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The Financial Planner’s Guide to Landing a Job

Congrats, you have earned your certification, affixed CFP to your name, and are ready to start helping change lives. But in today’s challenging environment, what can you do to stand out from the crowd and get hired? How do you land a job and get your career in motion?

The Basics Matter 

According to Your Dedicated Fiduciary wealth strategist and founder Vance Barse, CPWA®, AIF®, many applicants aren’t even covering the basics of spellchecking and formatting their resumes. Barse said, “It is mindboggling to me how many resumes I have received that have spelling errors on them, that have inconsistent formatting. I’m not looking for a Monet here. I’m simply looking for something that is capable of being read and analyzed in a pretty efficient way.” 

These simple mistakes happen, but when you are touting attention to detail as a strength, it can be a huge error. Making sure your resume is not only spellchecked but also grammatically correct is critical. You’ll want to make sure your verb tenses match and that your formatting is crisp, clear, and professional. 

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Play to Your Strengths When Looking for a Job  

Asked what a perspective candidate can do to stand out, Barse said, “By overemphasizing the core competencies and idiosyncratic expertise that she or he has based on credentials and experience. Because if a resume reads, with simplicity, ‘Financial planning, investment management,’ that’s great. But if you really want to stand out as a candidate, what I want to see is a more detailed peeling back of the onion that really helps me understand what are your proclivities as a practitioner.” 

If there’s ever a time to brag about what you do, it’s during a job hunt. As you reiterate your talents and experiences, don’t be afraid to drill into specifics and be as open and expressive about your thought processes, triumphs, and expertise as possible. 

When Going Through the Hypotheticals, Don’t Miss the Obvious 

At some point, most job interviews in any field will provide hypothetical situations. Financial planners might be given a set of facts and asked to note patterns and walk through potential opportunities. The urge in some of these tests could be to think of something innovative or exciting, but it’s important to note the low-hanging fruit and show off the basics.  

Noting that he wasn’t calling out CFPs broadly, Barse shared, “It’s very surprising that the number of people who miss planning opportunities and have credentials is so high. It’s just something that I would not have guessed, prior to interviewing.” 

What People Hiring Financial Planners Need to Consider 

Of course, job interviews are two-way streets. It is important for prospective employers to understand what a talented CFP might need.

Barse offered, “The 2019 economy is a thing of the past. People now want to live lives of purpose, and fulfillment. The whole work modality has changed.” The pandemic has changed the way people think about work. Talented employees don’t want to burn their time commuting into an office when work can be done from home. Additionally, many people moved to be closer to their families in the early days of the pandemic, which means employers with the rigid idea of finding the right person locally could be missing out on top-tier talent that is looking for remote work. 

In interviewing for positions in his own firm, Barse shared that a number of applicants already have jobs when they begin their search, adding, “One common theme among almost all of those applicants is that they are looking for remote work because their firm is going to require them to come into the office.” 

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