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Opportunities for those ‘willing to do the work’

Kate Creagh, head of human resources for Commonwealth Financial Network, says the Waltham company offers entry-level employees plenty of ways to advance their careers.
Kate Creagh, head of human resources for Commonwealth Financial Network, says the Waltham company offers entry-level employees plenty of ways to advance their careers.(Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff)

Many of the jobs at Commonwealth Financial Network require specialized certifications, but there are plenty of entry-level positions with opportunities to advance at the Waltham financial services firm.

“We sponsor licenses, we train on professional skills, we invest in our people to get them ready — as long as they are willing to do the work,” said Kate Creagh, managing principal in human resources.

Creagh said hiring has remained steady at that the independent broker-dealer and investment company. Commonwealth Financial Network has 724 employees in Greater Boston and San Diego. The company has about 45 job openings.

Commonwealth recently started a new training program, the Service Center Academy. What’s the academy all about?

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It’s an in-house training program designed to recruit the best and brightest college graduates. We choose a selective group to come on board after tax season to begin an eight-month training program that rotates through all our departments. Based on performance, they continue working on the frontlines in the service center or transition to another operational department. If they are not yet licensed to sell securities, we help them pass these exams.

You provide back-office support for more than 1,000 independent financial advisers nationwide, which means there’s an infrastructure with lots of different roles. What are some of these opportunities?

As our advisers develop their practices, we have expanded to continue to support their firms from every angle. Specific areas that have seen the most growth include technology, compliance, and practice management. There are roles in marketing, operations, and wealth management. For some of these openings we have hundreds of applicants; less for more niche roles.

If you were to give practical, hands-on tips for candidates, what would they be?

Job hunters should regard their cover letter and résumé as their first and best foot forward. Not only should you show how your skills align to the position, but make sure everything is informative and well written. Grammar and spelling count — as does a clean and neat layout.

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When it comes to being available for an interview, make it easy for us to reach you — don’t have your voice mail full or ringer constantly turned off. Be responsive and prepared. And ask your references to return our phone calls.

“Fun” is in the Commonwealth mission statement. Is it really a fun place to work?

We have grass-roots events like a turkey fry, golf tournament, and community gardens, just to name a few. Our office building has even been transformed into a replica of Disney’s Main Street, USA. We believe in working hard — but playing hard, as well.


Cindy Atoji Keene can be reached at cindy@cindyatoji.com.