Hey guys, welcome to the most valuable piece on the Internship Program for Financial Advisor.
This piece promises to enlighten you on the factors to consider when choosing an Internship Program, how to know the right program for your professional pursuit, and how to secure your spot.
In this article, we’ll share all the information you need including:
Without any delay, let’s get into it!
Introduction to Financial Advisor Internship Program
A Financial Advisor internship is the first step to building a career in this beautiful field.
These internship programs enable aspiring Financial Advisors to gain practical knowledge that complements the subjects they’ve learned in the classroom, enhance their resumes, and leverage their networking to create valuable professional contacts.
The Right Time to Look for Internships
If you’re searching for an internship for the first time, you probably think that you’ll find one in the Summer of the coming year.
But, contrary to popular belief, internships aren’t just for summers anymore.
Many Universities and financial firms offer co-op positions all year round.
Some firms even have Fall and Spring internship programs that usually last for longer.
A benefit of such longer-term internships is that they’re easier to secure as there’s less competition.
So, if you decide to go for an internship during the semester, you’d probably be done with your training before most students start applying for theirs.
Most importantly, longer-term internships have a higher chance of leading to an entry-level or part-time job because the firm has more time to evaluate you.
However, even if your internship doesn’t lead to a job, it will still look good on your resume.
So, before you start your search, you need to decide whether you’d be willing to go for something other than a summer internship.
Signs of A Good Internship Program
Unfortunately, many internships are exploitative.
Therefore, it’s essential to know how to differentiate between a good and lousy internship program.
Here are some signs of a good one:
- A direct internship coordinator, whose full-time job is managing interns and offering mentorship
- A written blueprint from the company stating its goals for the internship program and its policy for interns
- An emphasis on challenging work instead of mundane tasks
- Opportunities to network with and learn from other staff in the firm
Many wealth management firms offer a lot of different business development programs to their clients to help them gain financial security.
Searching for Financial Advisor Internships
Once you decide the kind of internship you want, it’s time to kickstart your internship search.
Here are some things to keep in mind when searching for a financial advising internship:
Be active on hiring platforms
Whether you’re in your first year of college or the last, there are many career opportunities that you can take advantage of – only if you know where to look.
In the case of jobs and internships, hiring platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor can be very helpful.
Therefore, make sure you have an active profile on these websites and turn on job alerts for finance internships.
This doesn’t require much effort.
All you need is to spend 30 to 45 minutes on these platforms each day, applying for internships and connecting with potential recruiters and industry experts on LinkedIn.
Keep checking websites of financial firms
Another way to find a Financial Advisor internship is checking the websites of major financial services firms on a routine basis.
Some of the most well-known firms, such as Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, and Protiviti, advertise internship opportunities on their sites.
Other firms, like Vanguard and Edward Jones, have special programs for college students.
You can also find internships in career listings of independent finance organizations like CFP® Board, NAIFA, and the Society of Financial Services Professionals.
So, keep visiting these websites regularly as you might end up getting your dream internship here.
Know what companies look for in an internship
There are two things that most companies look for in a Financial Advisor intern:
- Interest in the financial services industry: This is obvious. If you weren’t interested in this career path, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.
- Good grades: Companies want to know if you can handle the responsibility of an internship, and grades are proof of that. If you’re at the top of your game in classes, you can probably take the internship responsibilities too.
A lot of companies use internships as a testing basis for hiring.
They want to check if you’re any good at the job before they induct you for a full-time job, as a poor-performing employee does more harm than good to a company.
Also, hiring employees is expensive, and no company wants to bear that cost repeatedly.
One of the oldest firms that accept a lot of college Financial Representative Interns is Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.
As a Northwestern Mutual Financial representative intern, you’ll be part of a team of professional internship Advisors that will help you with your journey.
Another great firm that takes college interns is the Edward Jones Financial Advisor internship program.
The Edward Jones internship has several programs for college students at different stages of their Financial Advisor careers.
But before getting into any of these programs, you must process an application and get yourself an interview slot.
Getting an Interview
Here comes the tricky part.
You can apply to hundreds of internships, but you need to stand out in a large pool of applications to get an interview.
Here are three tips that can help you do that:
Thoroughly review your resume
Most students are told that they need to lie and brag on their resumes to get an internship.
That’s not true.
Your resume should honestly represent your experience, as your interviewer is going to question you about it.
Not being able to answer then will leave a wrong impression.
Put your most relevant (and recent) experience on top, and eliminate any language that stretches the truth.
Also, don’t forget to include relevant certifications you’ve completed during your university life.
It’s a good idea to talk about your volunteering experience, like helping out at a nursing home or an animal shelter.
Contact the firm(s) on LinkedIn before applying
Before applying there, it’s always a good idea to connect with the existing employees and HR – or, more specifically, the Talent Acquisition Manager – of a particular firm.
Reach out to them and express your interest in the internship.
Let them know that you will be applying, and ask for tips to ace the application process.
Connecting with HR can give you valuable insight into a firm’s recruitment process.
You should also explain why you’re the best candidate, but make sure you don’t sound like you’re bragging about yourself, as this can put off the other person.
The competition for internships is fierce, especially if you’re applying to the top firms.
Hence, the earlier you get your application to the financial services firm, the better.
It shows the firm that you’re punctual, an essential skill for a financial advisor intern.
You should also go through the instructions carefully and then review your application before sending it in to make sure you followed the instructions.
Incomplete or incorrectly filled applications are rejected straight away.
There’s no guarantee that these tips will get you an interview, but they can bring you closer to one.
Perhaps the essential information is not to get discouraged if you don’t reach the interview stage the first few times.
Instead, look for other opportunities and keep applying till you find something substantial.
Acing the Interview
Now that you’ve received an interview invite from a financial firm, congrats!
You’re only one step away from becoming a financial advisory intern.
Here are some things you can do to pass your interview with flying colors:
Prepare for your interview
This is a given.
You can’t just go in front of the interviewer completely unprepared.
Before the interview, revise your finance concepts and work on your technical skills, as you will probably be tested on those.
The interviewer might also ask some basic questions like:
- “What do you know about us?” or
- “Why do you want to pursue a career in financial planning?”
along with common financial advisor internship interview questions, such as:
- “How do you build relationships with your clients?” and
- “How do you stay current on industry developments?”
Although these questions are pretty generic, remember that the interviewer isn’t looking for a generic answer.
So, be honest and frame your response to be as unique as possible.
Also, don’t forget to prepare for behavioral interview questions, including:
- “Tell me about a time when you and a group member didn’t agree on something and how you resolved the conflict..”
- “Tell me about a time when you encountered a difficult situation and how you overcame it..”
- “Tell me about a time when you had to satisfy a difficult client/customer and how you did it..”
After you’ve taken the above points into consideration, it’s time to know how to seal the deal.
Know how to sell yourself
As we mentioned earlier, every advisory services firm receives a considerable number of applications and, out of those, quite a few make it to the interview stage.
Hence, you need to ensure that you leave a lasting impression on the interview.
In other words, you should know how to “sell yourself.”
Selling yourself doesn’t mean bragging in an obvious way in front of the employer; it means you highlight things about yourself that show you’re the perfect candidate but in a subtle way.
Before the interview, take a few minutes and think about:
- What are you good at?
- What makes you different from the other candidates?
- What do you bring to the table that others don’t?
Emphasize your “flexibility”
To secure your Financial Planner internship, you must be able to demonstrate your flexibility.
Most firms are looking for team workers who are willing to step out of their comfort zone when required.
As an intern, you’ll probably have a set of duties to perform, but those duties might change frequently.
At times, you might also be asked to do something that’s not in the scope of your responsibilities.
Let the interviewer know that you’re willing and able to take on challenges and explore new areas.
Be professional throughout your interview and maintain the same attitude later in your internship, but be calm and composed.
Do smile whenever you get the chance.
After all, you’re a human – not a robot.
Take your own set of questions
This is very important.
Yes, we know you’re the one getting interviewed, but you should also ask questions at the end.
Not doing so will give the interviewer an impression that you’re not interested in the role.
However, don’t ask stupid questions.
You should have 2-3 queries that demonstrate your interest and desire to excel as an intern.
Ask questions like:
- What qualities do you look for in a successful intern?
- What are the duties that come with this position?
- Do you offer jobs to summer interns?
The Bottom Line
Internships can contribute immensely to your professional development as you start your journey of becoming a Certified Financial Planner.
However, the whole internship process might seem overwhelming, especially if you’re looking for a financial advisor internship for the first time.
Don’t stress too much or get demotivated if you fail to get into your desired internship program.
Keep looking for other opportunities – you never know when you’ll stumble upon gold.
Finally, let’s answer some questions you may have.