It's your move

Mar 15, 2018

That first role out of contract is a very significant move for newly qualified members and as such has the potential to influence your longer term career plans.

As I meet members on a daily basis I encounter the same sense of confusion, fear, trepidation and anxiety as they consider their first ‘qualified decision’.  This is the ‘Sunday night fear’ on a far more extreme scale.  You have been supported and guided throughout your contract and so qualifying opens up new options, challenges and decision making opportunities for you.

If you take only one thing from this article it should be that you can be proud of your achievements.  Most of you will have completed a third level qualification, some of you will then have been fortunate to complete your Masters and then upon qualifying will have successfully completed one of the most challenging and demanding set of exams that you are ever going to come across.  Bank that success!!

It is easy to dismiss your successes and immediately focus on the next job, company or challenge However, by taking stock of what you have achieved, the sacrifices you have made as well as perhaps how much you have developed both personally and professionally along the way, it can strengthen your level of self-awareness and hopefully your level of confidence & belief in what you can achieve.

Recognising & banking your success is a useful way of bringing you back to the times when you were most proud, happy, successful and relieved! And most importantly when you are facing into CV preparations, interview planning and job hunting – you have gotten this far you can achieve anything.  This is not a glib one-liner but an empowering affirmation that can be useful in times of doubt. 

 What practical steps can you take to make the move less stressful for you?

  1. Choose your confidants - identify one or two people that you can discuss your options with carefully.  Everyone will have an opinion but they may be biased so choose wisely.

     

  2. Slow things down and create an ‘ideal job spec’ based on all the elements that you have enjoyed in your career to date.  You may not achieve everything but if you don’t aim high you are starting low and make it harder for yourself to claw back on that wish list.

     

     

  3. Spend time enjoying – yes enjoying- the job search functionalities of various job sites.  Keep an open mind on roles, locations, sectors and try not to limit yourself too quickly in the process.  New roles and titles are being created all of the time so familiarise yourself with them. 

  4. In practical terms, developing a professional CV that fully sells your skills, achievements and reflects your ability in language that ‘non-finance’ personnel can understand will help you greatly. 

     

     

  5. Visualising yourself in an organisation outside of the one you trained in will be crucial as you attempt to sell your skills and competencies to new hiring managers.  You’ve started something new before so you are more than capable of doing it again as a professional.

  6. Focus on transferable competencies and adapting the ‘corporate speak’ that has become second nature to you to instead mirror the language used by the organisations you are attempting to join (use their job descriptions as a guide).

It’s worth remembering that for those finishing contract in spring, audits are in full swing and it’s generally ‘busy season’ for those of you in practice so a couple of things that might help:

  1. Avoid making huge career decisions during the busiest time of the year - either start the process earlier before Christmas or allow yourself some time beyond end of contract date.

     

  2. You may be inundated by recruiters and those offering opportunities but it pays to hold your ground until you are sure (or less unsure) about your next move.

     

  3. Everyone will have their own story so remember to listen to your own voice – you know best what you are capable of or where your ambitions extent to.

     

  4. A dream job is only a dream job if it’s your dream – if you live your life through other’s expectations that dream can quickly become a nightmare.

     

  5. Your career is a life-time in creation – the temptation is to want to advance rapidly – however mistakes can be made so instead think of this as a marathon not a sprint.

     

  6. Use the services of those who will offer you impartial advice and support, to help identify where your passion+skill= career path

These little practical steps can help to build your confidence level that huge change does not have to happen overnight. Focus on the positives, if you were not 100% happy in your training firm or company or didn’t necessarily enjoy the work then this can be a very positive next step and be the beginning of the rest of your life! 

I welcome contact from new members to see how we can support you as you begin your 'qualified journey'.  Email ciara.tallon@charteredaccountants.ie