5 Careers in Finance to Consider [2024]

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If you’re planning a future in finance, you’ll need to be familiar with careers in finance to consider. Finance is one of the most diverse general career fields, with dozens of different job types. You’ll need to know which will best match your own skill set, career expectations and preferences.

Quickstart Guide To Landing A Finance Career

  1. Update your resume. Start by updating your resume. Getting a finance job is competitive. Think about it like this: you’re selling the company on a major investment in you, so you need to do everything you can to get an edge. Investing a little money to have a professional resume writing service polish up your resume can be the edge you need. Check out our guide to the best resume writing services to get started today.
  2. Start applying for jobs on ZipRecruiter. If you are looking for a job in finance, we recommend starting your search on ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter is one of the highest rated job search sites! You can also upload your resume to ZipRecruiter’s resume database so that recruiters and employers can find you.

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5 Of The Top Careers In Finance

1. Personal Financial Advisors

Average Salary: $95,000+

Education Required: Bachelor's degree, but a Master’s degree, as well as relevant certifications are preferred.

Number of Jobs: 327,600

Job Growth 2020 – 2030: 13% (Much faster than average)

Job Duties: Personal financial advisors find employment across the country. Many are also self-employed. The basic job is to assess the financial needs of individuals and help them make decisions on how to invest and manage their money.

They regularly meet with clients to determine and discuss their financial goals, as well as educate them about investment options, and answer any questions they have. Financial advisors may also recommend specific investments, or even design an entire portfolio. The advisor may also monitor financial accounts and make adjustments as necessary.

Do you want to become a financial advisor? Check out our guide to creating a financial advisor resume.

2. Budget Analysts

Average Salary: $82,000+

Education Required: Bachelor's degree, including courses in accounting, economics, and statistics.

Number of Jobs: 51,600

Job Growth 2020 – 2030: 3% (As fast as average)

Job Duties: Budget analysts can work in private companies, universities, and government agencies. They work with program and project managers to develop the organization’s budget. They also review budget proposals and funding requests, and even explain those requests to others in the organization, as well as the public or government officials.

Budget analysts may also be called upon to find ways to better manage budgets, which includes monitoring organizational spending. They’ll make alternative proposals if the budget has been determined to be unsatisfactory. They can also be involved in projecting future financial needs.

Related: The Best Paying Jobs In Major Banks

3. Insurance Underwriters

Average Salary: $76,390+

Education Required: Bachelor's degree, though work related experience and strong computer skills may get you in the door.

Number of Jobs: 125,500

Job Growth 2020 – 2030: -2% (Decline)

Job Duties: Insurance underwriters typically work full-time for insurance companies. There, they review and analyze insurance applications, assessing the risk involved in insuring each client who applies. Insurance underwriting involves a great deal of underwriting software, which the underwriter must evaluate in relation to the applicant.

The position involves a generous amount of contact with field representatives, medical personnel, and others needed for making policy decisions for each applicant. The underwriter will not only approve or deny the application, but also sets the premium that will be paid for the policy.

Related: How To Get A Job In Finance

4. Cost Estimators

Average Salary: $71,000+

Education Required: Bachelor's degree, though several years’ experience in construction may be accepted.

Number of Jobs: 231,400

Job Growth 2020 – 2030: -3% (Decline)

Job Duties: Cost estimators are primarily in the construction field, though they’re usually based in an office setting, with visits to construction sites and suppliers. The job involves identifying any factors affecting costs, which is a combination of time, materials, and labor.

Cost estimators need to be able to read blueprints and technical documents, then collaborate with engineers, architects, contractors and clients, to calculate, analyze and adjust estimates, and recommend ways to cut costs. They frequently work with sales representatives to generate estimates for bids made for clients.

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5. Insurance Sales Agents

Average Salary: $57,000+

Education Required: High school diploma or equivalent, though many do have bachelor’s degrees; state-level licensing required.

Number of Jobs: 536,800

Job Growth 2020 – 2030: 8% (Faster than average)

Job Duties: This is one of the most common financial positions, with over 500,000 jobs. Insurance agents work for either insurance companies or insurance brokers (which may involve representing policies for multiple companies).

Selling insurance is most of what insurance agents do. They maintain contact with clients and potential clients, to build a customer base. They’ll approach and market those individuals with the policies they offer. This often involves face-to-face meetings and providing detailed instruction and information about the programs offered. Many insurance agents work primarily on commission.

Types Of Finance Careers

There are many variations within the finance field, with the list below as a sample:

  • Actuary. Analyzes risk of monetary consequences with financial theory, statistics, and math, for the purpose of projecting financial outcomes.
  • Economic Analyst. Measures major changes in the economy and in the financial markets.
  • Investment Banker. Works to raise money for clients using stocks and bonds, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and public offerings.
  • Securities Trader. Buys and sells securities for the assets managed by the firm they work for, like commercial banks, investment banks, asset management firms, hedge funds, and more.
  • Portfolio Manager. Provides comprehensive money management for institutions and clients.
  • Quantitative Analyst. Use mathematics to help companies make financial and business decisions.
  • Financial Planner. Creates plans for individuals to manage current and future finances
  • Financial Analyst. Analyzes potential investments and helps traders, portfolio managers and businesses make sound financial decisions.
  • Accountant. Records income and expenses, prepares tax returns and financial statements, and conducts audits.
  • Banking. Opening and maintaining deposit and loan accounts, helping customers with financial and bank decisions.

Requirements And Skills To Work In Finance

A career in finance can be both lucrative and rewarding, but it requires a specific set of skills and qualifications. The requirements and skills needed to work in finance can vary depending on the specific job and industry, but there are some common qualifications and abilities that are generally sought after. In this response, we will outline some of the key requirements and skills needed to work in finance.

Requirements To Work In Finance

  • Education: Most finance jobs require at least a bachelor's degree, with many positions requiring a master's degree in finance, accounting, economics, or a related field.
  • Licensing: Some finance jobs, such as those in investment banking or financial planning, require specific licenses or certifications, such as a Series 7 or CFP certification.
  • Experience: Many finance jobs require previous experience in a related field, such as accounting or financial analysis.

Skills Needed To Work In Finance

  • Analytical skills: Finance professionals need strong analytical skills to analyze financial data, identify trends, and make informed decisions.
  • Communication skills: Finance professionals need strong communication skills to explain complex financial concepts to clients and colleagues.
  • Attention to detail: Finance professionals need to be detail-oriented to ensure accuracy in financial reporting and analysis.
  • Technical skills: Finance professionals need to be proficient in using financial software and tools, such as Excel, Bloomberg, and QuickBooks.
  • Problem-solving skills: Finance professionals need to be able to identify and solve complex financial problems.
  • Ethical and professional behavior: Finance professionals need to adhere to ethical and professional standards in their work, particularly when handling client funds.

Pros And Cons Of Finance Careers

Pros of Finance Careers

  • High earning potential: Finance jobs tend to pay better than other professions, with many positions offering six-figure salaries.
  • Job security: The finance industry is a stable and growing field, with many opportunities for career advancement.
  • Professional development: Many finance jobs offer opportunities for professional development and continuing education, which can help employees stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices.
  • Variety of career paths: The finance industry offers a wide range of career paths, including accounting, financial analysis, investment banking, and wealth management, among others.
  • Global opportunities: The finance industry is a global industry, with many opportunities for working abroad or with international clients.

Cons of Finance Careers

  • Long hours: Many finance jobs require long hours and may involve working weekends or evenings.
  • High stress: Finance jobs can be high stress, particularly in positions such as investment banking or trading.
  • Competitive: The finance industry is highly competitive, with many qualified candidates vying for a limited number of positions.
  • Regulatory changes: The finance industry is subject to regulatory changes, which can impact job security and require employees to stay up-to-date with changing regulations.
  • Ethical concerns: Some finance jobs, such as those in investment banking, may involve ethical concerns related to the handling of client funds.

Best Places To Find Finance Jobs

Here are some of the best places to find finance jobs. Before you start applying for careers in finance, you may need to polish your finance resume.

Online Job Posting Sites

Job posting sites are a great resource for finding finance careers. These sites allow job seekers to search for job openings in their field of interest and apply directly to the employer. Our favorite online job site is ZipRecruiter.

ZipRecruiter makes it easy to create a personalized profile to go with your resume to make job hunting easier. Not only is it free for job hunters, but they also give you access to more than 100 of the top job boards in the industry.

For more information, check out our ZipRecruiter review.

Discover Your Dream Job

Find jobs near you and apply with 1 click! New jobs posted daily.

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Niche Finance Sites

Niche finance sites like eFinancialCareers are also a good choice. eFinancialCareers is a financial job site with listings posted in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. Openings are available from the highest paying to lowest paying finance positions. It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for an international finance position. But be aware that it’s also a site that focuses on technology positions.

Company Websites

Many large companies have job openings listed on their company websites. Job seekers can visit the career section of a company's website to view job openings and apply directly to the employer. This is a good option for job seekers who are interested in working for a specific company or who want to learn more about the company culture and values. Some companies may also have a talent network or job alert system that job seekers can sign up for to receive notifications when new job openings become available.

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations are associations that represent a specific industry or profession. They often have job boards or job listings on their website that are exclusive to their members. Joining a professional organization can also provide job seekers with access to industry events, networking opportunities, and professional development resources.

Some popular professional organizations for finance careers include the CFA Institute, the Financial Planning Association, and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the highest paying jobs in finance?

Financial managers, actuaries, investment bankers, quants, securities traders, and portfolio managers are best paying jobs in finance. These positions tend to require a substantial amount of schooling, mostly in economics, math, and statistical disciplines.

What is the most common career in finance?

Banking currently employs nearly 2 million people. Working in a bank is a good way to get your foot in the door when it comes to working in finance. Many banks offer training programs and promote from within.

Is a finance degree required?

For most financial careers, especially higher paying ones, a bachelor's degree in finance will absolutely be required for even an entry-level position. Different positions may also require advanced schooling or training. You can also explore the top finance and accounting certifications to enhance your career.

Can I get a finance job without a degree?

Yes. Positions such as bank tellers, cashiers, bookkeepers, and bill collectors are all entry-level positions that don’t require a degree but are still careers in finance. That being said, your salary will be lower than it would be with higher levels of education. You should plan to take advantage of the best resume writing services, but especially if you don’t have a degree.

Which finance degree is best?

The short answer is that a bachelor’s degree in finance is enough to get you an entry-level position. However, depending on how far you want to get into the finance field, there are also degrees in business, information technology, economics, accounting, financial engineering, and engineering/mathematics/statistics/physics that are helpful. A master’s in business administration (MBA) will increase promotion opportunities.

The Bottom Line

No matter your strengths and weaknesses, it’s important to weigh your options when deciding your position in the financial field. It’s not always about getting the highest salary. You’ll need to highlight your skillset, especially if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, or if you’re seeking a position in a competitive field.

To get the best job we recommend you begin your search with ZipRecruiter, to land a position the fastest!