should never exceed a full page using 11 or 12 point font (¾ of a page or less is ideal).

The cover letter is also a chance for you to showcase your writing capabilities, so it is imperative that the cover letter is free of grammatical errors and typos.

You should keep these things in mind when choosing whom to address your cover letter to:

  • If you know the name of the individual in charge of the recruiting process (through your networking efforts described earlier) make sure to address the letter to them
  • Otherwise “Dear Recruiter”, “Dear Firm X Recruiting Team”, or “Dear Hiring Manager” will suffice

For more information and advice on how to succeed in the finance job search, visit the R.A.I.N. Career Institute  that offers a free online course curated by former international students that have been successful in the finance recruitment process.

Prepared by: The R.A.I.N. Career Institute 

For More Information:

  • Financial Services Connections Program   - Provides internationally-trained financial services professionals with practical job search information and connections with employers in the financial sector. From Acces Employment.

Last updated: May 14, 2020 4006416