Finding your way into the financial services sector

For many Officers, a career in the financial services sector can provide a viable opportunity to maximise the skills gained during their Service career.

Ian Philpot (pictured right) had a 12 year career in the Military Corps. He is now Senior Business Control Specialist in the Transaction Reporting Team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He found his way into the financial services after being invited to attend a Military Insight Day by a contact who worked at the bank. A month later he was offered a nine month contract at the bank, which was followed by a fulltime role.

Although Ian was not prepared  for a career in the financial sector ”I didn’t have a financial skillset” what he did have, like many officers. was “the  drive, the determination and the military skillset in order to deliver.

“One of the key things about the sector is being able to deliver.  Officers have an inherent risk analysis based mind set we are all very good at taking initiative and that puts us in a very good position when we are trying to get into these organisations.”

So what is the best way to transition into the financial sector? “As my route to entry proved, networking is key to being able to get into this sector. It’s all about contacts. One of the things that was said to me was: ‘you need to have a contact who thinks of you before anyone else’ when it comes to jobs. Sometimes that’s how you get in the industry.  The way you get more exposure to networking and making contacts is attending the Insight Days. Go to as many of these as you can to get an insight into the company culture. They will bring you into contact with ex-military people that want to help you.“

When it come to useful expertise, according to Ian,  management skills are useful but not the most essential: “Analytical expertise is where you are going to make a value add. Being able to analyse objectively information that comes to you and make decisions based on that, that are good for whatever line of business you are in, makes you good for the industry.”

So what are the roles within the sector that most former officers move into.  “Risk management covers every area of financial services, which is why it is an area that officers are very good at naturally and where we see many transition into.”

When thinking of transitioning into the financial services sector, remember the following:

  • Access into the industry is multi-faceted.   Attending an Insight Day is one way of entry,  networking is another, applying with the right CV is another way.   When you do find your way in, think of it as a stepping stone to what you want to do in the future. It’s unlikely that you will go straight into the area that you want to go into straight away.
  • You have a skillset that is needed. Officers have a base layer of skills that will be appreciated by financial organisations, Officers can plan, manage and deliver, those three things are extremely important in the industry.

To listen to the full webinar click here.