How to Apply for a Banking Job and Get It
Working in a bank can be a great job choice. Whether you’re just looking for a temporary job or a long-term career, a bank job can help you advance professionally.
There are numerous positions you can apply for, opportunities to advance in your career, and employee benefits you can enjoy. With a good resume and the necessary qualifications, you can achieve your goal of landing a bank job.
1. Decide what bank position you would be interested in
While most people only see tellers at banks, there are several different positions that you could apply for. Each has different requirements, responsibilities, and pay grades. Take your qualifications into account and decide which position would be best for you.
Bank tellers are the people who work at the front desk and handle transactions. They must have skills in basic arithmetic and also customer service. Usually, a high school education is sufficient for this position, though some banks may want some college experience. Pay is usually hourly and is relatively low. Because of low pay, most tellers take this position temporarily while working on a degree or waiting for another position.
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Bank managers oversee the day-to-day operations of the bank, including supervising staff, making schedules, and reaching sales goals. This increase in responsibility also brings a higher salary. Banks will usually require a bachelor’s degree in management, business, or a related field for this position. Banks may hire managers directly, or promote especially hard-working tellers to the position.
Banks also have accountants on staff. They oversee the bank’s financial records. Pay is usually comparable to the managers. Accountants will need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field.
2. Go to school for a degree if your position requires it
Some positions at banks require a college degree. After you decide which bank position you’d like to apply for, make sure you have the necessary education requirements.
To be a teller, you’ll need a high school education. If you didn’t finish high school, then you’ll need to get your GED to qualify. Read Get a GED for tips on making this happen.
Management and accounting positions almost always require a bachelor’s degree. Major in a field like finance, business, management, or accounting to get the necessary skills to succeed in these positions.
3. Consider taking a lower-paying bank job if you’re aiming for a high position
If you’re trying to get a position as a manager or higher, you should get some experience. Working as a teller while you’re getting your degree will demonstrate that you’re familiar with the inner workings of a bank.
Then, by the time you finish school, you’ll have plenty of experience on your resume to put you ahead of the competition in the job market. You can also build a crucial list of contacts who can get you a job later on.
4. Put together a resume
No matter what position you apply for, you’ll need a solid resume to hand in. Read Make a Resume for great details on putting together a resume. There are a few things, however, that you should emphasize on your resume for a bank job.
Emphasize your customer service experience. Most bank positions will have you working with customers at some point, so experience with the public is essential. Any job where you interacted with customers will work cashier, stock boy, pizza delivery, barista, fast food worker, etc. Since banks specialize in providing financial services for their customers, your skills in customer service will be essential.
Volunteer work also counts towards customer service experience. If you’ve volunteered at a day camp, for example, your work probably involved interacting with campers and their parents. List this to further demonstrate your qualifications.
Also, mention any experience you’ve had handling money.
A cashier, for example, handles money and cashes out the register at the end of a shift. A delivery driver collects payments and brings money back to the store. There are skills that you should mention since bank jobs will require you to handle money on a regular basis.
Remember to make a new resume for every position you apply for. Different jobs may be looking for different skills and qualifications, and you increase your chances of getting an interview if you’ve tailored your resume to specific jobs.
5. Dig into your own list of contacts
Banks, like many other industries, often hire people based on referrals first. Before you start sending in resumes randomly, see if you have any contacts in the industry. Do you have a family member who works in a bank? Does a former teacher have a second job as a financial analyst?
It never hurts to ask these people if they know of any openings or are willing to recommend you for a position. Networking is essential in the job market. This is why you’re at a great advantage if you’ve worked in a bank before or done similar internships.
6. Make yourself visible on professional social media pages
Websites like LinkedIn allow you to show your qualifications to other professionals in your industry. Jobs are often advertised on LinkedIn, which can tip you off to potential openings.
Someone might even contact you first if they like your profile and qualifications. Put together a great profile to improve your visibility on the job market and grow your professional network.
7. Visit your school’s career office if you are still in school
Jobs often advertise with school career offices because they expect qualified individuals to come from these institutions.
Take advantage of this by staying in contact with your career office. Sign up for email alerts when jobs are posted. These can be a great assets when looking for a job.
8. Talk to employees at local banks
If you’re trying to get a bank job, a good place to start would be your own bank. When you go in to do your banking, strike up a conversation with tellers and managers. After you get friendly, mention that you’re looking to work in banking.
They might know of a job opening, be willing to refer you to someone else with more information, or simply give you career advice on moving forward. These personal relationships will be important as you advance in your career.
9. Visit banks in your area
Since banks usually hire based on referrals, you should resort to random visits as a last resort. But it isn’t fruitless- you might contact a bank right before they post a job opening, so try this if you haven’t had luck finding a job yet.
Make a list of all the banks in your area and take down their contact information.
Visit each one on your list and ask if they have any openings for the position you’re looking for.
You could also make phone calls, but in-person visits are more effective for building a relationship with a potential employer. Sometimes they will say they don’t have any openings but always take resumes. If so, have yours on you to hand in.
10. Investigate the bank you’re applying to
Whenever you apply for a job, you should do some research into the position and the company. Learn the bank’s mission statement and strategies. Mention these things in your cover letter and use them to show why you would be a good fit for the position.
This investigation will also help you later on if you get an interview. Being knowledgeable about the job shows that you’re committed and willing to put work in.
11. Send in your resume and cover letter
Whether you’ve spoken to a bank manager and he’s referring you for the job, or you’re answering an ad on the internet, you’ll need to send in your resume and cover letter for the job.
Read Write a Cover Letter for instructions on putting together a great cover letter. Remember to say in your cover letter where you heard about the position and if anyone is referring you. This will show that you’re not a random applicant and will improve your chances of getting the job.
12. Follow-up after sending in your resume
There is no set rule for how long you should wait before following up. It usually depends on to who you sent your resume and cover letter.
If you responded to an ad on a job site, it will probably be several weeks before the company even starts looking at all of the applications. You shouldn’t plan on inquiring again on this for at least a month, maybe more.
If you were referred for a position and sent your resume to a specific person, a week or two after applying is a good window. This person probably has fewer applications to sift through and has probably had the time to look at yours at this time.
13. Prepare for the interview
If you’re granted an interview, do some preparation. Preparing for a Job Interview will give you some great advice on having a successful interview. For a bank position, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Have a few situations in mind when you’ve had to deal with angry or irritated customers. Customer service is a huge part of a bank job, so you’ll want to be able to emphasize your skills here.
Make sure you’ve investigated the company and can find ways to insert this into the conversation. Mention the bank’s mission statement, for example.
Mention any contacts you have who recommended the position to you.
Dress appropriately. Bank employees are expected to look presentable at all times. Both men and women should plan on wearing a business suit to the interview.
14. Follow-up after the interview
Within a few days of the interview, you should send an email to the person you spoke to thank him or her for the interview.
Reiterate your interest in the job and say that you would be happy to speak further. After this, all you can do is wait to hear back after the interview.