Applying for a job in finance
Finance is a diverse and process driven industry, so it’s vital you know exactly who you are applying to, what the role is, and how to apply for it.
While the finance sector advertises many positions, they
all attract a high number of applicants. Prior to applying for finance jobs, study
the industry and familiarise yourself with what its key employers are looking for in applicants. The employer hubs at gradireland.com/organisations is a great
source of information. Researching the background, culture and recruitment process of each company is vital.
Background and culture
• What does the organisation do,
and where is it located?
• Who are the company’s clients
• Any notable or newsworthy
• What type of culture does the
• Does the company have specific
core values, and do they match
your own values?
• Does the company match your
career ambitions, and would you
be happy working there?
Is the size of the organisation an important factor? What type of corporate environment would you prefer to work in – a large firm with great facilities, structured programmes and lots of peers; or a small firm, with possibly more scope
for individuality? Also, if acquiring a professional qualification while working is a requirement, you need to ensure the employer can support you in this regard.
Applying for the job
Finance sector firms operate their recruitment processes in a very structured fashion. Large accountancy firms operate what is known as the ‘milk round’ in
October of each year, arranging presentations in third level institutions to brief graduates on the firm, what opportunities exist and what their recruitment processes are. This provides an excellent opportunity if you’re interested in the relevant
companies. Talk to your careers service about the necessary preparations required for these opportunities, as they can be highly competitive. Ahead of preparing
your application, make sure you know:
What degree subjects the employer is looking for and whether you match their
• What’s the recruitment process? Assessment centres? Several interviews? Or a combination of both?
• Also, do some research on the experiences of other applicants.
Many large finance companies are quite high profile, so useful information is bound to be available online. Increasingly, companies are switching to online application
forms instead of the traditional CV and cover letter. However, if you have a good CV, you can apply much of the same information to an online form, so it’s still important to have a good CV to hand as the basis for applications, no matter what the application method is.
Finance applications: a step-by-step guide
The standard process for applying for financial positions is as follows:
Online application forms:
These forms cover all the information that you should include in your CV. They
can often include a personality based questionnaire or a numerical
First round interviews:
These are initial screening interviews, held either at the company’s premises or
in local hotels or colleges.
Increasingly popular, these last from a few hours in duration to up to two days.
Some of the tests at assessment centres include group exercises, case studies, in-tray exercises and psychometric tests.