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How to Start a Career in Banking

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How to Start a Career in Banking. You can begin a career in banking without experience or a degree and choose from a variety of specialties after you pay your dues in an entry-level position. Here's how to start in this exciting field.

Determine your compatibility with a banking career. Do you pay attention to detail, have a drive for perfection, like to achieve goals, enjoy constantly learning new information and skills, present a dependable image, like to work with people (some of whom can be very demanding) and have a clean criminal record? If so, go on to Step 2.

Apply for any job with a bank. Some bank executives have started out as tellers, a job that requires neither experience nor a degree. Bring a professional resume.

Reveal any legal problems you've had. Banking employees must be bonded, so your background will be investigated. Laws and policies vary by state and bank.

Be flexible when discussing work schedules. Banks feel tremendous pressure to offer extended hours.

Groom and dress carefully. Much about banking depends on image. Conservative appearance says you're trustworthy.

Arrive at work promptly. Banks must open on time with enough personnel available to meet customers' needs. Inconsistency is a no-no in the financial industry.

Conduct yourself with the utmost honesty and integrity. Follow every law and policy to the letter. Banks use state-of-the-art security systems that keep track of employees carefully.

Cultivate perfectionism. Every penny must be accounted for, every signature must be included, and every supporting document must be verified. If you don't balance at the end of the day, you don't go home until you do. If you don't dot every "i" and cross every "t," you'll do the paperwork over and over until you get it right.

Take advantage of every training session possible. Ask your supervisor for more training, and make it known that you're interested in advancement.

Tip

Banks often hold job fairs, especially in larger towns and cities. Tellers are always in demand and are often hired on the spot or very quickly. Tellers can easily work part-time, but advancement is difficult for part-timers. Many banks offer college tuition reimbursement.

Warning

Stress on the job is high because most banks set lofty goals, and employees who don't reach them feel pressure, suffer financially and eventually lose their jobs. You may be asked by customers, fellow bank employees or supervisors to do things that make you feel uncomfortable and may be dishonest, unethical or illegal; don't succumb to the pressure because you could spend time in jail or get fired as a result.