Career Spotlight: Financial Analyst

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If you are a fast learner, have a passion for details, possess an analytical mind, enjoy working systematically and consider yourself a people person, you might want to consider a future as a Financial Analyst.

Paul W. did. Despite having his Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and being accepted into a prestigious PhD program, he was certain there was a better career fit for him out there. Right before committing to the PhD program, Paul decided to take a career evaluation test which assesses personality types and matches them with occupations that optimize their skills, interests and strengths. The result, while a major departure from Chemistry, was not all that surprising to Paul: his personality profile was ideal for a career in Finance.

No Looking Back

Wasting no time, Paul immediately embarked on a search for new career opportunities. When asked if he felt daunted by the thought of leaving all his Chemistry training behind, Paul laughingly admits that he hardly gave it a second thought. "Finance and Chemistry have a lot in common," he explained. "They are both very exacting and require a lot of analytic work. What makes them different - and what truly mattered to me - is that, in addition to all the analysis, computations, and the need for attention to detail, Finance often requires one to explain things to people. It calls for a lot of communication."

Debra Andriacchi, a Senior Account Executive at the AppleOne Temecula, CA office, recalls interviewing Paul. "He had such a can-do attitude, and I was immediately positive that he would go far with AppleOne. He had some concerns about his lack of Finance background, but I told him what I tell all our associates: that we focus more on the individual's strengths, goals and attitude. These often provide us with more insight into the type of career or assignment that would best fit the applicant." As it happens, a client from the Finance industry had an Administrative position that needed to be filled ASAP. Debra immediately sent in Paul's resume and in return, secured Paul an interview with the company.

"I went in prepared to start off in a Temporary Administrative position, and they asked me to take a psychometric test. During the interview, the company did not offer me a Temp assignment - they hired me as a full-time, entry-level Financial Analyst."

Getting Up to Speed

Paul was having the time of his life, and he was determined to succeed. A very quick study and extremely hardworking, he soon earned the support and respect of both his peers and superiors. "I knew that I still had so much to learn, so I sought out the more successful managers and strived to learn as much from them as possible."

And learn he did. All this took place in 1996. By late 1997, Paul was given his first of many promotions - he moved up to a Senior Analyst position. A year later, he became a Team Leader. By 1999, Paul was a Manager, and then became a Division Manager the following year. He was officially promoted to the position of Vice President in 2001.

The Power of Persistence

When asked if this dizzying series of promotions eventually took him away from the challenges and demands that made him gravitate toward Finance, he happily said "No, I remember my sister asking me years ago what I wanted to do, and funnily enough, my description of what I wanted then matches what I'm doing now. But at that time, she told me not to limit myself, and I was crestfallen by the thought that what I wanted may not be possible. I didn't give up, though. I worked hard and persisted. That experience gave me a healthy respect for the power of having the right attitude."

A View From the Top

His typical day as a Vice President is, in essence, still similar to his days as a novice. It still begins at eight in the morning, and his talent for analysis, attention to detail and organization remain well-honed. And it gets better. The enjoyment he derives from servicing and presenting to clients is now enhanced by experience and considerable expertise.

Paul's position as Vice President also means he does a lot of hiring for the company. What helps him decide whether or not to hire a candidate? "I need to see that they did their homework - that even if they are coming from an altogether different background, they at least made the effort to know more about what they are getting into. A person who already has some background in Finance may have an advantage, but the most important things to me are attitude and enthusiasm. If you start knowing little, it can be remedied by your willingness to learn." Paul also adds, "Optimism is crucial. I understand that people may currently not have many job choices. They have to remember, though, that they will always have a choice on how they approach situations."

When asked if he had any career advice for AppleOne associates, Paul left us with three of his most trusted success strategies: "First, make sure you connect and talk to people who have been successful. Second, don't be afraid to ask questions, a lot if necessary and always be willing to learn. Last and most important, always - ALWAYS - treat everybody the way you want to be treated."

To learn how YOU can maximize your marketability as a job seeker, download our Core to Success manual.

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