How to Get into a Career in Financial Services

The financial services industry is undoubtedly one of the most popular and lucrative to be employed in, especially given the amount of varied jobs available, from insurance to banking.

Many people see obtaining a career in this industry as a difficult and challenging venture, given that it is surrounded by complex terminology and often involves dealing with large amounts of money. In reality, there are plenty of accessible jobs in the industry which may be suited to people with differing skillsets/qualifications. Here are some useful considerations.

Move to a Major City

It is unlikely that you will find any major financial institutions operating in a small village in the countryside. If looking to join a company which is established and offers good prospects for growth, you might consider moving to a city like Johannesburg in order to find the most suitable jobs on offer.
This will require an open mind and a willingness to go wherever the work is, although it is also worth noting that many entrepreneurs are now beginning their careers in finance from behind their laptop/computer at home (when starting their own financial services business).


Those who are qualified to perform a specific job requiring some level of expertise, such as accountancy, will be popular amongst employers in the financial services industry, as they should already have the necessary skillsets to fulfil their daily tasks.
That being said, many companies do not require a degree which is relevant to the job/role, but rather a person who can learn quickly and apply their degree knowledge to the tasks required of them. In this sense, it is often better to have a good knowledge of the job you are applying for and the skills necessary to complete it.


Due to their complex nature and reputation, financial services jobs are often shrouded in jargon, which can make it difficult for first time job applicants to understand their role. You will no doubt need to become accustomed to a host of abbreviations and company-specific jargon if you get the job, so it is well worth getting clued up before you go to an interview.
Much of the jargon can be broken down into simpler terms (which makes it seem fairly redundant), but an employer is still likely to be impressed if you use the words with confidence in an interview.

Company Knowledge

When it comes to the interview, one of the most valuable preparations you can make is to research the company thoroughly. This will show the interviewer that you are aware of how the company operates and what its overall objectives are.
You could go about researching them in a number of different ways, but be sure to examine the website and gather as much information about the role as you can. You should particularly look out for information which is unique to the company, such as how much they have loaned their customers that year (if applying to a bank/lending facility).

Starting Out on Your Own

In this increasingly interconnected and globalised world, it is becoming both popular and potentially more lucrative for graduates to start their career in finance by setting up their own business. Much like currency pairs such as ZAR USD, many financial services are also capable of being offered through the online sphere, so it is certainly an option worth considering.
It requires a lot of hard work and patience (and usually capital), but also comes with a host perks if you succeed.
These form some of the ways you can start a flourishing and gratifying career in the world of financial services. There is plenty to think about, but once you have a firm grasp on what is expected of you in the job role, and how the company you want to work for operates, you should have every chance of success.

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