What are you planning to do after graduating from college? If you’re interested in a career in finance, investor relations may be on your radar. There’s a
lot to be said for working as an investor relations manager or director. While the work revolves heavily around financial matters, it’s more about engaging
with others and making them exciting about your company. Therefore, if you’re interested in finance but don’t savor the idea of being stuck at a desk all
day, every day, investor relations may be right for you. Breaking into such a career involves more than obtaining the right degree.
Can You Break into IR Right Out of College?
Immediately after obtaining your degree, you’ll probably be anxious to get the ball rolling on your career. If you’re planning to land a job as an IR
manager, though, think again. Hiring managers certainly look at candidates’ educational backgrounds, but what they’re more concerned about is experience.
Indeed, you will need to gain some experience in the finance industry before landing this type of job. Start out with a job in investment banking,
corporate finance, equity research or another area, hold onto it for a few years and then apply for IR jobs. You’ll find them much easier to get.
Are You a People Person?
With many finance jobs, it’s unusual to come into contact with actual people very often. For many people, that’s a major plus. For others, it’s something
of a downer. If you enjoying being around people and have strong communication skills, you may be an
ideal candidate for a job in investor relations. You simply can’t succeed in this field without having a way with people. After all, you’re going to have
to try and convince them to invest in your company. There’s only so much that facts and statistics can do. Even if your company is experiencing phenomenal
growth, you’re going to have to show potential investors why they should invest in it. If you don’t have a way with words and can’t express yourself well,
you’re not going to get very far.
How Ambitious are You?
Does the idea of working an insane amount of hours every week make you shudder? If so, you’ll be glad to know that most investor relations jobs involve
40-to-50-hour work weeks, and employees tend to keep more regular hours. The big exception is a major, unexpected development. That kind of thing happens
often enough that you need to be somewhat flexible. From time to time, you’ll have to put in those long, grueling hours. With all of this in mind, it helps
to be an ambitious person and to be passionate about the job.
How are Your Communication Skills?
As important as it is to be able to communicate effectively with clients, it’s just as important to be able to communicate effectively with senior
management and other higher-ups. While you’re still an assistant investor relations manager, you’ll primarily report to your manager. When you become an IR
manager yourself, though, you’ll be expected to produce weekly and monthly reports that summarize what investors and analysts are saying, and you’ll have
to present these reports to senior management. If you go on to become an IR director, you will most likely report directly to the CFO.
Are You Realistic about Your Career Path?
It takes time to rise through the ranks to become an investor relations director. As noted
previously, you should find a job in the finance industry immediately after college to gain some relevant experience. Your first position in investor
relations will probably be as a business analyst or assistant IR manager. After working in that capacity for five years or so, you may be able to move up
to become an IR director. Most companies will only consider IR directors who have at least 10 years of experience in investor relations. By understanding
these stages, you’re more likely to have a successful career in this field.
The best investor relations professionals work very well under pressure. Those unexpected developments can send the investment world into a frenzy, so it’s
crucial to be able to stay calm and focused. During or immediately after college, try to gain experience dealing with research analysts and fund managers.
Experience with analyzing financial statements is also very helpful. Additionally, it pays to have excellent writing skills. They will come in handy when
preparing reports and selling your company to prospective investors.