The finance industry is competitive, and you can bet that when you apply for a new opportunity, you’re not the only qualified candidate vying for the position.  As a candidate, you need to take every opportunity to make the case that you are the best person for the job. Here are four ways to make yourself a sure-fire, in-demand financial job candidate.

Target Your Search

If you want to be sure that you are the ideal candidate for an employer, the first step is to only apply to positions that align with your skills and your goals. If you’re in a bad work situation or if you are between jobs, it can be tempting to apply to every finance job you see, but that approach can actually be counterproductive.

If you want to catch hiring managers’ eyes, you must customize every resume and cover letter to the financial position you’re applying for. That way, potential employers will see right off the bat that you are someone they should talk to face-to-face.

Connect The Dots

A great resume and impressive experience can help you stand out, but it’s up to you to connect the dots and illustrate the ways your financial skills and experience align with the job requirements. This requires you to quantify your achievements whenever possible on both your resume and during interviews. Be prepared with very specific examples that showcase the skills and knowledge the company is looking for.

Keep in mind that even the best candidates won’t necessarily check off every item on a hiring manager’s wish list. Don’t be afraid to address potential gaps or weaknesses head on.  Say something like, “I’m only an intermediate-level user on that system, but that is due to limited exposure in my current position.  I am in an online class to build my skills.” This shows that you are honest, that you’re self-aware and can identify your weaknesses, but that you’re also a self-starter who is working to improve.

Prep Your References

Your references can ultimately make or break your chances of getting an offer. Try to create as diverse a list as possible with former supervisors, supervisees, colleagues, vendors, customers, etc.

Go through your list and make certain that every person will actually provide a positive reference.  Confirm that they are still willing to act as a reference and prepare them for calls.  Tell each reference about the position you applied for, and outline why you are the best person for the job.

Work With A Finance Recruiter

If you really want to find your ideal finance job, it pays to work with a professional recruiter. Recruiters are always looking to fill positions that haven’t been posted to the general public, and they work closely with you to ensure they only recommend positions that closely align with your skills and goals. Furthermore, they can help prepare you for interviews and they “pre-sell” you to hiring managers before you ever step through the door.

What’s your next step?

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