Getting ahead in the finance industry is about more than the latest financial skills. Of course, you’ll need the necessary technical know-how and expertise to do your job well. Ultimately, however, it’s soft skills that set you apart in your job hunt and eventual career path.
Hard skills refer to technical knowledge and proficiencies that can be practised and refined throughout your career. In the financial sector, examples of hard skills would be your ability to analyse and report on quarterly results, being able to use relevant software, and having the technical know-how to effectively do your job.
These are the skills needed to work in finance. Think of them as the technical basis on which you build a long and successful career. In most cases, you’ll need to have demonstrable experience in these skills, and may only be considered for certain roles if you meet these criteria.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are linked to your personality and social abilities. Examples would be the ability to deal with difficult clients, being a supportive colleague, and being a good negotiator. While more difficult to learn or train for, these are the types of skills that make you a sought-after co-worker or employee. Soft skills are becoming increasingly important to employers as company culture and holistic employee happiness are emphasised more.
Recruiting a new member for a team is about more than just getting someone who can get the job done. Recruiters are looking for people who can complement the current team dynamics, and bring unique skills and abilities to the table. There are a few key skills required for finance jobs; possessing them can give you the leading edge when it comes to applying for your next position.
Regardless of your seniority in the company, having strong leadership skills makes you a valuable team member. You’ll be able to implement more effective processes, introduce new ideas, and provide guidance and ideas for your colleagues.
Being able to manage your time effectively is a valuable ability. Not only will your time management skills make you more productive and therefore lead to more profits for your company, but you’ll also be able to manage stressful deadlines better and run a lower risk of burning out.
This one may not seem like a skill per se, but having a strong work ethic is crucial for your long term career growth. It’s what drives you to work harder, meet more quotas, and surpass expectations. A good work ethic all but guarantees the attention of your higher-ups; a clear path to future promotions.
The ability to convey your ideas clearly and succinctly is powerful in the professional setting. With more offices moving to a hybrid or remote model, excellent communication has taken centre stage. You’ll be able to share your ideas, avoid misunderstandings, and maintain healthy workplace relationships.
The financial sector is constantly evolving. Staying up to date with new trends, technologies, and tools is a key skill to have. It ensures you stay informed on relevant topics, and gives you the chance to proactively upskill where necessary.
Two-thirds of respondents in a 2020 CIMA survey cited the ability to quickly adapt to new workplace demands and trends as a key skill they’re focused on developing. Nearly half of employers agreed. Continuous learning and agility is becoming a core competency within the financial sector.
Prioritising your professional and interpersonal skills development is key to standing out from the competition and progressing in your career.
Joining professional workshops, pursuing postgraduate studies in related fields, and getting memberships to professional bodies are all good ways to build your soft and hard skills in the finance sector. We’re here to help you spark your professional curiosity and build a financial career you can be proud of.
Contact us today to discuss your next career move.
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