Finding your career path in the finance industry may be really overwhelming. First of all, there are so many different career types in accounting and finance that you should know in advance where you want to go in order to take the proper steps. Secondly, there are cases that a Master’s degree is required and this may be a financial burden that you cannot carry, thereby missing a great opportunity to advance your career.
These are a few steps you may consider in order to take control of your career path in the finance industry.
- Assess your current situation
It is important to know where you are at and where you want to be in a few years. Nevertheless, this is a question that you will be asked during any interview for a finance position because the field is dynamic and you need to evolve in it. Yet, before you are asked this question by your interviewer, sit down and ask yourself. What do you want to achieve? How do you plan to achieve it? What are you missing? What are you good at? All these questions will serve as the basis to assess your current situation and decide where you want to go.
- Get a mentor
If you feel that you need the advice of someone more experienced than you or someone who can effectively guide you towards the right decision, get a mentor. A mentor is someone who has already been where you want to go and therefore can help you set your career goals and make sound career decisions. Mentors share their skills, knowledge and expertise in order to help you earn a higher salary and get promoted. If you are the beginning of your career, a mentor may help you gain the necessary exposure in the field and land the job of your dreams.
- Be open to change
If you want to establish a prominent career in the finance field, you should consider acquiring as many different and wide-ranging experiences as possible. Basic education is fundamental, but successful professionals are judged based on their level of diversity and ability to cope with dissimilar situations. Consider an opening to another function, outside accounting or finance, yet complementary enough to enhance your skills in the field. Many finance professionals try business, engineering or mathematics. No matter what you choose to do, have in mind that different functions pave your way to success creating a professional who is business savvy, operations-focused and strategic.
- Stand out from competition
Having full control of your career path aims to help you stand out from the crowd by getting ahead of the competition. You decide on which opportunities to capitalize and you push yourself outside your comfort zone while demonstrating an ability to adapt to changing roles and situations. In fact, if you achieve to be successful in difficult roles, chances are you will be the one your supervisors will look for your expertise and adaptability. So, at the end of the day, this is a win-win situation.
- Have your own opinion
Do you aspire to become a CFO? Besides holding a Master’s degree and possessing the proper education, becoming a CFO calls for a rule-driven, process-oriented individual, who has its own opinion. Being opinionated is not necessarily a bad thing, provided you have firm arguments and you are quite flexible and open to change. In fact, studies show that CFOs and finance executives around the globe present similar behaviors and psychometric profiles to business executives and CEOs. This means that as a CFO, you have to think out of the box. But, you need to start paving this path today.
All in all, the most successful professionals are those who take control of their careers. Take the first steps towards paving your career path today and meet your goals to become a prominent finance professional in the near term. Don’t forget that, no matter how competitive the field may be, if you know where you’re going, you cannot get lost. So, brainstorm all the small steps and make your career anything you want it to be.
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