Top 10 soft skills you need to work in finance

Whether you’re in accounting, mortgage lending, investments, or any other financial sector, recruiters will flock to you if you bridge the gap and exhibit coveted finance and technical skills. But what are they looking for?

With nearly 50 years of experience in recruitment for financial services firms, we know the skills that top employers look for in ideal finance candidates. To separate yourself from your competition and stand out to recruiters, you need a mix of both hard and soft skills.

Below we dive into 10 of the most attractive skills recruiters want in their top financial services professionals.

Hard Skills for Finance Professionals

Credible financial qualifications and certifications.

To have a successful career in finance, you need a relevant educational background as it signals to employers that you have taken appropriate courses and training. Degrees in Finance or Accounting, and certifications as a Certified Public Accountant or Certified Financial Planner, are good examples of the educational pieces employers are looking for.

Tip:

Highlight your earned degrees and certifications early in your resume as this is often the first thing recruiters look for. For example, add your credentials to your name at the top of your resume. Some examples include:

  • Jane Smith, CPA
  • John Johnson, MBA
  • Kate Anderson, CFP

Financial reporting.

Financial reports need to be as detailed and accurate as possible to create budgets, conduct audits and issue stock. Employers want candidates they can trust to compile reports with careful precision. Having experience in composing financial reports and drawing valuable insights from the data shows employers that you can do just that.

Tip:

In the work experience section of your resume, use an example of when you used financial reporting to drive a positive business outcome in a past role. Keep your resume readable and action-oriented by starting with an active verb. For example, you might write:

Compile and analyze financial reports, identifying actionable data trends resulting in 20% growth for a client.

 

IT software knowledge.

Seventy-three percent of financial services CEOs report that the speed of technological change affected their ability to find skilled talent. Having a strong working knowledge of financial software and being able to adapt to technological changes will help you rise above the competition. The most attractive technical skills for finance professionals include expertise in software like Microsoft Excel, FIS Global, SAP, and other database management systems. The more you understand these systems and how they work, the more valuable you’ll be to employers.

Tip:

List the relevant software you have significant experience within the skills section of your resume. Make your technical skills list a stand-out by avoiding common terms like proficient, skilled, and talented. Here’s an example of how to list your skills in an interesting way:

Bright financial software prodigy adept in Microsoft Excel and Access, FIS Global, and QuickBooks

Management experience.

Even though it might not be a necessity, having management experience is very attractive to financial services firms. Employers want team members who can move into a leadership role down the road.

Tip:

Illustrate to employers how you have managed people in a past role. This doesn’t have to be from working in financial services, either. It can be from volunteering, an organization you’re a part of, or even a position you’ve held in another industry. To highlight this on your resume, include it in your past work experience. Two examples are:

  • Oversee and direct budgeting team in executing methods to increase our profit margins.
  • Managed a large portfolio of investments for Fortune 500 companies.

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Soft Skills for Finance Professionals

Problem-Solving

Having the knowledge necessary for a job doesn’t equip you for the unpredictable nature of the finance sector. Being able to adapt to change and confront complex problems head-on is what will define you as a knock-out candidate.

Tip:

Describe an example of when you encountered a problem in your past work experience and the steps you took to overcome it in your interview. Here’s an example:

the first night Worcester, we had a reporting discrepancy that was influencing several teams. I dug into our database and pinpointed the item causing the disruption. I corrected the issue right away, potentially saving a significant investment.

Leadership

As previously mentioned, employers want candidates who can fill senior roles down the line. But they also want employees who can take charge of their workload and special projects with little oversight, mentor other employees, and set an example in any role they possess.

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