What kind of skills/experience should I have to go into any research position in finance?

Hi all,

I recently graduated with a finance degree and currently searching for a full-time position. I tried going after positions related to research (i.e., Credit Research Analyst, Investment Research Analyst) because I enjoy doing research in general, and I prefer doing something like that in the finance field. However, I've sent many applications for such positions and have not heard back from any. I suppose one reason is that I do not have strong technical skills, and some companies prefer applicants with more experience. I'm fine with excel: I've built financial models for class before, I am familiar with functions like =vlookup and =hlookup, I know how to create pivot tables and whatif analysis. I am currently practicing VBA and Macros as well. I am also familiar with Bloomberg Terminal. Other than that, my technical skills are kind of weak.

With that said, I was hoping some of you can help me by giving me tips as to what steps I should take if I want to pursue a career in any research position. What skills do you recommend I practice? - or which do you think would be required of me? What kind of job positions can I look for in the meantime to build experience? And what types of companies should I try to focus on (larger or smaller companies)? My friend told me that smaller companies usually require more experience, but I have recently found that to be the opposite.

I'd appreciate it if any of you have any tips/suggestions.

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