Stepping into the finance industry for the first time can be incredibly intimidating. Whether you’re mid-career and making a job change or just starting out in finance, you will be surrounded by people with a keen sense of numbers, economics, and of course finance. To succeed in the field, you need to be disciplined, thick-skinned, and driven. Given all this, it can seem like an insurmountable task to find your niche in the financial business world and be successful. So how can you ensure that you’ll go far? Follow these five tips, and your financial career will soar.
First, you need to make yourself indispensable. Being indispensable is really about getting your head in the right space to become a crucial part of a group. Offer help to others without asking for much in return. Keep your word and always do what you say you will do. Be honest and go the extra mile. By demonstrating your reliability, honesty, integrity, and willingness to help others, you show how important you are to others and to any business.
The biggest key to making yourself indispensable is to visibly commit to whatever you are working on and toward with each and every person in your life. Practicing this kind of commitment does not necessarily only have to happen at the office. It can also happen at home, with your family and friends, and in fact, practicing indispensability at home will do wonders for your work life. When you start working this way, you’ll find that the feedback (both physical and emotional) will be exhilarating—and begin a fruitful feedback loop that will encourage your commitment and further demonstrate how indispensable you are to everyone around you.
KEEP UP WITH THE FINANCIAL TIMES
No, not just the Financial Times newspaper (though it is one of my recommended sources for financial news). Make sure you keep up with current events in the financial markets and news every single day. While this seems like a basic recommendation, it bears mentioning because it’s so often ignored. In today’s day and age, information and finance move fast, and it’s crucial for you to stay informed if you want to guarantee success. Staying on top of the news will keep your knowledge in top shape and help you stay aware of trends in the business. Knowing the financial news will give you far more than just water cooler conversation fodder. It can help you make informed business and personal financial decisions as well!
ALWAYS CONTINUE TO LEARN
Just like sharks have to keep swimming to breathe, you must continuously learn in order to be successful in life and in business—particularly in the financial field. New products are constantly coming online. New markets are continuously opening, and old markets are always changing. Learning new terminology associated with these markets and the way they work is absolutely central to being successful in the financial industry. When you stop learning, you stop growing and developing your skills, and you lose touch with the core of your business.
Learning does not always mean sitting in a classroom for hours on end, though. It can mean keeping up with the news and trends in your industry, attending a conference, or talking to someone in another business area that interests you. Learning can even include chatting with friends and family about interesting things you’ve read about or experienced in other areas of your life. Learning does not have to be a formalized, structured process, and research has shown that unstructured learning can be just as beneficial in the workplace. This means that even in your off hours, you can continue to learn and absorb crucial information that can help you in the financial industry as well as in your personal life.
Networking is an invaluable way to continue to learn, make new connections, and keep up with the financial news and markets. Ultimately, the financial industry and the markets that drive it are all based on human relationships and human psychology. The more you network and leverage those human relationships, the more likely you are to be successful in the industry. By networking, you can build your business, learn about emerging trends, learn from others who have been successful, and leverage that experience into your own success plan.
Increasingly, success in the financial industry relies on what are known as soft skills. These are skills like listening, relating, and communicating: critical networking skills. Remember you are not only representing yourself but the company you work for as well, and enhancing your soft skills makes a world of difference.
FIND A GREAT MENTOR
Finding a mentor can sound like a daunting task whether you are new to the financial industry or a seasoned professional changing careers, but having a mentor is vital in order to ensure your success. A mentor can provide knowledge and advice and guide you through the new landscape as you move into the financial sector. Know what your aspirations are to help hone your search for a mentor, and once you find someone to work with, be sure to maintain that relationship. It’s important that both mentor and mentee benefit from the relationship. Mentors can help you accelerate your career, and you can help them keep on top of current trends and new markets. Make sure that the mentor-mentee relationship is a two-way street, and both of you will succeed!
By making yourself indispensable, keeping up with the financial news and market trends, continuing to learn and grow, networking, and finding a great mentor, you can ensure that you will succeed in the financial industry. While it may seem like a daunting industry, it is full of some of the most intelligent, kind-hearted, and creative people in the world. Follow these steps and you can be sure of a long and fruitful career in finance.