1. Register your interest in one of Springpod’s Finance Virtual Work Experience programmes
At Springpod we’ve got a couple of ways for you to explore what a career in finance really looks like. Trying out a virtual programme is the EASIEST way to start adding to your CV and Springpod offers work experience programmes in Investment Banking and Finance and Accounting. In each programme, you’ll take part in industry activities and quizzes, and get to question the experts in live webinars. So what are you waiting for? Apply now!
2. Speak to your school or college
One most overlooked (and easiest!) way to get useful work experience is to speak to the existing contacts in your network. Teachers, careers advisors or other students are all people that should be in your professional network so approach them about work experience first! It’s likely that a teacher at school has a contact that may be able to offer you a placement and remember it’s a careers advisor's job to build a list of contacts that can help their students, so it’s a better place to start than you think!
3. Finance departments
You might not know someone that works at a financial firm but chances are you know someone that works in an office which has a finance department (pretty much every business does!). Ask around your friends and family members to see what their finance department looks like and if there’s any way you can get involved. We’ve developed a template that you can use to get your name (and interest) out there!
4. Speak to a finance professional
You can gain a huge amount from simply speaking to someone in finance as they might be able to offer weekly coaching, answer any questions you have or give you some career path tips. Spending some time with a finance professional can be invaluable as they can help contextualise things you’ve learnt in your studies so far and give you a well-rounded view of what the profession looks like. They might even know someone that could offer you work experience, it's worth checking!
Make sure you get the best out of your conversation, be sure to make a list of appropriate questions beforehand and reflect on what you’ve learnt afterwards!
5. Volunteer work
When you think of a role in finance, you might think of suits and skyscrapers in the city. But providing financial advice isn’t just about making the rich richer. There are plenty of charities that offer financial advice to those who are struggling to manage, so why not volunteer at some? You’ll pick up a whole load of skills like communicating with clients and you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’re making a positive difference. We recommend you check out the Money Advice Trust, the Money Charity and the National Debtline - you’ll probably learn some tips and tricks that make you even better at handling your own financial affairs too!
6. Set yourself up as a financial consultant
Whilst you’ve got to be transparent about your experience and qualifications, chances are if you can handle your own finances you can help someone else stay on top of theirs! Come up with a template budget sheet and share it with your friends. Or try investing some money into stocks and shares, use YouTube to teach you how to get started and document your success in a spreadsheet - it may come in handy when you start interviewing for roles!
7. Use LinkedIn
Use LinkedIn to reach out to finance professionals, you can also look at their career history and see if they list any internships or work experience they did when they were getting started, it’s an easy (and smart) way to explore opportunities for you. You can also join industry groups so you can be up to date with the latest industry news.
LinkedIn has loads of global financial firms that put a lot of time into their LinkedIn presence - with technical writers dedicated to providing updates and thought-leadership articles; reading a couple of these a week will improve your understanding of how the sector actually works (rather than just the theory behind it), if you can evidence this in your personal statement, CV and job applications, you’re bound to stand out!
8. Join talent pools
We’ve put this point just below the LinkedIn way for a reason! Once you’ve found your favourite finance companies on LinkedIn, go one step further and see if they have a talent pool or invite finance enthusiasts for open days - these steps will help you start building your professional network and you’ll likely be one of the first in the know when new opportunities arise!
9. Saving the best for last - try to secure a summer internship
We know that securing a summer internship is a pretty difficult task. We’ve put together a template for you to start sending to finance firms. Take a little time to personalise it and add some personal experience and then get sending far and wide - what have you got to lose?
Remember to be resilient and that you won’t get a response every time, but keep trying.
If you do hear, back communication is key so make sure you’re always putting your best foot forward by being enthusiastic and engaging. Even if your hard work doesn’t result in an internship, well done for putting yourself out there, now you’ve got some professional contacts that you didn’t have at the start of the process!