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For many graduates, a career in banking ticks all the boxes.
Often amongst the best paid graduate jobs, banking & finance careers also offer a number of other great benefits for graduates; including opportunities to travel, competitive benefits packages, and fast career progression.
The banking sector is a global sector, comprised of banks and other institutions who provide lending and investments. Some of the largest and best-known companies in the world sit within the banking sector - including Goldman Sachs, UBS, JP Morgan, and HSBC - so it’s no wonder graduate jobs in banking are so in-demand.
Contrary to popular belief, there are a range of different graduate banking jobs - not just heavily numbers-focused roles like Accountancy, Analysts, and Investment Bankers; but a number of other banking jobs such as administration, compliance, operations sales, recruitment, and, due to the unstoppable rise of financial technology (FinTech), IT & Tech.
Whatever career in banking think you’d be best-suited to, there are certain skills and qualifications which will be attractive to any potential employer in the banking sector.
There is a huge range of graduate roles in banking; ranging from those which require financial knowledge, to those which are more client or customer-facing. Here are a few of the most common banking jobs for graduates in 2019:
Most banks will welcome graduates from all degree backgrounds. As you might expect, a degree in finance, math, or an aptitude for numbers will stand you in good stead for a graduate banking job. However, there are a number of other transferable skills which would make you a good fit for a career in banking.
Analytical skills are always in demand in banking. In many graduate banking jobs, the ability to look at raw data and draw reasoned conclusions is hugely valuable, helping those working in the industry to support their conclusions with real evidence and numbers. During the interview process, the employer may require you to take an online test to determine your analytical skills; but this isn’t usually necessary for all graduate banking jobs.
Across the board, problem-solving skills are a valuable skill for employers. With banking and financial markets always changing, employers want to hire graduates who are able to act upon issues proactively, and think outside of the box to find a viable solution. Employers will often be able to tell from your CV and your answers to interview questions how good you are at solving problems under pressure.
In the banking sector, you won’t always work with people who have the same level of knowledge as you do. However, you may be required to convey information to these individuals in an easy-to-understand, jargon-free, and yet professional manner; so great communication skills are key. During the job application process, you may be required to create a presentation; which will allow the employer to gauge whether you possess good communication skills.
Banking & finance graduate jobs are notoriously fast-paced, often with long hours and occasionally, stressful situations. Employers will want to know that you are able to work efficiently in high-pressure situations, as well as show resilience when times are tough. In a job interview, one of the most common interview questions an employer might ask is “how do you handle stress?” – to ascertain whether you remain level-headed in a stressful situation.
As with any financial career, anyone looking to work in banking should be aware of financial markets, and keep up to date with changes and movements. In graduate banking jobs, whether commercial banking or investment banking, you will need to be able to understand and explain market developments, as well as anticipate future changes. During the interview process, it’s important to mention your interest in banking, either by highlighting it on your graduate CV, or making sure to discuss in your interview. If you have done any work experience in banks, like investment banking work experiene or similar, then be sure to go into detail on your graduate CV.
In order to demonstrate that you have the skills to succeed in graduate banking jobs, you need to tailor your graduate CV to your job application.
In your personal statement, grab the employer’s attention by using relevant buzzwords, like ‘analytical’, and ‘organised’. Depending on what type of banking job you're looking to get into, do some keyword research on the relevant things to include.
Example: Ambitious Economics graduate from The University of Leeds (2.1), with a keen interest in financial markets and financial modelling. Following my internship with HSBC Bank (January – May 2019), I am now looking to use my practical experience in commercial banking, and develop my knowledge of the banking sector.
If you’re a recent graduate and you don’t have a lot of work experience, your education section will be a key part of your graduate CV. If you have studied a mathematical degree, make sure to list each of your final year modules, as well as any outstanding grades. You can also include any clubs, societies, volunteering or other projects you were involved in, that are relevant to banking & finance.
If you have undertaken an internship, or have any work experience in banking or finance work experience, make sure to include it here. This could have been on a university placement if you studied a relevant finance degree, or you may have undertaken some work experinece in banks after you graduated.
An interest in the banking sector is key, so list your particular interests to make it clear to a potential employer that you’re not only passionate about banking, but you also have a good knowledge of the sector.
Try to list as many relevant skills as you can, and if possible, give examples of times you have demonstrated these skills. If you have done some relevant work experience at banks, or you were part of a banking society at university, list all the skills you demonstrated.
As banking becomes increasingly digitalised, there has also been a huge rise in the number of IT & Tech graduate jobs in the banking sector. These graduate jobs include, but are not limited to:
Most challenger banks will be looking to hire graduates with a combination of all the skills listed above, as well as first-rate technical skills relevant to those graduate jobs.
Depending on the job you’re applying for, you may need to have studied a Computer Science degree or something similar, at university. You might also need experience working with a particular programming language, whether this be at university / in your spare time (i.e. on GitHub), or a certain amount of previous experience in a permanent role. Check out some of the free courses you can do to help you upskill and help you stand out when applying for graduate jobs in the FinTech sector.
Whatever graduate jobs in banking you’re interested in, there are several skills & qualifications that will stand you in good stead.