How to Become a Financial Analyst
In this career guide, we will outline exactly how to become a financial analyst by networking, perfecting your resume, preparing for interview questions, telling your personal story, and mastering the art of financial modeling and business valuation. We’ve helped thousands of people become financial analysts over the years and know precisely what it takes.
Step #1 – Match your personality with a financial analyst career map
Before jumping in head first, it’s important to know how financial analyst roles differ across the corporate finance universe. There’s a big difference between a buy side analyst, a commercial banking analyst, and an equity research analyst (just to name a few).
In CFI’s Career Map, we outline what type of personality is best suited to each type of analyst position. Whether you’re introverted, extroverted, competitive, analytical, or sales oriented, will have a big impact on your success, and should be considered when evaluating which role you go for.
Step #2 – Start networking (a lot)
The key to getting a job in most areas of finance is networking. Like it or not, it’s the truth.
We have several specific ideas and tips on networking that will help you out:
- Join an investment club – Whether you’re in university or a working professional, there are many types of investment clubs available to join. By joining a club, you’ll be able to network with other financial analysts, learn more about finance/investing, and hear about job opportunities.
- Start a group on MeetUp.com – This goes one step further than joining a club. By starting your own group, you can be in control of the topics covered, types of people who join, and you’ll have a perfect excuse to reach out to working professionals you want to meet — to ask them to be a guest speaker at your meetup event!
- Use your Alumni network – Ask your university for a list of all the professionals in finance working as analysts who are willing to be contacted for mentorships and networking. It’s an easy introduction if someone is from your alma mater. Just remember not to ask them directly for a job. Keep the discussion more about understanding what they do at their job.
Step #3 – Tailor your resume and cover letter as a financial analyst
This step is fairly straightforward. We have developed extensive resources to help you build a Wall Street quality financial analyst resume and ace multiple rounds of interviews.
For more on resumes and cover letters please refer to:
When building your cover letter and resume (resources above), it’s important to weave a compelling personal story. The story has to clearly explain: (i) where you are coming from, (ii) where you are now, (iii) and where you want to be in the future. If you can connect these dots in a logical way and also demonstrate you’re a good culture fit, that’s more than half the battle.
Step #4 – Use interview guides to ace the interview
Like most things in life, being great at interviews takes practice. The best ways to practice are through (1) networking (as discussed above) and (2) using professional interview guides.
We’ve provided below four professional interview guides that use REAL questions from REAL corporate finance interviews, used thousands of times over at global banks.
Please review our interview Q&A guides on how to be ready for any question:
- Investment banking analyst interview
- Equity research associate interview
- Credit analyst interview
- FP&A analyst/manager interview
Step #5 – Master the technical skills of financial analysts
This is listed last, but it’s actually spread out over all of the above four steps.
CFI courses are specifically designed to give you the hands-on training you need to master financial modeling and become a world-class financial analyst. By taking our courses, you’ll be sure to learn industry best practices and all the most important tips and tricks. Our classes are based on real financial analyst training programs at Wall Street banks.
CFI courses are organized into several groups, with the most critical being:
Thank you for reading this CFI guide on how to become a financial analyst. CFI’s mission is to help anyone in the world get a job as a financial analyst, and in order to help you on your way, these additional resources will be a big help: