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Career Coach: Job Search Success for the Finance Professional (Part 2)

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In my last column, I introduced a few key ideas to consider when you either find yourself in job search or have been in search for a while.  My intention now is to build upon the ideas presented and to encourage you to understand how to apply this knowledge—selectively and productively—to your own unique situation.

Below are five additional recommendations that have worked for numerous clients over many, many years.  These basic principles will serve as a platform for future columns and allow us to focus on a more in-depth basis on industry specific job search and career matters.

  1. If you are looking for a job like the one you had, what is missing right now to allow you to compete successfully (e.g. skills, experience)? If you are making a career change, what skills and training are required to do this new job?

    Also consider the following:

    Where are the opportunities: regional firms, foreign banks, consulting? Are you willing to commute or relocate? Will you consider an overseas assignment? What about learning a foreign language?

  2. Build a support system...get a job search pal or group. Do you have the right level of support to maintain your motivation? Find others in job search—preferably CFAs or those at various points in the CFA® examination process—who are motivated and equally committed to finding a job. Check in regularly to stay on track. You may ask, “Don't I lose my competitive edge when more people learn about an open position?” Sharing information is not inefficient or unwise since most information about opportunities is already publicly available and generally a specific skill set is desired. Secrecy in job search is a waste of time. What will make a difference and help you stand out are passion, demonstrated success, and knowledge.

  3. Establish realistic expectations in terms of the time to land career options. Job search takes a lot longer in this crappy market and you need to be prepared to jump through many more hoops. Research and information are critical. Firms need to justify the headcount even if it is just replacing an existing open position. That means when you interview the burden is on you to demonstrate your potential to add value immediately and to offer solutions, and most important, to follow up.

  4. Introduce a new pipeline to develop job options, e.g., a desire and/or willingness to consult, do a special project, or to work on an interim basis. This expands the range and number of potential opportunities to which you are exposed. It also helps people who may need this sort of help but cannot add permanent headcount. Or they may know of others who have a similar need. If you do not tell them that you are available and interested in alternatives, then you will not hear about opportunities.

  5. Last but not least, please make sure that your emotional needs do not cloud your judgment. Landing a job at any cost may come with a big price tag that is not immediately apparent. However, if you need a job desperately then just know that a mediocre option is better than none. Accept the offer and keep looking.

–Roy Cohen

“Career Coach” is a career column written by Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide. Please feel free to send questions and requests for topics for future columns to the editor.

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