How much would CFA Level II or III aid me in job search?

Hi all,

I graduated with Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Economics, with Finance specialization, however, I studied full-time and regular, so didn’t have any work experience.

When I started my job search, I noticed finance jobs in analysis (like analyst, rather than financial services rep, sales, which I think they are very different career paths), even the entry level ones, usually require at least 1 year of related experience, so I enrolled in the CFA Program in hopes of balancing the lack of working experience.

I passed Level I, but didn’t see improvement with my job search, and then I continued to challenge Level II, and just got passed. Now I registered in Level III because I’m going to write the Level III exam anyway, sooner or later.

My problem is how to get related work experience while everybody in the industry wants their applicants to already have experience, and I was wondering if passing Level II or Level III could be the solution to this problem???

I once got calls for interviews of positions like “financial advisor / financial consultant”, and they don’t require work experience, but these positions turned out to be commission based, and I have to find clients, sell financial products to them, even friends and families. This is definitely not the right track, and I felt frustrated.

Just want to get into the finance industry to do some analytical jobs rather than sales-oriented jobs. I’m willing to start from the basics, as long as it is relevant to what I have been trained. It seems even a Master’s degree and CFA Level I didn’t make me much more competitive given I don’t have work experience, but could CFA Level II, or passing all 3 levels bring a favorable turn?

Any advice, suggestion, experience would be highly appreciated, I really feel lost and confused.

Thanks all!

Yea any “financial advisor” jobs that are totally ok with 0 experience are mostly nothing more than insurance salesman jobs.

you have an econ background and no experience, so effiectively you are placed into the “very unlikely to attract any attention” bucket for hiring managers. At this time, it’s unlikely a further L2 or L3 will do anythign for you. because presumably you’re doing even more “unrelated work exp” stuff while you complete those tests, and experience is always >>> passing CFA tests.

you are basically left with getting lucky networking, or a good full time MBA

You need to get your foot in the door somewhere. You will likely not have any luck getting an investment related job so at this point your should focus on getting an entry level job doing something at an investment firm and work your way into a job you want down the line.

Broaden your geographical scope, or move near a major city. Look for any investment related job you can (except for those sales jobs like you said, those suck, for most analysts at least).

Even if its more back-office operational, just get your foot in the door. What are you doing now besides studying? Level II is a little difference maker, but you would need some experience on top of that.

you could start off at back office work and kick ass from there and see where it will take you.

Working somewhere even BO is better off than nothing at all.

Go work for a bank as an analyst first.

I feel you Memoff. I am in a similar situation but with a couple years experience. Even so, I did not get an interview with my current employer for a Trader job. The Charter is basically worthless. Just focus on networking. Go to CFA society meetings, etc. Focus on networking, not Level III.

^ Charter is not worthless. It only has value for some, its not CFAIs fault that many people pursue it that probably shouldn’t. It was never marketed as a break into the industry program. If you get that impression from the study program providers, take it up with them. And remember the Charter is four years of qualified experience as well. That has value. Just passing the tests does not equal earning the Charter and so many at the start of their careers don’t seem to understand that. Someone that has earned the Charter is miles ahead of “Passed Level III.”

Take the Level 3 exam. Get this out of the way and network.

On a side note traders don’t need the charter. Traders at my firm does not know much if not anything about research/accounting…they just call people up to buy and sell and feel the market. The decision to buy and sell (and the $$ amount) is not up to the trader, but to the PMs.

^ One of the bond traders I use regularly is a high school drop out (he’s also like 120 years old, I doubt you could pull that off today). Trading has little to do with financial analysis.

agree. and also why ppl consider trading to be a niche pigeon-holed job. with experience not applicable to other areas

prop trader > research analyst

The charter will get attention but it won’t be the defining reason why you got the job.

I’ve had 2 or 3 interviews where there was a “CFA required” criteria but it didn’t get me passed the second round.

Thank you, yes I think to get my foot in the door is a pressing matter of the moment… I don’t mind doing a basic, entry level job because I understand the first step is always hard, as long as it’s gonna get me onto the right track.

Could you give some examples of the entry level jobs at investment firm? I mainly use Indeed to search jobs, using keywords “finance/financial/investment”, and basically ended up with 2 types, either those ones require work experience, or financial sales jobs.The entry level jobs seems to be a gapping void…

Because I didn’t find a job that can get my foot in the door, I’m currently doing some irrelevant work… I was hoping that studying CFA could get me an entry level job so that I get started. But it appears I need some experience to magnify the power of level II.

I would be grateful if you could give me some advice on what kind of entry level jobs would be good to start with. I have been trying to find a job to get in the door however didn’t find one: either experience required jobs or financial sales jobs, and the entry level job that are good for my situation is like gapping void…

Thanks everyone for your inputs!

Seems things look nasty for me…

I wonder what’s wrong with econ with finance specialization background? And would a MFin help?

Yea I’m definitely willing to do that when I don’t have experience, and could you give some examples of the kind of jobs? I’ve been trying to search for such a job that can get my foot in the door but didn’t find any… Thanks!

Please advise how if I don’t have experience, thanks!