When you visualise your future, does it look alarmingly similar to your present? How does your current role fit into the bigger picture of your career?
Here are 5 considerations you should take in order to make a career change that will allow you to reach your goals sooner.
1. Identify and prioritise your motivations
Making a move in your career, regardless of how big or small, is a decision that affects other areas of your life as well. Given how much time finance professionals generally spend in the office, knowing what will keep you motivated and engaged in your role will lead you to find greater happiness, pride, and success in your career.
These motivations—salary, the firm’s size, job title, reporting structure, commute—can make a difference between loving or loathing your job. The “perfect job” may not be out there right now, but being reflective and strategic in planning your next move could result in a career that you won’t want to retire from.
2. Gain a clear perspective of your long term goals
How does this next move play into your overall career plan? If you know that you want to be a Finance Director within the next 5 years, then what role could allow you to gain the responsibilities and experience to qualify for that position?
A useful exercise for this is to create a list with everything that you would like in your next role. On a separate sheet of paper, create 3 columns with a career goal listed at the top of each one. Aim to select 3 that you would consider your main objectives for at least the next 2 or 3 years. Then, rank them in order of importance.
Once you have your goals written down, tie each item on your list to a goal. This will help you visualise your career plan and identify which of your motivations will have the strongest impact on your priority goals. It will also allow you to see how future opportunities will impact your career as a whole.
A 10% salary bump may be appealing, but if your goal is to hold a managerial position in the next 2 years, then the pay isn’t a relevant factor to consider for achieving that goal. Instead, a lateral move into another firm with a better track record of timely internal promotions could make a bigger impact on the things that matter to you most.
3. Update your CV
The best way to update your CV is to add to it continuously throughout your employment. Even the best memories can miss valuable details. However you choose to manage it, updating your CV before making a career move of any kind is imperative. Does it represent you in the strongest way? Are your achievements quantified?
Not only are CVs valuable to recruiters and employers for evaluating potential candidates, but they are snapshots of your professional identity. They can reveal patterns and interests that open your eyes to a career that you may have not considered before. Maybe you had planned on building a career as a personal accountant, but reflecting on that corporate auditing project you worked on earlier in your career reminded you of how much you enjoyed being on a team.
Re-establish contact with existing connections in your network, both online and offline. Invite a former colleague out to lunch. If there is a person whose career you aspire to one day, tell them so. Offer to take them out for coffee to discuss a career move you’re considering. Nobody is immune to a genuine compliment, and free coffee, from someone who admires them. Your goal shouldn’t be to walk away with a job lead that day; rather, to strengthen your professional relationships and gain advice or insight that you can leverage in your search.
Tip: When appropriate, invite your contacts to meet for coffee rather than lunch. Not only is coffee a more affordable way to network and gain useful information (those lunches can add up!), but mornings tend to be easier for people to schedule in than the afternoon and grabbing a coffee will be shorter than meeting for lunch, which is handy given how busy people tend to be.
To make new connections online, keep your eyes open to the conversations going on in your social networks. Following hashtags relevant to your knowledgebase and interests will allow you to meet new people in your field and contribute to the conversations in a meaningful way.
5. Build relationships with recruiters
To dip your toe into prospective employers’ talent pools, proactively seek out and interact with recruiters who work in your industry. Often, this information can be found on their corporate websites and social profiles. The advantage of targeting niche recruiters is that they will have the most relevant networks for you. And those networks contain a lot of the gatekeepers in control of passing you through to interview. Generalist recruiters may have a client or two in the financial sector, and so their networks may extend only as far as the job order they receive.
If you see that they are active on Twitter, follow them. If they blog, comment your thoughts on what they’ve written. With content emerging as a modern way for recruiters to attract talent, many who publish blogs check their likes and comments for candidate leads on LinkedIn.
Written by Financial Staffing Solutions, specialist financial recruiters covering all accountancy and financial roles. If you’re looking for a new position within this sector, or need to hire a finance professional, then get in touch:
020 8532 2644
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