Financial Services Careers Should Get a Second Look

A field filled with opportunities

The national unemployment rate finally budged downward to slightly below 8 percent in September 2012, but it still remains volatile, and for African- Americans, the jobless rate remained an astounding

Is there a silver lining in the sluggish job market for those who are unemployed, graduating from college or looking to make a career change? There just might be: financial services.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts strong growth in finance and insurance jobs, projecting a 9 percent increase between 2010 and 2020. And there are many aspects of the career that are attractive, including an opportunity to be your own boss, earn a solid income and to provide a needed and valued service.

Think about a career switch

Jamar Bates began his road to a financial services career after years in the real estate market, when that industry began to collapse in late 2008. After two years abroad in the Middle East on a temporary assignment as a senior employee relations manager for a Fortune 500 architectural, engineering and construction firm, Mr. Bates began his career with the Atlanta Agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) in May 2011. He says he was attracted to the opportunity to “vertically integrate myself and leverage my relationships built over the past 20 years in the Metro Atlanta Area” while also learning how to protect and plan financially for his and his wife’s retirement years.

After research, Mr. Bates aligned with MassMutual, saying he paid “close attention to the company’s financial strength,” as well as its mutual structure and the fact that it has been in business for over 160 years for its policyholders, clients and financial professionals.

Help yourself and help other people

In addition to providing the opportunity to prepare for his own and his wife’s financial future, Mr. Bates also is attracted to his ability to make a difference in others’ lives that a career in financial services provides. “On a larger scale, it provides me with the opportunity to make this my ‘magnum opus’ and become a part of the lives of my friends, acquaintances, families, communities and all who would listen and show them how to build and pass on generational wealth, which is not as prevalent in the African-American community,” he explained.

Ryan Marsh, sales manager at HF Financial, a MassMutual general agency in Charlotte, N.C. says, “The financial services career provides motivated individuals from all walks of life an opportunity to run their own business and earn unlimited income, while helping other people at the same time.” Mr. Marsh currently manages a team of 21 financial professionals and is always looking to add more, “if the right opportunity, or candidate, presents itself.”

Do you have what it takes?

Financial Services companies are seeking applicants for financial professional positions from a multitude of professions. What really matters is not so much what someone’s background or college degree is, but that the individuals possess certain personality traits that may be common drivers of success. “We commonly see several of the same attributes in our most successful representatives,” said Nicole Bremser, director of Multicultural Market Development with MassMutual.

Bremser lists the following as highly sought after personality traits for financial professionals:

- A commitment to lifelong learning: Do you have a desire to improve through ongoing coaching, mentoring and education?

Jamar Bates began his road to a financial services career after years in the real estate market, when that industry began to collapse in late 2008. After two years abroad in the Middle East on a temporary assignment as a senior employee relations manager for a Fortune 500 architectural, engineering and construction firm, Mr. Bates began his career with the Atlanta Agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) in May 2011. He says he was attracted to the opportunity to “vertically integrate myself and leverage my relationships built over the past 20 years in the Metro Atlanta Area” while also learning how to protect and plan financially for his and his wife’s retirement years.

- A desire to help people: Do you have a strong belief in the importance of helping others prepare financially for the future and to help clients realize their most important life goals?

- Well developed business and social network: Do you have a network of contacts from previous careers or social involvement that can provide new opportunities? n Entrepreneurial spirit: Do you have a strong desire to own your own business and a willingness to invest three to four years to build your practice?

- Disciplined self-management: Are you self-motivated to reach personal and professional goals?

In seeking out candidates who fit the profile above, MassMutual attempts to ensure that the financial professional role is a proper fit for the applicant, the company and the local office where he or she is interviewing. “A rigorous interviewing process, including personality assessments, structured interviews and meetings with numerous local office financial professionals, helps ensure a proper fit for the position,” explained Bremser.

All who are interested, please DO apply+

“The power of preparing for an individual’s financial future can change the economic state of a community. You can create your own future by having a path and the discipline to stick to it,” said Jeff Clemons, general agent of MassMutual’s Nevada Agency in Las Vegas. “If you want to be out in front helping people make smart financial decisions and helping raise the economic wellbeing of your communities, one client at a time, you should definitely look into a career in Financial Services,” he concluded.

To learn more about the financial services career, who is working in the field and why, logon to massmutualcareers.com, or contact Mr. Bates at 404-521-0001 in Atlanta, Mr. Clemons at 702-791-0200, Ext. 326 in Las Vegas, or Mr. Marsh at 800-289-1846, Ext. 671 in Charlotte. For more information about MassMutual’s African American program call Nicole Bremser at 413-744-5678.

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