Examples of Career Goals in Finance To Help You Succeed
Many people seek a job in finance to gain valuable skills, earn a high salary and work in an exciting and fast-paced industry. Common roles in this sector include financial analyst, business analyst, financial planner, commercial banker, auditor, tax adviser and accountant. If you work in finance, you may benefit from setting specific goals to improve your professional status. In this article, we provide three helpful steps for how to remain a competitive candidate in the finance industry and explore some examples of career goals in finance that could be perfect for you.
How to remain competitive in finance
Being competitive refers to the idea of being skilled and successful in your job. A competitive job candidate has more impressive qualifications than others, has completed important tasks and has fostered advancements in their industry. Remaining competitive in finance allows you to earn high-level positions and reach ambitious goals in your career. Here are three steps for how to remain competitive in finance:
1. Check current job requirements
A great way to know if you’re still competitive in your field is to review the requirements of current job openings. Research your job title online and confirm that you meet the requirements for various employers. If you have yet to gain certain important skills or experiences, you can use this data to inform your career goals and plans. You could also examine the specifications of more advanced roles to see if you’re eligible to apply for a higher-level job.
2. Stay up to date on industry news
Another way to remain competitive in finance is to keep up with industry news, events and advancements. Consider subscribing to a finance or economic newspaper or magazine to read articles about topics like new technologies, companies and employment opportunities. It may be a good idea to study a daily, weekly or monthly finance newsletter to learn valuable information about current affairs. This can allow you to participate in conversations about financial trends and issues with supervisors and colleagues.
3. Continue learning and developing your skills
One of the key elements of remaining competitive in finance is to approach your work with a mindset of continual learning. As theories and activities in finance are changing constantly, it’s important to stay open to new ideas throughout your career. Consider taking advantage of professional development opportunities offered online, by your company or by industry organizations. It’s often a good idea to develop your computer and software skills.
Examples of career goals in finance
Setting a goal and working toward a positive vision for the future can be an excellent way to increase your motivation, guide your efforts and help you accomplish challenging tasks. Make sure your goal follows the SMART framework and is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Here are 15 examples of career goals in finance:
1. Improve your performance
If you work in a finance job currently, you can put your efforts toward improving your performance in your role. Check your company resources to learn about what kind of performance metrics are available. Performance metrics are data and measurements that represent the success of your actions and abilities. For example, if you’re a sales representative, you may check to see how well you’re meeting sales targets and objectives. Consider asking your supervisor or team leader for feedback on your performance. They may be able to work with you to create goals and implement plans to reach those goals.
2. Earn a degree
Pursuing further education can be a great way to expand your knowledge base and develop your skills in an official environment. Learning about various topics in a classroom allows you to ask advanced professionals for assistance, discuss topics with classmates and build your professional network. Adding a degree to your resume can also help you become a more impressive and attractive candidate to potential employers. While most finance jobs require candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field, you might consider pursuing a master’s degree or Ph.D. in finance, economics or a similar area.
A common educational path for finance professionals is earning a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA). Here are some topics you may encounter in an MBA program:
- Business ethics
- Organizational behavior
- Global management
- HR management
- Risk management
- Information systems
3. Develop your skills
Developing a relevant skill can be a great career goal for professionals in the finance sector. Think about which skills you could improve on and take action . These could be hard or technical abilities involving areas like mathematical strategies or soft skills involving work ethic and interpersonal interactions. You could take online or in-person courses, participate in training programs or practice self-guided study by conducting research and reviewing various online or print resources. You could also practice a diversity of skills in your personal life. Here are some key financial skills on which you could focus:
- Project management
- Financial modeling
- Financial reporting
- Cash flow management
- IT skills
- HR management
4. Gain a specialty
An exciting way to enhance your professional status is to become an expert in a special area of your field. Becoming a subject matter expert (SME) makes you a more competitive candidate for many job opportunities and allows you to contribute a unique viewpoint to companies. In addition, spending an extended amount of time studying a subject enables you to gain a deep and complex understanding of it, making it easier for you to solve problems and innovate in the industry. Here are some concentrations to consider:
- Tax laws and regulations
- Cashflow performance
- International finance
- Investment banking
- Personal finance management
- Financial statement analysis
- Monetary policy
- Debt and foreign exchange markets
- Equity and derivative markets
- Financial institutions
5. Learn a new software
There are many types of financial software that automate tasks, organize information and make financial work more convenient and accurate for employees. Gaining proficiency or expertise with financial software can improve your professional qualifications and make you a more attractive investment for potential employers. Software and technologies allow team members to save time and resources and spend their energy on completing complex tasks that require human oversight. Software may help with activities like budgeting, project planning or HR management.
6. Earn a certification
Earning a certification in any industry can allow you to learn about new topics, improve skills and negotiate for higher salaries. There are many professional organizations that offer certification opportunities online. These usually involve taking a course and passing an exam to earn an official credential. Choose a program offered by a reputable, accredited organization in the field. You can also check that it fits with your budget, schedule and career goals.
7. Join a professional organization
Many financial organizations offer memberships that come with various benefits, such as training and advancement opportunities. Joining a professional group can help you meet other people with similar interests and career goals, attend development and social events and build your personal and professional network. Listing your membership with an official professional organization on your resume can show potential employers that you’re serious about your field and committed to continuous learning.
8. Attend industry events
Consider conducting research to find local financial events you could attend, like conferences, expositions or meetings. You may also find exciting online events hosted in locations around the country or the world. These kinds of opportunities can give you exposure to interesting industry innovations and theories. You may also meet hiring managers and recruiters who are seeking talented employees for their companies.
9. Find a mentor
A mentor is a more advanced professional that can provide career advice and guidance to you. Those in this position could help you find job opportunities, solve challenges and establish professional goals. You might find a mentor in a supervisor, colleague or another contact. You can also consider participating in a mentorship program provided by an employer or industry organization. Building a positive, lasting relationship with a mentor figure can provide benefits throughout your professional career and personal life.
10. Become a mentor
If you feel that you’re advanced in your field, you might become a mentor yourself. Mentoring a beginner or entry-level employee in the finance sector can be a rewarding and valuable experience. If you have expertise in a certain concentration, sharing your knowledge and talents could help someone else advance in the field and reach their career goals. If you have the resources, you could also offer an internship opportunity or program.
11. Write a book
As a finance professional, you may have the expertise, skills, experience and ideas to write an engaging, valuable book. Writing a book could be an excellent way to organize your professional qualifications, thoughts and creativity into an actual, material result. Publishing it could help you convey your strategies for success, research findings or other accomplishments to team members across the industry. It may also be a chance to earn an extra income and build a positive, recognizable reputation in the field. You might read other financial books and resources to gain inspiration for developing your own.
12. Teach a course
Teaching a course on a financial topic can be a great way to build your skills and contribute your experience to helping others. Many believe that the activity of instructing others is an excellent method for learning more about your specialty, questioning your assumptions and gaining a deeper understanding of the topic’s complexities and nuances. Teaching a course involves developing a detailed curriculum, creating an instructional program, marketing your class and class materials, assigning homework, grading exams and guiding and mentoring a group of students. You might also volunteer as a trainer for an employer or professional organization.
13. Apply to a leadership position
If you want to advance in the field of finance, applying for a leadership position could be the perfect goal for you. Leadership positions may be roles like team leader, manager or senior officer. Consider checking if there are any open roles at the company for which you work. If you’re currently seeking a job, look for supervisory roles in which you could guide a team of entry-level professionals. Leading and inspiring others to complete tasks and reach targets can be a rewarding and exciting experience.
14. Work with a high-level client
Consider building your resume by working with a high-level and well-known client in the finance industry. Large corporations or organizations can often provide valuable insights on how to reach success in the field. Conduct research into which companies in your sector are the most successful and try to build relationships with them. You could also check if they’re hiring and apply for a job with them. Listing a famous company on your resume can impress potential employers and start interesting conversations with others.
15. Start your own company
After gaining educational credentials and work experience, many finance employees decide to starting their own businesses. While this can be a complex feat, founding and owning your own company is often an exciting and lucrative opportunity. It allows you to develop useful products and services, help people, hire employees, foster industry advancements and build a brand for yourself.