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8 Steps to Become a Top Applicant in Financial Services

Posted on April 2024

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Are you eager to progress in your career? Do you find it challenging to secure coveted career opportunities despite your qualifications and experience? You're not alone.

Many professionals in the financial services industry face similar obstacles as they strive for a promotion, transition to a new role, or land their dream job. Discover eight actionable steps below to become a standout applicant amongst your peers.

At Selby Jennings, we're dedicated to helping professionals like yourself achieve your career goals. We encourage you to share your resume with our talent partners, who specialize in providing tailored guidance and support aligned with your unique goals and skill set.


Step 1: Assess and Address Skill Gap

Begin by conducting a thorough assessment of your current skill set and comparing it to the requirements of your desired roles. Identify any areas where you may be lacking or where your skills may need updating. Once you've pinpointed these skill gaps, take proactive steps to address them. This could involve enrolling in relevant courses or training programs or seeking out mentorship from industry experts. By actively bridging these gaps, you'll enhance your competitiveness in the job market.

Step 2: Establish Clear Objectives

Define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives that align with your long-term career aspirations. Consider what milestones you need to achieve to progress in your career, whether it's obtaining a particular certification, gaining experience in a specific area of finance, or securing a leadership position within a company. Breaking down your goals into actionable steps will make them more manageable and increase your likelihood of success. Regularly review and adjust your objectives as needed to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with your career trajectory.

Step 3: Stay Informed about Industry Trends

Stay informed about the latest developments, innovations, and trends driving the financial services industry forward. Subscribe to publications, participate in conferences and seminars, and follow influential thought leaders and organizations on social media platforms. Utilize resources like Selby Jennings' tailored salary guides for the financial sciences & services industry to stay updated on current trends and market rates. By staying informed, you'll not only enhance your industry knowledge but also be better equipped to anticipate upcoming opportunities and challenges.

Step 4: Prioritize Continuous Learning

In today’s digital world, staying ahead in your career requires a commitment to continuous learning. Whether you're commuting or relaxing at home, take advantage of the convenience offered by webinars and podcasts to absorb valuable insights and expertise. By consistently investing in your professional development, you can deepen your understanding of financial markets, regulatory frameworks, and emerging technologies, positioning yourself as a knowledgeable and adaptable professional capable of navigating the complexities of the financial services landscape.

Step 5: Seek Mentorship

Mentorship plays a pivotal role in fostering professional growth. By establishing relationships with seasoned mentors, you can acquire insights that aid in recognizing your strengths and areas for enhancement. Their guidance, drawn from their own successful career trajectories, can significantly improve the quality of your work and mold your career journey. A mentor’s influence extends beyond personal development, as they can also help broaden your professional network, thereby creating new opportunities.

Step 6: Networking is Key

You've heard the phrase, 'your network is your net worth,' and as cliche as it sounds, it holds undeniable truth. Expanding your professional network is crucial for uncovering hidden job opportunities and connecting with industry professionals. It's not just about accumulating contacts; it's about being genuine in your interactions. Engage with talent partners and recruiters authentically to build meaningful relationships and stay informed about potential career advancements. Recruiters often have access to confidential job openings, making genuine connections with them even more impactful. By expressing your openness to new opportunities and maintaining sincere communication, you increase your chances of being notified when relevant positions align with your expertise.

Step 7: Stay Persistent and Resilient

Approach your career journey with a mindset of persistence and resilience. Understand that setbacks and challenges are inevitable but view them as opportunities for growth and learning. For instance, consider a scenario where you face rejection following an interview. Rather than succumbing to disappointment, perceive it as an opportunity to hone your abilities and enhance your interview skills for future prospects. By fostering a positive mindset, you'll cultivate the determination to push through obstacles and achieve your professional goals, regardless of the difficulties you may encounter.

Step 8: Maintain an Updated Resume

Regularly update and refine your resume to reflect your skills, experiences, and achievements. Tailor your resume to highlight your most relevant qualifications and accomplishments for each position you apply for. Ensure that it is concise, well-organized, and error-free, with a clear emphasis on your value proposition and unique selling points. Utilize keywords and phrases relevant to your target roles and industry to enhance your visibility to hiring managers and recruiters. By keeping your resume updated and actively circulating it within your professional network, you'll increase your chances of being noticed.

Ready to Elevate Your Career in Financial Services?

Submit your updated resume to our team at Selby Jennings today so we can connect you with exciting career opportunities.