7 Skills To Be a Financial Adviser and How To Highlight Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 16, 2022 | Published May 17, 2021

Updated August 16, 2022

Published May 17, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Related: Becoming a Financial Advisor

Are you interested in a career as a Financial Advisor but are not sure how to start preparing for it? We have you covered!

Financial advisers are professionals who help clients manage their monetary resources. The position requires various soft and hard skills and knowledge of the finance industry. Understanding the abilities you need to be a financial adviser can help you prepare for the role and uncover your professional strengths.

In this article, we discuss examples of financial adviser skills in the workplace and how to showcase them when applying for positions in the field.

What skills do you need to be a financial adviser?

To be a financial adviser, you need a combination of technical and soft skills. Technical skills embody your industry knowledge, enabling you to improve the economic situation of your clients. They are unique to financial advisors, and you may have gained them in education or training. Soft skills enhance your technical skills, and you may have practiced them as you gained professional experience. They enable you to interact effectively with clients and coworkers and stay organized to produce quality work.

Employers may classify required skills in two other categories:

Client relationship skills

Financial advisers need client relationship skills to attract new clients and retain the clients they already have. Professionalism and positive relationship-building can encourage people to refer financial advisers to others in their network, which can help expand the advisor's business and ultimately increase product sales.

Advisers must know how to keep their clients informed and foster trust. The relationships may also require emotional intelligence to remain mindful of a client's financial situation.

Read more: How To Get Clients as a Financial Adviser

Business development skills

Proficiency in business development allows financial advisers to create performance objectives and track sales figures. Advisers may work closely with other organization members, such as product suppliers and estate agents. They use business development skills to conduct presentations for management and negotiate prices for products.

Examples of financial adviser skills

Here are examples of skills financial advisers use in their roles:


When a client seeks financial assistance, the adviser conducts extensive research about the client's economic history. They examine how the client's previous money management contributed to their current situation. Advisers also investigate ways to achieve the client's financial goals, including making strategic investments in stocks or properties or investing in products like life insurance policies or retirement accounts. Research also helps advisers remain informed on new products that emerge on the market.

Wealth management

Financial advisers understand how to achieve and maintain wealth, a skill they use to advise clients on earning and managing their money. Wealth management is an aspect of industry knowledge, where advisers know what investments can generate higher income and their availability on the market. They also know how to identify wise investments based on clients' funds and the wealth they want to accumulate.

Related: Seven Steps To Become a Wealth Management Advisor

Analytical thinking

Analytical thinking gives financial advisers the tools to adjust to changing circumstances and devise solutions to problems. For example, a client expresses their financial goal, but they have limited monetary resources to achieve it. Advisers analyze the state of the client's finances and make suggestions that can produce a positive outcome without wasting funds. As new products emerge on the market, advisers practice analytical thinking to decide the products most benefit the client.

Interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication is an essential client relationship tool. Financial advisers work with clients in one-on-one settings and adjust their communication style based on their conversation partner or the occasion. It includes the following sub-categories:

  • Verbal communication: Advisers explain their research findings and financial guidance in ways their clients can understand. They may use less technical language and deliver their advice in simple terms.

  • Nonverbal communication: The adviser's body language can show their focus on the session, such as nodding their head and delivering direct eye contact with the client. It may also include maintaining a neutral facial expression as the client explains their needs.

  • Active listening: Active listening techniques show the client the adviser is paying close attention to their meetings. They may paraphrase the client's explanation or use phrases such as "I understand" and "I see."

Detail orientation

Attention to detail lets financial advisers stay organized when completing their occupational duties. They pay attention to the client's requests to gain insight into the investments the client is likely to make. When developing investment strategies, advisers detail their explanations to ensure clients understand what actions to take. Also, advisers remain detail-oriented when recording figures on financial reports.


Financial advisers possess empathy to foster meaningful connections with their clients. Clients may be sensitive about the state of their financial resources, and advisers have access to a lot of personal information. With high emotional intelligence, advisers can provide recommendations that cater to clients' needs and lend support.

Risk assessment

Financial advisers need to assess and manage risks before they deliver advice to their clients. Risk assessment typically occurs during the research process, where advisers anticipate challenges clients may face as they strive to achieve wealth. Examples of risks might be a fluctuating market, which can influence the success of investments, or lack of job security, which can increase financial stress and possibly limit income for the client in the future.

Financial adviser skills in the workplace

In the workplace, financial adviser skills can complement one another. Here are examples of how soft and technical abilities intersect:

Research and detail orientation

Attention to detail keeps a financial adviser's research organized and comprehensive. As they collect information about their client's finances, advisers make detailed notes about the assets clients possess and the current trends on the market.

Analytical thinking and risk assessment

Analytical thinking can help advisers evaluate their risks and determine strategies to avoid them. They analyze how likely the chances are to impact the client's journey to achieve their financial goals. For example, suppose the client is a tenured professor at a large university with high enrollment. In that case, sudden job loss is a low risk, while investing in life insurance for a young couple with no significant medical issues may be a high risk.

Interpersonal communication and empathy

Advisers exude empathy as they communicate interpersonally with their clients. For example, as a client explains how unemployment has affected their finances, advisers provide emotional support with words and nonverbal cues, including positive affirmations and comforting pats on the shoulder.

Wealth management and interpersonal communication

When advisers sell financial products to their clients, industry knowledge and interpersonal skills intersect. They use wealth management to emphasize product features that can help improve the client's finances. They use interpersonal communication to appeal to consumers and persuade them to invest.

Related: How To Become a Successful Financial Advisor

How to highlight financial adviser skills

Consider following these steps to show prospective employers you're qualified to be a financial adviser:

1. List your skills on your resume

Communicating your qualifications on your resume can make a positive first impression on a hiring manager. In the skills section, list your soft and technical skills in a list with bullet points. It may also be helpful to showcase abilities that appeared in the job description.

For example, if the description states a preference for a candidate who can empathize with clients, then listing empathy on your resume can capture the employer's attention. You can also incorporate your skill set in your professional summary, which briefly explains why you're a strong candidate for your desired role.

Related: 7 Careers for Financial Advisers

2. Elaborate on your skills on your cover letter

Employers may require you to submit a cover letter to elaborate on the content of your resume, another avenue of illustrating your abilities. As you might have done with your resume, incorporate the skills the job description included. You can also elaborate on how you've gained those skills in your cover letter, which can help you emphasize your educational background and experience.

For example, you can state you became competent in wealth management when completing a bachelor's degree program, or you have earned proficiency at risk assessment as a financial adviser for a major corporation. Including your skills in the same sentences as your other credentials can help keep your cover letter concise.

4. Provide specific examples of using your skills in a job interview

During the job interview, use detailed explanations for your financial adviser skills so the interviewer can understand how experienced you are. For instance, discuss how your research ability enabled you to suggest a product that improved a client's financial state, or describe how your attention to detail allowed you to handle a challenging case. You can also emphasize your willingness to improve your skill set and broaden your industry knowledge, which can inform the employer you prioritize professional growth.

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