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.
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.