Skill matching - Turn your everyday skills into an investment career

You might think that working in investment demands very technical skills, but you may already have what it takes to succeed. Let’s look at some everyday attributes that come in handy in investment roles.

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If you can research Mary, Queen of Scots and present a report on her to your class, then you may have what it takes to become an analyst.

Analysts have to present on potential investment opportunities.

They research the subject, digging to find out the detail. Then they weigh up the evidence and come to a conclusion.

Finally they present their findings to their colleagues. Just as you did for your class project!

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How would you decide between many different destinations? Perhaps you’d look at the different hotels on offer and how much there was to do. Then you’d think about which holiday offered the best value for money. And you’d think about what your friends – and you – actually want from your holiday. Well, you could be an ideal investment professional.

Making a clear choice based on the evidence isn’t always easy and decision-making in investment isn’t always about the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choice. Often it’s about deciding between two equally challenging options. Investors need to consider the evidence, use sound judgment and stand by their decision. When the stakes are high, no one will give you an easy ride.

As an investment analyst and manager you have to explain your case and if you believe you are right, stand up to scrutiny. Use your evidence and make your case. You may also have to travel!

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We won’t! It’s the best way to learn. Curiosity and critical thinking are vital skills for the investor. It’s important not to take things at face value but to really delve deep and explore all the angles.

To find the right answer you need to ask the right questions. What makes this company’s product unique? How do consumers in China influence producers in South America? What about the technological developments that could revolutionise the world? What about behavioural psychology? We don’t ask you to research it all, but the opportunities are open.

Seeing things that others haven’t noticed is a great way of getting ahead. It enables you to see possibilities and become a leader rather than a follower.

You’re a people person who can build rapport with both clients and colleagues. You are genuinely interested in others and take the time to listen, understand and help them achieve their goals. You know how to make clients feel in safe hands. You could be perfect in Client Relations.

You would work closely with clients who invest their company’s money with you. The client could be a pension scheme, a charity, or a financial institution investing people’s savings (including people like your mum and dad).

Over time you would work to build trust with your client, understanding their needs so that your investment teams can choose the best course of action.

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The theatre crowd sees the actors on a stage, but there are plenty of people working hard behind the scenes to make a show happen. The same is true in investment.

People in Operations Teams may not be in the limelight, but they do a huge range of roles which are vital to the effective running on the company and, importantly, to how effectively the clients’ money is managed.

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If you’re a good multi-tasker then you could be perfect in the IT team of an investment firm.

You’d be on hand to offer technical support, introduce new systems, or write up instructions that the whole team can understand. You need to be able to do lots of jobs at once, by prioritising tasks and planning your workload.

You also need to be diplomatic as everyone thinks their needs are the most urgent!

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If you are good at getting people interested in things you could be cut out for a career in Marketing.

Like all companies, investment firms need to tell potential clients what they do and how they do it.

It’s up to the Marketing team to create interesting websites, social media feeds and printed materials.