Feel the fear... and go for it!

Oct 06, 2016

That first role out of contract is a 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 important 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).

These little practical steps can help to build your confidence level. Focus on the positives and use this next move as a positive step in the right direction with the right career.

Ciara Tallon is the Careers Advisory & Recruitment Executive with Chartered Accountants Ireland and works with all newly qualified members to help with CV preparation, career advice and guidance on long term career planning. Contact Ciara on 01-6377 322 or email ciara.tallon@charteredaccountants.ie