There are many ways to begin a career in financial analysis. Perhaps you studied economics or accounting in school, or maybe you have some business experience that makes you eligible to begin with a mid-level analyst position. In any case, being able to secure a job in commercial credit analysis will put you on the fast track toward your long-term financial goals.
Thankfully, there are many entry-level positions for analysts opening up every day. However, because this field is so competitive, it is crucial that you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs. The first and most important step is understanding exactly what commercial credit analysis involves and how it relates to finance as a whole.
But the key to making sure an interviewers remembers you is to show them that you’ve got what it takes by excelling at your research and analytical skills beforehand. Here are eight ways you can get started before your interview:
Learn the basics of finance and accounting
The first step to mastering commercial credit analysis is to understand how it fits into the overall field of finance. So before you even start your research, make sure you have a grasp on the basic terminology and concepts related to accounting, investment, and the financial strength of a business.
This will make it much easier to follow the various financial reports you will be sifting through in your day-to-day. Furthermore, it will help you identify the key components of a commercial credit analysis, including risk assessment, cash flow analyses, and financial projections. Understanding the process of commercial finance will also give you a good idea of what skills are most important for an analyst to have, making it easier to highlight them on your resume and in your interview.
Familiarize yourself with MS Excel
As an analyst, you will likely spend a great deal of your time preparing and analyzing commercial financial data. This will almost always be done using a computer program like Excel, which you may be required to use even before getting your first job. Therefore, the more familiar you are with this program, the easier it will be for you to complete your tasks and impress your potential employers.
Just as with any skill, becoming more comfortable with Excel will take practice. So if you don’t already know how to use it, make sure you spend enough time practicing with sample data so you can be comfortable with it by the time you apply for a job.
Review your math skills
Before heading out to apply for commercial credit analysis jobs, be sure you’ve done everything you can to improve your math skills. Most companies will require you to have an excellent grasp of all the financial calculations used in loan analysis, including ROI, IRR, and NPV. If you aren’t sure you’re fully up to speed on these topics, now is the time to get studying. Remember, the person reviewing your resume and conducting your interview will likely be looking for any reason to reject your application.
If they notice one or two gaps in your math skills, they may decide that you aren’t worth hiring. By improving these areas with online courses, practice tests, and textbooks, you can avoid this situation and make yourself stand out as an applicant by proving that you can do the job.
Watch videos on commercial lending
An excellent way to get familiar with the commercial lending process is to watch videos that discuss what lenders are looking for in terms of investment and why. This will not only help you understand the process better, but it will also give you an idea of what skill level is needed to work in this field.
You can find plenty of videos on YouTube or other video-sharing sites that will help you prepare for a commercial credit analysis job. Reading articles can be just as helpful, but video content will be more engaging and easier to reference when conducting your research. Commercial lending is a very visual field, so having a better idea of what to expect will make you a more confident applicant.
Take a course in commercial lending
If you have the option, consider taking a course in commercial lending at a local college or online institution. These courses can help you gain a much more in-depth understanding of commercial lending processes, including the latest industry standards.
When you’ve completed the course and received your certification, be sure to include it on your resume. This is one way to make yourself stand out among the crowd of other applicants and show potential employers that you know what you’re doing.
Practice using Financial Analysis Software
While it won’t be necessary to purchase commercial lending software until you actually have a job, it makes sense to get a head start by practicing with a free program while you’re still job hunting. Many employers use software like Microsoft Excel or Oracle Business Intelligence to conduct commercial lending analyses, and you may be required to use one of these programs as soon as you start working.
By getting a feel for these software programs now, you will be less stressed out when you actually have to use them for real and more likely to complete your assignments quickly and accurately.
Review the latest lending standards for accuracy
When completing your research on commercial lending standards, be sure to check your sources for accuracy. While there are many great online resources for commercial lending standards, some articles and sources may not be as accurate as others. This is especially true of older articles and books, which may not take into account all of the recent changes and innovations in the industry.
By checking your sources, you can ensure that you have access to up-to-date information that will make you a more valuable employee and will make you less likely to make an error as a new commercial credit analyst.
Familiarize yourself with the different types of loan documents
One of the most important things you’ll do in a commercial credit analysis is review the loan documentation. This paperwork will encompass everything that lenders are looking for in terms of investment, making it the most critical part of the commercial credit analysis process.
The more familiar you are with the different types of loan documents, the better you will be at reviewing and analyzing them. This will make it much easier for you to spot any potential problems in a commercial loan compared to a more inexperienced analyst.
Know your risk calculations
One of the most important skills for a commercial credit analyst to have is a strong ability to calculate risk. In fact, many analysts pride themselves on the level of risk they can accept on a commercial loan, with some taking more risk than others.
By practicing and reviewing the risk calculations used in commercial lending, you can make sure that you are accepting the right level of risk for each project. This will make you more valuable to your company and help you avoid the black mark of being too cautious or too risky.
Commercial credit analysis is a very rewarding career path. Not only do you get to make a real difference in people’s lives, but you also have the opportunity to earn a good salary while working in an exciting and ever-changing industry. If you want to break into this field, the first and most important step is to understand what commercial credit analysis entails.
From there, you can begin to build your skills and knowledge by researching the latest lending standards, taking a commercial lending course, and practicing using commercial lending software. With these eight ways to prepare yourself for a commercial credit analysis, you’ll be one step closer to getting an entry-level job in this field. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!