How could I convince you that I'd make a great financial writer
March 20, 2012 2:30 PM   Subscribe

I have a job interview for a junior/intermediate financial writer position with a financial services marketing company on Friday. This is a bit of a career jump for me as my background is mostly in legal editing with one stint at an educational publisher. Are there any MeFites with some sort of experience in financial writing who have some advice for me on how to ace the interview, or on what kind of research and prep I should be doing?

To give you a little more background, the company is a start up, three or four years old, with a roster of blue chip clients. I've spoken to a friend who has done some freelance for them as well as for a friend who is a very, very experienced and well-connected editor and gotten their advice.
posted by orange swan to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Finance is pretty broad. To whom is this financial services company marketing materials? My guess would be non-professional investors, like people looking to set up retirement accounts and such, though that could be completely wrong.

But, in short, knowing the audience for whom you would be writing is important. Find out as much as you can about your intended audience.
posted by dfriedman at 2:47 PM on March 20, 2012

I've been working as a contractor for a financial services company, and they've actually just asked me to move in house as the head of editorial (I would write all of their copy, including advertising collateral and quarterly updates, plus manage vendors).

I guess the question I have is, what do they want you to do?
posted by KokuRyu at 2:49 PM on March 20, 2012

Off the top of my head, though, I guess what they're going to care about might be:

  • How fast can you work?
  • Can you maintain quality while meeting tight turnaround times?
  • Can you motivate readers to perform a desired action?
  • Can you motivate readers while maintaining compliance with securities regulations?
  • Can you form good working relationships with key stakeholders in the organization in order to get information, and in order to review copy?
  • Do you have good organizational skills, so that you can meet tight deadlines (there is a lot of leadtime required for compliance, for example)?
  • Do you understand the market, and who the customers are? Can you write for them?
  • Can you write for a broad range of readers, who may have differing levels of sophistication?

  • posted by KokuRyu at 2:57 PM on March 20, 2012

    Seconding dfriedman. I work at a small-ish financial services company and we have a number of very different practices with entirely separate lines of business. More information on what they do might be helpful-- wealth/portfolio management? Investment banking? Capital markets? Corporate finance? Etc. Their website should be able to answer this pretty quickly.
    posted by shakespeherian at 3:02 PM on March 20, 2012

    I would look into what regulators they report to and what some of their compliance constraints are. I am in marketing for a credit union and there are all kinds of things you wouldn't think of that trigger disclaimers. Do they have someone on staff who is responsible for compliance both with public communications and client communications, or would that be you/your department?
    posted by headnsouth at 4:28 PM on March 20, 2012

    Financial services is broad, as the others have all said. But I think having the writing chops is more important, and the ability to understand new information and coherently organize it for others.

    Without any detail on the company and specifically what they do, can't really help more. And I work in financial services, just fyi.
    posted by rich at 6:10 AM on March 21, 2012

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