How to Choose a Finance Career

By: Kaplan Financial Education
February 28, 2019
Man deciding which finance career to pursue

The financial services industry is full of career options, which can make choosing a career path more challenging. This article will help you through the process of narrowing down your interests to find the right finance career.

Determine what success looks like to you

Before you set out to figure out your finance career path, it is good to reflect on what success means to you. While we’re bombarded with messages from family, friends, TV, movies, and books about what success is, the reality is that it is different for everyone. The trick is to figure out what truly makes you feel fulfilled and accomplished. Is it helping people reach a goal? Is it crunching numbers independently so business leaders can make better informed decisions? Not only is knowing what success means to you important, but so is knowing what kind of lifestyle you want. Is having a high paying job important to you? Is having work-life balance important? Do you want predictable hours or flexibility in your schedule? Knowing the answers to these types of questions will help you determine what finance career would be most fulfilling and best fit your lifestyle goals.

Do research on the industry

Once you have done the work of figuring out how you define success and your lifestyle goals, then it is a good idea to do research on what kinds of jobs are available. Internet research is a good starting place for finding out what type of jobs are out there and what types of job tasks and hours would be expected from you. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a great database explaining what the day-to-day tasks associated with different jobs are, as well as the projected employment growth for the next decade. You can start your research by reading our articles about what you can do with a finance career, common entry-level finance jobs, and finance jobs you might not have heard of.

Download the free eBook, Getting There from Here: Career Path Stories from Finance Professionals, to get firsthand accounts of what it's like to have a rewarding career in finance.

Informational interview

After doing some Internet research on the industry and creating a list of interesting potential jobs, you should consider setting up informational interviews with people in the field. While reading about a career is helpful, getting the perspective of people in the industry is even more insightful. You can ask to job shadow professionals and get a feel for what their day-to-day work life is really like.


After conducting informational interviews, you should have an even clearer picture of the right finance career for you. The best way to gain some experience and test a finance career path for yourself is by doing an internship. This will help you build your finance resume and polish your professional skills. You will also be able to build a professional network and get a foot in the door at a financial firm, which will only help your chances of landing a finance job at the end of your undergraduate program.

Choosing a finance career can seem daunting at first, but it does not have to be overwhelming. Start broadly by thinking about what matters most to you in a career, and then weed out options that don’t make sense for you. Doing informational interviews and internships will give you more confidence that your finance career path is what you want. Occasionally, you will end up in a job you thought you would like, but don’t...and that’s okay! You can always move on to something new, and you’ll have even more insight about yourself that can help you throughout the rest of your career. 

Free eBook: Career Path Stories from Finance Professionals

What if you could job shadow eight finance professionals in a wide variety of careers, with an array of career paths, all in a single day? We created this eBook to make that possible. Inside, we profile eight successful finance pros who at one time were in the same spot you're in now. We asked them what they do, what they like about it, and how they got to where they are today. We compiled their responses in this valuable eBook for college students planning to launch a finance career.