Transitioning into a finance career after you've spent many years in another industry may seem exciting to some and daunting to others. The world of finance may offer a greater challenge as well as potential improvements in compensation, among other benefits. If you are pondering a midlife career change that involves a transition into finance, then here are a few tips that will help you make the transition.

Take an Assessment of Personality Traits and Professional Skills
A career in finance requires quite a few professional skills, such as a working knowledge of finance and accounting, as well as comfort with a computer and various software programs (Excel is a good example). Those who successfully transition into finance also possess certain non-financial skills, such as the ability to communicate well and good interpersonal skills. To ensure that a career in finance is right for you, a great first step is to assess your skill sets and personality traits.

This step can be accomplished by completing an online career assessment or by contacting your alma mater's career services office. You may even wish to engage a professional career consultant, who should be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to sizing up your strengths, weaknesses and personality traits. Whichever method you decide to pursue, the goal is to determine how well your knowledge, skills and abilities match the requirements of a finance career.

Perform Research and Conduct Informational Interviews
The next step in your transition into a finance career is to learn as much about your field of interest as possible, ideally by speaking with somebody who has the career that you are interested in pursuing. These conversations, also called "informational interviews," help you to learn more about the options available to you, given your experience and your area of interest.

You may be wondering, "How do I find somebody with whom I can conduct an informational interview?" Start by asking people within your existing professional and social networks, and expand your circles from there. Rest assured, most people enjoy speaking about their professions and are happy to help if they can. Other options that may lead to informational interviews include becoming a member of a career-specific organization, networking through your alumni association, attending a business networking meeting or cold-calling professionals. Networking is as important as everyone tells you. The more people that you talk to, the more well-informed you will be regarding your options.

Prior to conducting an informational interview, it is important to do as much research as possible so that you can demonstrate your knowledge by asking intelligent questions during the interview. Online resources are aplenty, as are career libraries at universities and public libraries. A little bit of due diligence goes a long way in terms of credibility. A well-conducted informational interview may turn into a job - you never know!

Another important "must do" prior to conducting an informational interview is to craft a professional resume that showcases your knowledge, skills and abilities. Again, there are several online resources that can guide you through this process. Be sure to have your resume ready, just in case the informational interview results in a request for your resume.

Remember: Patience and Perseverance Pay off
Today's job market presents challenges, so do not get discouraged if your efforts to transition into finance do not immediately bear fruit. Continue to network, conduct informational interviews and apply for relevant positions. Solicit feedback from everyone who speaks to you, as their feedback may help you to adjust your approach as needed.

Finally, You're Hired!
Getting hired is probably the hardest part of transitioning into the world of finance. Once you are hired, ensure your success by working hard, being proactive and engaging in appropriate networking activities. To that end, be sure to find a mentor once you arrive in your new career, perhaps a senior person who can relate to your experience, either personal or professional. This person can guide you in regards to the the ins and outs of your new career and offer pointers regarding how certain situations should be approached.

The Bottom Line
Though transitioning into a finance career is exciting to some and daunting to others, particularly if such a transition is executed in midlife, rest assured that it is doable. Careful research and effective networking are crucial to a successful transition - just remember to be patient. Finally, once you make the change, be sure to find a mentor who can guide you as you move up on your career ladder.

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Is A Stockbroker Career For You?

    Becoming a stockbroker requires a broad skill set and the willingness to put in long hours. But the rewards can be enormous.
  2. Professionals

    Buy-Side vs Sell-Side Analysts

    Both sell-side and buy-side analysts on Wall Street spend much of their day researching companies in a relentless effort to pick the winners.
  3. Professionals

    Broker Or Trader: Which Career Is Right For You?

    Both brokers and traders buy and sell securities, but there are some subtle differences between the two careers.
  4. Professionals

    A Day In The Life Of A Public Accountant

    Here's an inside look at the workdays of two experienced CPAs, to give you an idea of what it might be like to pursue a career as a public accountant.
  5. Professionals

    A Day in the Life of a Public Accountant

    There’s no typical day in the life of a public accountant, but one accountant’s experience may shed some light on what the career entails.
  6. Professionals

    Financial Career Options For Professionals

    A career in finance can take a business professional down many different paths.
  7. FA

    The Basics of The Series 79 Exam

    Passing the Series 79 exam is usually necessary for anyone who wants to work in investment banking.
  8. Professionals

    10 Steps To A Career In Hedge Funds

    The first step to getting your hedge fund career started is to be sure you really want to work for a hedge fund. If you do, it’ll show in your actions.
  9. Professionals

    Business Analyst: Job Description & Average Salary

    Learn the different types of business analyst careers available; understand the skills and education needed and the salary you can expect to make.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    How To Make Money With Domain Names

    Domain names are hot commodities in today’s tech-centric world, and for good reason.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Do financial advisors have to find their own clients?

    Nearly all financial advisors, particularly when new to the field, have to find their own clients. An employer may provide ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do financial advisors get drug tested?

    Financial advisors are not drug tested by any federal or state regulatory body. This means you may receive your Series 6, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Is a financial advisor required to have a degree?

    Financial advisors are not required to have university degrees. However, they are required to pass certain exams administered ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Do financial advisors have to be licensed?

    Financial advisors must possess various securities licenses in order to sell investment products. The specific products an ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Do financial advisors need to meet quotas?

    Most financial advisors are required to meet quotas, particularly if they work for firms that pay base salaries or draws ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Does a financial advisor need an MBA?

    Obtaining a license as a financial adviser does not require an Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Certified ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  2. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  3. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  4. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
  5. Dark Pool Liquidity

    The trading volume created by institutional orders that are unavailable to the public. The bulk of dark pool liquidity is ...
Trading Center