15 Best Entry Level Finance Jobs in 2020

Best Entry Level Finance Jobs in 2020

The financial sector offers an ever-growing supply of career opportunities. If you’re interested in the inner workings of businesses and markets, if you enjoy working with numbers or if you’re looking for an exciting and competitive career, a job in finance may be the perfect fit.

According to Kiplinger, finance is one of the top 25 majors for students looking to enter a lucrative career field. Financial analysts and advisors are expected to see job growth of 11% or more over the next decade and starting salaries in the field hover around $56,000 a year.

Entry level finance jobs are known for paying well and offering high bonuses for those who make it to the top. Although you might not land your dream job straight out of college, there are plenty of entry level opportunities and chances to grow and evolve in the field once you’ve gotten a foot in the door.

Tips for Finding Entry Level Finance Jobs

Whether you’re just beginning your education or are a recent graduate looking for the best entry level finance jobs for your degree, here are a few tips that can help with the job search:

Familiarize yourself with the available positions. There are many more options for an accounting degree than becoming an accountant. Exploring your options will help you to secure a job that truly fits your skills and expectations so you can be happier in your career.

Choose something that fits your skills, interests and background. Just because financial jobs all deal with numbers doesn’t make them the same. Consider additional factors such as whether you’d prefer to work alone or with a team, whether you like a more theoretical or hands-on approach, and whether you’d enjoy self-employment or would rather be part of a firm. These decisions can help you narrow down the job field and find the career path that’s right for you.

Understand the requirements for the position you’re seeking. Some jobs require additional certifications, licensing and training beyond a college degree. Others will expect you to complete an internship before moving on to a well-paid starting position. Be sure to read job requirements carefully and do your research before you take the next step.

You will need to take the time to craft a personalized cover letter for finance jobs. A cookie-cutter approach to job applications won’t help you stand out in a competitive field. Personalize your application to each employer and, you might consider seeking the assistance of a professional resume writing service that can help you put your best foot forward.

Finance jobs can be richly rewarding and offer great pay and growth potential. The field is very competitive, however, so it may take some time to find the job of your dreams. Lateral moves and career shifts are common in this field as workers find the best fit. Once you’ve found a career path that works for you, though, you’re in a great position to grow and strengthen your skills so you can become a high-earning financial professional.

Entry Level Finance Jobs for New Grads

If you’re new to the business world, you may be surprised at the variety and breadth of finance jobs. Although all entry level finance jobs have similarities, the actual day-to-day work and duties can vary substantially. As you begin your finance job search or start planning your career, you’ll want to take some time to understand the best jobs out there to suit your skills and expectations. Below are our top 15 picks for entry level finance jobs worth pursuing in 2020 and beyond.

1. Accountant

Many finance jobs build on accounting skills and knowledge, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no need for general accountants. Accountants can find work in accounting firms, on the payroll for large companies or as independent contractors working with businesses and individuals alike.

To become an accountant, you will generally need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business or a related field. You may also want to receive a license to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in order to access the best-paying positions.

The median national salary for accountants with one to three years of experience is $64,250. The job entails reviewing ledger accounts and keeping track of financial records. An accountant is responsible for assisting with a company’s internal budgeting as well as keeping track of annual and quarterly earnings and expenses.

2. Tax Associate

A tax associate has professional knowledge and experience in local, state and federal tax laws. These professionals may work in accounting firms, be employed by companies or work as independent contractors.

Most tax associates have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. Some seek further education by acquiring an MBA in accounting or finance.

Tax associates make a median of $61,750 annually with one to three years of experience. The job entails finding ways to minimize a person or company’s tax liability by finding appropriate deductions and adjustments. Tax experts are also responsible for keeping records and using financial software to file tax payments and returns.

3. Financial Analyst

A financial analyst provides investment advice to businesses and individuals. This involves assessing the investment market and identifying the best stocks, bonds and other investment vehicles to suit a client’s needs. Other terms for this job position include investment analyst or securities analyst.

Most financial analysts work in banks, insurance companies or securities firms. They may operate in both buy-side and sell-side investments, or they may focus more on research or in business media jobs.

The median annual wage of a financial analyst is $85,600. Fund managers may receive their compensation as a percentage of the returns on the assets they manage, so a skilled analyst can secure a hefty income over time.

4. Credit Analyst

A credit analyst might work for a bank, asset management company, equity firm or other financial institution. This job role’s primary function is to assess a customer’s credit application. The job requires research skills and knowledge, and it can be a great choice for people who like investigative work.

Most credit analysts have college degrees, but it is possible to enter the field with a certification program instead. Advanced degrees open more opportunities with growth potential and higher starting wages.

Credit analyst wages start around $39,000 and may go up to $100,000 or more per year. The average annual salary for people in this position is $64,500. Opportunities for growth include expanding into loan management, portfolio management or investment banking.

5. Data Analyst

If you love finance and technology, a data analyst position might be your ideal calling. This job requires the collection, organization and analysis of data. Depending on the job, you might be reviewing sales performance, analyzing stock and inventory, or even monitoring marketing and social media campaigns.

Data analysis involves spotting patterns, producing reports and sharing insights with others in a collaborative work environment. Depending on the specific type of analysis you do and the place you choose to work, you can expect a starting salary to range between $51,000 and $65,000.

Most data analysts have a bachelor’s degree, but advanced analytics positions usually require graduate-level schooling. It’s also important to pursue additional certifications and skill proficiencies with the technological tools required for your given niche.

6. Budget Analyst

A budget analyst helps companies or organizations with annual budgets, helping to keep expenses on track to meet financial goals. Job duties include running financial reports, assessing funding needs and helping to make operational decisions for ongoing and one-time expenses. If you enjoy collaborative work and the puzzle-solving aspect of crunching numbers, a budget analyst position could be your perfect calling.

There are budget analyst jobs in both the private and public sector, with up to 20% of all budget analysts working in the government. This means that these positions usually come with excellent benefits and good starting pay: budget analysts make a median of $74,000 and can earn higher salaries with experience and the right position.

A bachelor’s degree is usually the foundation of a budget analyst’s education. Finance and accounting are good choices for areas of study. If you’re planning on a government position, you’ll also want to obtain the Certified Government Financial management certification through the Association of Government Accountants.

7. Economist

If you’re interested in the big picture and enjoy research and the science behind the financial world, a future in economics might be a great fit. Economists study trends and data in a variety of sectors from government to business. Some choose to work in academics. Others work for the government or take on the role of advisors and consultants for organizations.

Most private sector economist jobs require an advanced degree such as a master’s or Ph.D in economics. Some government entry-level positions are available for graduates with a bachelor’s degree. Economists need a solid background in mathematics and strong writing and communications skills.

Economist starting salaries vary depending on your level of education and your chosen workplace, but the median annual starting wage can be as high as $64,000 for government jobs. Economists in the private sector can earn even more.

8. Insurance Claims Adjuster

The insurance industry is one of the most robust parts of the financial world, and there are many exciting jobs available to those interested in the field. If you like investigation and working with the public, a job as an insurance adjuster might be a good fit.

“Adjuster” can mean many things depending on the specific position you hold. Some adjusters are damage appraisers who look at damaged property and provide an estimate for repairs. Others work on behalf of an insurance company to assess responsibility in an accident and get the most money for their claimants in a settlement. You can also work as an investigator who looks into cases of suspected fraud or insurance-related crime.

Unlike many jobs in the financial sector, insurance adjuster positions do not require a college degree. However, some employers still prefer applicants who are college graduates. Specialized training and licensing is required to work as a claims adjuster, but you may be able to get licensed through your employer and avoid seeking an individual certification yourself. Entry level insurance adjusters start at $34,700, but experience can swiftly double that as your career grows.

9. Insurance Underwriter

If the insurance industry appeals to you but you’d rather avoid fieldwork, underwriting may be a good choice. An insurance underwriter evaluates applications and determines whether to provide coverage and what terms should apply. Underwriters establish the rates for policies and weed out potential customers who carry too much risk.

Most insurance underwriters have bachelor’s degrees, but it’s possible to gain a position if you have a strong background in insurance-related work and analysis. Underwriters work for insurance companies and generally work in an office setting.

Some insurance companies have switched to using automated underwriting software, reducing the demand for this type of work. However, it is still a popular and well-paying position for many firms. The median entry-level salary for an underwriter is $46,600.

10. Personal Financial Advisor

A personal financial advisor works with an individual, rather than a company, to establish a financial plan. This may include creating a budget, determining the best way to manage savings, and advising on investments. A financial advisor’s clients are usually wealthy individuals with considerable assets or an estate that needs to be managed, but some advisors may choose to specialize in a different type of clientele.

The majority of personal finance advisors work for themselves or as members of a firm. Their work usually consists of client meetings and time spent in the office researching, creating financial reports or managing client investments. This can be a “jack of all trades” finance job, which may be an exciting opportunity for the right candidate.

Most personal financial advisors have a bachelor’s degree or higher in finance, accounting or a similar field. Entry level pay starts at $44,500 and can double with time and experience in the field.

11. Actuary

An actuary analyzes the risks and consequences of business decisions. These individuals come from a strong mathematical background and bring their knowledge of financial theory and statistics into the business world. An actuary’s role is to make educated guesses about uncertain future events and decisions so that a company can strategize effectively and safeguard against likely threats.

An actuary can be employed as a consultant by many types of businesses, but the role is most common in insurance companies, investment firms, large corporations and any other group that manages a large financial risk. The stakes for the company can be very high, so be prepared for a high-risk, high-reward style of work in this type of job.

In order to qualify for this job, you’ll need to study mathematics, statistics and finance. You’ll also need to pass tests administered by the Society of Actuaries or Casualty Actuarial Society in order to work in the insurance industry. The average entry level salary is around $56,000 and experienced actuaries usually draw six-figure salaries.

12. Compensation and Benefits Specialist

Also called remuneration specialists, compensation and benefits specialists can usually be found working in human relations departments. They oversee employee compensation and benefits within a company, determining fair wages that fill the needs of both employee and employer. Day-to-day duties include maintaining compensation databases, researching the job market, handling annual performance reviews and updating job descriptions.

Benefits specialists usually have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance or human resources. It can also help to have a background in business ethics and communication. Internships are a common part of this job role, so you’ll want to factor that into your decision to pursue this career.

Starting wages for compensation and benefits specialists are around $41,000 – $43,000. Your individual wages may vary depending on the company that hires you and how much experience you bring to the role.

13. Financial Auditor

A financial auditor shares many similarities with an accountant, but there are some differences in the requirements and expectations of the two jobs. A financial auditor’s primary concern is ensuring that a company’s financial statements are compliant with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). As such, an auditor primarily focuses on identifying fraud or errors in a company’s financial documents.

In this role, an auditor may examine a company’s financial statements, accounting entries, tax returns, cash flow statements and other financial documents. The auditor may be employed by the company itself to oversee finances, or it may be brought in as an outside consultant in cases where fraud or errors are suspected. Attentiveness and a keen eye for detail will serve you well in this role.

Becoming a financial auditor usually require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting or finance. Practical accounting experience also goes a long way toward securing a better paying position in this role. Entry-level auditors can expect to earn between $52,000 – $66,000 depending on their background.

14. Loan Officer

A loan officer is a financial expert who has extensive knowledge of loans and their requirements or conditions. They may specialize in commercial loans, mortgages, personal loans or a combination of the above. They may also hold the duties of a credit analyst, but the job roles are often distinct.

As a loan officer, you’ll be working with people. You’ll often be meeting clients one-on-one to discuss their financial goals and go over the application process, help clients choose the right loan and explain anything that might be confusing about a loan offer or refusal of credit. Strong people skills are a must for this type of work.

A loan officer usually works for a bank, credit union or other lending institution. Their role is to act as a liaison between the bank and the applicant. Loan officers do not require formal education, but you will need to receive a professional license. The starting salary for a loan officer is $32,000 – $34,000 with room to grow with experience and education.

15. Financial Planner

A financial planner works with an individual to organize finances and advise about investments and savings. In some cases, a financial planner may double as a personal financial advisor. However, some financial planners have more of a one-time relationship with their clients than a financial advisor would. Financial planners often help aging clients who are facing retirement or who need help structuring their estates.

A financial planner usually has a background in accounting, and most will have a degree in accounting, finance or a similar field. They will also need to obtain a professional certification to work in this field.

Financial planners may be compensated through hourly consultation rates, retainer fees, or as a percentage of the assets being managed. This means that pay can vary between individual planners, but a starting salary of $58,000 – 60,000 is normal in the industry.

Top Employers Hiring New Finance Graduates

If you’re ready to take the first step in your finance job search, consider some of the employers below. These are just some of the top employers companies across the country hiring financial professionals for entry level jobs.

Northwestern Mutual – Wealth Management Advisor Training Program

Texas Department of Agriculture – Administrative Financial Review Specialist

New York Life Investments – Financial Advisor

US Department of Agriculture – Financial Analyst

Raytheon – Financial Analyst

Berkshire Hathaway – Underwriting Analyst Trainee

Zurich North America – International Underwriting Associate

Voya Financial Advisors – Financial Advisor

Fidelity Investments – Financial Planner

CaptionMax – Staff Accountant

Growth is happening across many financial sectors and the outlook is bright. There are plenty of opportunities for a job in finance all across the country. Take a little time to polish your professional resume and cover letter for finance jobs that interest you. Be sure to highlight the skills and experience that make you unique as a candidate.

With a bit of advanced preparation, you can be sure to land an interview and find the perfect job to kick start your new career in finance.