When I was in college, I wanted to become a financial planner. By the end of college, I had received somewhere between 8-10 offers to become a financial planner at various firms. How did I do it?
I got ready early.
First, I picked a great school that would help me take the courses I needed. And the college had to offer online courses so I could take internships in various cities. The courses I chose reflected my ultimate goal of becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). My college even agreed to help me get my certifications. I took the right courses that would make a hiring financial adviser’s eyes shine with excitement.
I was fitting the criteria they looked for. I made it known I wanted to become a financial planner. Everyone I knew, knew this fact. This got me countless information interviews. People would often say to me, “Oh, my uncle is a CFP – he’d love to meet you.” Basically, I would call up uncles and ask them if I could come talk to them about how they got the life that I want as well. They always eagerly agreed. I mean, I wanted to go tell them how awesome they are, why wouldn’t they agree to meet?! This helped me get a good feel for the industry.
And it also led me to 4 internship offers at various firms. I took one and it was invaluable. I took an internship with a major financial advising firm over the summer while still taking 12 online credits. So that first step of finding the perfect school paid off.
These are the results of that internship:
• Developed proficiency in financial planning, creating insurance illustrations and proposals, sales, client data input, database maintenance, and administrative support
• Assisted financial advisors on evening appointments with clients to present investment and insurance plans
And on the final few days of that internship, I got a full-time job offer from my internship firm- and from other firms that got wind of my experience. AND these firms were willing to pay for my accreditation to become a CFP and get my other licenses.
College started all of this. If I hadn’t gone to college, I would have been promptly dismissed by nearly every firm. You don’t have to have a financial degree to become a CFP — but taking the tests without a college education at least related to business/finance would make things monumentally more difficult.
My Quick Steps to Becoming a Financial Planner:
1. Find a college that offers the best business/finance courses available
2. Conduct informational interviews with your favorite CFPs
3. Take internships
4. Let the job offers pour in Ultimately, I decided not to become a CFP. But because I chose the right college and made my resume diverse enough, this wasn’t an issue. And if I ever wanted to become one, I could go back. These tips will still be useful decades from now. And that’s why they will remain posted here for decades to come.
Pic courtesy of Patrick Hesse