Q: I am a senior in high school. My hope is to work in a summer job (next year – 2022) related to finance. How do I secure such a job? I love math and numbers. I enjoy watching the stock market and learning about investments. I know I am introverted so I am less inclined to learn about sales. What can I be doing now?
A: Congrats on being able to identify a possible career path, which also capitalizes on your enjoyment of math and numbers. Understanding that you are an introvert is helpful too. Maybe you won’t be in sales but that does not mean you won’t have a promising career path.
I consulted Jon Carson, CEO, and co-founder of College Guidance Network. Carson’s firm helps students, and those supporting them (e.g., parents, guardians, or school counselors) more effectively navigate the college admissions process. Carson suggests that you may want to consider “producing a study or analysis on a topic related to the stock market and a specific company’s performance. This could demonstrate your quantitative skills and your understanding of the company.” Carson continues “Finance is an area where there is a higher bar for quality. This analysis would differentiate you from others competing for similar roles.”
Carson raises a valid point. Candidates can differentiate themselves in a positive way. Carson suggests providing an analysis, which showcases your analytical skills. Candidates can also differentiate themselves in a negative way so be careful of that. Examples include providing a sloppy analysis, not emailing a thank-you note after a live or video interview, presenting a poorly crafted resume, or dressing inappropriately for a live or video interview.
You also want to begin developing and building your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to include keywords, so companies looking to hire find you. Keywords that may apply to your profile include finance, analysis, Excel, and summer. Add several connections each week. Join groups on LinkedIn. You can also follow companies of interest.
Finally, be ready with a resume. Your resume should be one page, simple, and easy to read. Ask a trusted friend, school counselor, or family member to review your resume. Most of us miss our own silly typos.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.