How to Prepare for a Banking Job

Three Methods:Getting the Necessary QualificationsFinding a JobPreparing for Your First Days on the Job

The banking industry offers secure, well-paying jobs in exchange for extensive training and dedication to career goals. Banks hire for all types of positions from tellers to CEOs. They often promote from within, so starting at entry level and working your way up is a great way to succeed as a banking professional. Prepare for a banking job by achieving the necessary education, doing a thorough job search, and acting the part.

Method 1
Getting the Necessary Qualifications

  1. Image titled Prepare for a Banking Job Step 1
    Get a high school diploma or GED. Most banking jobs require at least a high school diploma or GED, and they often require more formal education. If you are interested in becoming a bank teller, you can usually apply with only a high school diploma. You will also need to pass a background check before getting started. Once hired, you will be trained to do the specific job you’ve been hired for.[1]
    • If you’re hoping to become a bank teller, it also helps to have customer service experience because tellers communicate with people all day.
  2. 2
    Get a college degree. Banks employ many people to do a variety of jobs. Most desk jobs require a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Think about the type of job you are looking to do and match your university major to that field. A financial analyst, loan officer, or financial manager usually starts with a degree in finance, statistics, or economics.[2]
    • You do not need a specific degree to work as an investment banker. However, certain majors set you apart from other applicants. The majority of investment bankers have studied finance, economics, or business administration.[3]
    • Keep your grades up. Going to a prestigious university can help quite a bit. However, your grade point average (GPA) matters most. Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.3 if you seek to become an investment banker.[4]
    • Investigate other types of banking jobs. Positions in human resources or technological services may require a different set of skills. Majors in the humanities or computer science may be more appropriate for other areas of banking.
  3. 3
    Consider getting an advanced degree. Higher level bankers, like investment bankers, financial advisors, or fund managers, usually hold a master’s in finance. Many promotions happen from within, but some higher level managers are expected to hold MBAs.[5]
    • The most common degree for an investment banker is a master’s in finance. Degree names vary but generally cover topics related to finance, accounting, banking, and management. Consider pursuing a degree in Europe. European universities have more established programs and are highly ranked.[6]
  4. 4
    Do an internship. Internships are a great way to get your feet wet and apply what you’ve learned to the working world. During your internship, you will see what your future banking job might entail. Internships also look good on you resume. Employers will be glad to know that you made an effort to get some experience before applying for the job.
    • Take advantage of your summers off from university to do an internship. Many banks offer programs to undergraduate students. Do an internet search for internships with major banks or simply apply in person to a bank in your area.

Method 2
Finding a Job

  1. 1
    Network. Use your network of friends, family, college acquaintances, and professors to find job opportunities. Networking is a large part of developing a career in business and finance. Get to know the people in the community. Remember to use social networking websites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Check out different profiles for useful information. That way you’ll know if anyone is up to something that interests you.
    • Attend networking events. Many undergraduate and graduate schools hold networking events for students interested in banking, especially investment banking. Events at top universities often bring in recruiters, so be prepared to put your best foot forward. Get your name and face out there as you chat with people about your interests.[7]
  2. 2
    Go on informational interviews. Once you’ve met someone who has a career that sparks your interest, get in touch. Have a conversation before you ask for more of their time. Get a sense of how busy their schedule is and how interested they are in speaking to you. If they offer to help you, take the opportunity to say something like, “I’d love to sit down and have a coffee with you sometime. Would that work for you?”
    • Offer to talk on the phone or exchange emails if you are not well acquainted. Do some research about the bank that they work for and the job that they do. Prepare specific questions about their job so that you obtain the information that you need.
    • Get details so that you are later prepared to speak knowledgeably should you apply for a job. If you just met the person, you may not want to ask about salary or other personal work-related matters. You should, however, learn about the primary skills used on the job and the daily challenges.
  3. 3
    Apply directly. Go directly to the bank you are interested in working with and ask for an application. First impressions matter. When you approach the bank, be sure to wear presentable clothes and carry yourself professionally. You may not have applied yet, but people may remember you if you should return!
  4. 4
    Apply via the internet. Browse your bank’s website and find out how to apply for the job you want.
  5. 5
    Nail the interview. If you are called in for an interview, be sure to do your best! Wear formal business attire, act professionally, and make eye contact. Use your knowledge from your informational interviews to ask questions and show that you have made an effort to learn about the job. The information you gathered earlier will also prepare you to answer questions about your potential role with the bank.
    • Follow up with the interviewer. Send a thank you note. Express your gratitude and include a few sentences about your continued interest in the job.

Method 3
Preparing for Your First Days on the Job

  1. Image titled Prepare for a Banking Job Step 3
    Build a professional wardrobe. Once you’ve been offered a job, you’ll need to have set of work clothes. Dress standards vary by institution, so pay attention to what other employees are wearing at your potential work site. Often you will need to purchase several suits, dress pants or skirts, and collared shirts. Business-casual attire such as polo shirts, khakis, sweaters and conservative dresses are recommended for casual office days, weekend work, and social events.
  2. 2
    Clear your schedule. Avoid starting a banking job shortly before any major personal events. Training is often intense. Travel is sometimes required in the beginning as well.
  3. 3
    Stay sharp. You will be learning a lot of new information. You will also be asked to take exams that could result in the loss of your new position if you do not achieve passing scores. Keep your personal life as stress-free as possible for the first several months of your new banking career.
    • A bank teller is more likely to be tested before being hired. There are quantitative reasoning tests and personality tests that help employers determine if you are right for the job.[8]
    • Investment bankers and other representatives need to take tests to obtain licensure. The series 79 test is common, but tests vary by position. Your employer will inform you of which one you need to take. Note that the tests are long and expensive, so prepare adequately.[9]
  4. 4
    Relax. Any new job can be stressful in the beginning. A job in banking may throw a lot of training and information your way. Make an effort to relax after work so that you perform your best the next day.

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Categories: Finance Careers