Essential graduate skills:
Financial Planning has many areas of skill required, and many areas of different types of advice. Some advisers are very highly mathematically skilled and work with highly technical strategies for complex clients or more behind the scenes, whilst others focus on simple advice that is more about helping everyday people and needs to be more generic and people-oriented.
Where you choose to specialise will depend on your specific area of interest.
You MUST be mathematically and technically competent, however some roles will require more focus on coaching, psychological, and communication skills.
How to stand out as a graduate:
To gain a role in financial planning, people should be ensuring they are well-presented, well-spoken, with excellent communication skills and grammar, spelling and language abilities. You should have an interest in people, and a genuine wish to help others. Many people have software and mathematical skills, but lack the softer people and sales skills required to be successful.
“Foot in the door” suggestions for graduates:
It is usually possible to gain industry experience at a starting level in related industries. Look at every skill you will need for the role you wish to do, and then find a position where you can start learning and experiencing those skills. It is better to do something, even on a voluntary basis than it is to sit around and complain that you didn’t get what you want first try. You should also ask for feedback from other people on your strengths and weaknesses, join the related professional associations, and continue to study related areas.
Be open and willing to try anything.
You are guaranteed to learn something valuable from any role you do.
Industry personality trait musts:
Being willing to learn, open to opportunities, enthusiastic, and personable will go a long way. Arrogance and thinking you know it all will kill your career before you start. Find an area you are passionate about and get involved in any way you can. If you are not passionate about any of it but are just looking for a job, it will show very quickly and you won’t get anywhere.