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07/19/2012

You Got Your CFA® Charter. Now What?


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If you find out next month that you passed the Level III CFA® exam in June, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that, unlike 57% of the people taking all levels of the CFA exam in June 2011, you passed and have obtained your CFA charter. The bad news is that new charterholders face an uncertain economy and uneven job prospects, with an unemployment rate over 8% since February 2009.

Many financial companies are using a wait-and-see attitude towards expanding their workforce. So what comes next for the CFA charterholder about to enter a tough job market?

“The CFA sets the candidate apart,” says Skiddy von Stade, CEO and founder of OneWire.com, a website that matches financial professionals with companies looking for qualified applicants. He says the CFA on a resume indicates rigor and dedication. “There is no way to be a slacker and get a CFA,” he says.


NYSSA CFA Sample


However, the CFA alone cannot guarantee you a job. “Anyone coming out of a CFA program must use every leveraging tool possible,” says von Stade.

That means talking to friends and family, going to networking events, and using online tools like LinkedIn and OneWire. “Cast a wide net,” says von Stade. The important thing is to be persistent and look for opportunity.

For von Stade, looking for an opportunity means thinking creatively and looking beyond the obvious paths. “Everyone looks at Wall Street as a way to make money, but there are other ways to get equity in a company,” he says.

The CFA allows job seekers a way into equity research, credit analysis, and hedge fund companies, but other types of organizations have real needs for financial professionals. The CFA charter can lead to jobs in tech companies, health care, government, and nonprofits. Getting the CFA charter should allow you more—not less—freedom and leverage, if you use it properly.

–Harry Swartz-Turfle

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Comments

Hi Harry:
Could you please explain what do you mean by, 'Getting the CFA charter should allow you more—not less—freedom and leverage, if you use it properly". You should explain in detail the last part: . It is such a wide ranging sentence that any meaning will fit it. I have not found CFA societies useful at all in getting jobs during my last 10 months of net working. All they do is they talk nicely, ask you to enroll as their member, participate in networking events, but when it comes to asking for help to get a job, they just don't respond to your emails. Even if you tell them that here is the vacancy in your company and I have applied for this position, they will keep quite. MBA alumnus have been far more helpful in giving jobs than CFA alumnus. I strongly doubt if CFA is at all useful in getting jobs or even worth spending so many hours of reading to pass the exam. I am Level III candidate; I am sure I will pass on 7th of August.

Hi Alakh-
It's a difficult time to be looking for a job in any industry. What I meant by the final sentence is that the CFA charter can give you breadth as well as depth as a job candidate. Many professionals with a CFA work in the financial sector because the charter gives them the depth of knowledge to do so. One broad point of the post is that the CFA should not limit you to the financial sector because other sectors need financial professionals, too. I wish you the best of luck in your search.

CFA will not change your people skills or negativity.

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