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Implementing internships: How to find an intern

Apr 26, 2012 @ 12:01 am

By Jon Yankee, Laurie Belew, Lisa Crafford

Finding an intern can be the most daunting task an adviser faces in the process. It is easy to find a high school or college student who is willing to stuff envelopes and file. But you need much more: a competent, even talented, individual who can not only provide real, tangible help, but can do so while giving you confidence that your clients' and business' privacy and financial information will be respected and protected. You are not looking for someone to do busywork; rather, you are looking for someone who is teachable and who will produce work product, providing a return on your investment and leveraging your time.

There are several “no cost” options for staffing open positions. First, start with your own resources. Leverage your firm's website with an alert or update: include a general description of the open position

with contact information for candidates.

According to the 2007 Robert Half International Report “What Millennial Workers Want: How to Attract and Retain Gen Y Employees,” “75% of Gen Y professionals visit company websites to learn more about prospective employers”.

Second, contact the program directors in your local college's or university's business or finance departments. Many of these schools make mention of portfolio management or some sort of financial planning, but most do not have full-time degree programs specific to the profession. Nonetheless, there are highly qualified students out there who might have a keen interest in an opportunity with your firm – if they only knew that you were looking.

In today's job market, most students will jump at an opportunity to get a foot in the door through an internship. For many firms, the most valuable places to look for talent have been the educational institutions that are CFP Board-registered programs.

Related item: What responsibilities and tasks most interns perform at RIA firms.

There are 101 bachelor's, 45 master's and six Ph.D. programs at universities and colleges in the U.S. that teach a financial planning curriculum that satisfies the education requirements of the CFP Board of Standards. A full listing of these programs can be found here.. Most of these programs have a wealth of talented students who are clamoring for experience in this field. Postings at these schools (either online or actually on location) can be a very rich place to find your help.

Among the most active and well known of the CFP Board registered programs are Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, Kansas State, Utah State, San Diego State, the University of Missouri and the University of Georgia.

These schools have undergraduate and/or graduate degree programs in financial planning, and are finding their programs increasingly popular among the best and brightest students.

Just because you may not be located near one of these institutions does not mean that you cannot access these students. More and more schools, like Kansas State, have online degree programs and students taking classes from around the United States. Our firm, located in the Washington, D.C. area, has had no problem finding numerous candidates willing to relocate from Texas to the D.C. area for a summer – so geographic location is not necessarily a deal-breaker.

If you have identified a particular school that is located near you or has students you want to meet, most schools have some sort of job posting website where you can post your employment opportunity or search student resumes. Check out Texas Tech's site, or Virginia

Tech's website,as good examples. Many of these schools also have events such as job fairs or career days that showcase their students to possible employers. Over the years of running our internship program we have developed relationships with program directors at several key CFP Board Registered schools, which helps us proactively identify students who would be a good fit for our internship program and business culture.

Industry-specific websites such as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), Financial Planning Association (FPA), and Charles Schwab Institutional GrowthPoint® Human Capital provide links where potential interns can post their resumes for your review, as well as places for you to post internship opportunities at no cost.

There are also many industry-specific events where you can find this type of talent. At most NAPFA regional and national conferences, there are scholarship winners attending, most of whom are students or others trying to break into this profession.

Historically, the FPA's national conference has been a gathering place for dozens of students looking to network and/or find employment opportunities. Most recently, Charles Schwab Institutional has developed a program at their annual IMPACT® conference, for scores of students from various CFP Board-registered institutions to mingle with and identify potential employers.

At the 2010 conference, there were 93 students from more than 14 schools. If you are unsuccessful in identifying talent using those resources, an alternative place to look is job-related websites, including CareerBuilder and Monster. Just be aware that these may require more filtering on your part. There is a fee associated with posting a job and viewing resumes; and these forums will expose you to more candidates who may not have the specific skill set or experience you are looking for in an intern, and therefore may not provide the best return on time and money.

Note from InvestmentNews: As part of our Next Gen initiative, we will be holding a webcast for students and interns on June 7, 2012, at 4pm EST, 'How to make the most of your internship.' Click here to register, or forward the link to your current/incoming interns.

The text above is an excerpt from the white paper, 'Implementing internships', written by Jon Yankee, CFO, Director of Human Resources Partner and Co-Founder of Fox, Joss & Yankee; Laurie Belew, Senior Financial Advisor at FJ&Y; and Lisa Crafford, Office Manager at FJ&Y.

Fox, Joss & Yankee LLC is a registered investment advisory firm in Reston, Va. To download the full white paper, click here.

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