The question: Will VBA open the door to financial services?
Six months ago I moved from a career in accountancy to working as a data analyst doing Excel VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) programming. I have picked it up quickly and have many examples of how I have used it to solve real-life business problems.
I would like to work in financial services, but prior experience always seems to be a requirement. Is it possible to get my foot in the door, and how should I sell myself?
The solution: Your accountancy skills are an added bonus
Your aspirations are well matched to the current market and given the skills shortage that is starting to bite, this could be the optimum time for you to move.
Financial services firms can be extremely prescriptive in their recruiting requirements more so when you apply through an agency.
Many of the clients I deal with would view your accountancy background plus solid real-time Excel VBA skills very favourably.
If you have a maths or science degree, you will find employers very receptive to meeting with you. I often have roles that require VBA, alongside an open manner, to help the traders in the investment banks.
Write your CV based on achievements rather than responsibilities. Highlight the examples where you pulled together disparate information and further automated procedures.
Submit your details to clients directly, giving them the chance to save an agency fee. They are more inclined to take a chance on an individual if the cost is minimised.
The panel: Computer People, Hudson, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp, Wreay Group
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This was first published in April 2007