The Proper Education
The bottom line is that you won't be able to secure bank compliance officer jobs if you lack the necessary educational requirements. This role is too important to a financial institution for them to trust it to anyone without a solid background in this area. At a minimum, you'll want a bachelor's degree in a banking- or finance-related field. Make sure that you have taken some classes on banking laws and government oversight because these areas are going to be crucial for you to understand the position.
If you don't wish to develop a banking background, consider going into financial law. Many of the best people who find bank compliance jobs in this industry come from the law field. One way you can get started is to complete a bachelor's degree in banking and then head on to law school. Remember, you don't necessarily need a pre-law major to get into one of those schools.
Of course, you don't want to be well-educated in just one area. Because you will be working with others in the institution and those who oversee the bank, you will need strong communication skills and increased levels of confidence. Completing at least one public speaking course and participating in a Toastmaster's meeting could be excellent preparation.
Finally, be sure you can pay attention to details. One of the best skills to master is your ability to pay attention to small details and spot discrepancies. That's because a big part of your job will be reviewing numbers and looking for possible problems.
The Proper Background
While education is important, most compliance officers do not just walk into the bank, hand over a resume, and get hired. Instead, they usually work their way up from a different management position in a financial institution. That means you'll need to have some hands-on banking experience.
One way to acquire some of that experience is through an internship. Many colleges can connect you to an appropriate internship, but that's not your only option. Many of the larger banks and financial institutions allow people to apply for internships. The competition is often fierce for these slots, so be prepared to demonstrate that you have what it takes to make a difference in the company and to meet its needs.
If you successfully complete an internship, you will be able to network with people who may be able to help you land a good position within the bank or who will provide a priceless reference at a later point in your job search.
Finding a Position
One of the best ways to get a spot in a bank that will eventually lead to compliance management is through an internship or entry-level position. Many banks promote people from within because they know the workings of the bank and the industry. However, this is not always the case.
Of course, many people prefer to search for compliance jobs directly without having much banking experience. There's nothing wrong with that approach, but it can make finding available positions more of a challenge.
The best way to begin is by using an Internet site dedicated to the compliance field. This is a good idea because there are many financial institutions that require compliance officers which you may not have considered before. With the proper site you can enter job specifics that will help you locate your ideal positions and then apply for them.
In terms of the application process, this varies from bank to bank. Most will begin with a basic review of your resume. This process is simply to weed out people who lack the education and experience needed to do the job. If you have what you need, you'll be able to pass on into the next stage, which most likely means an interview.
The interviewing process can be lengthy because at each stage more candidates are being weeded out until only the cream of the proverbial crop will remain. A number of different people may interview you in the facility, including the human resources manager and others in compliance. Additionally, upper management may interview you. During the interviews, expect to be asked specific questions about regulations and laws governing the industry. These questions will be crucial because they are testing your knowledge.
Finally, when you are offered a position you're going to need to negotiate an offer. The first offer is rarely the best one you can receive, unless you are lacking any of the basic requirements needed for the position. Don't hesitate to make a counter offer, but do be aware that if they withdraw their offer you may lose the position altogether. Negotiations can be tricky and a bit scary, but you deserve to be paid what you are worth.