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02/03/2015

How the CFA Charter Helped Me Find A Job


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Most of us took up CFA exams for career advancement and development opportunities—so did I back in 2009, amongst other reasons

Upon scraping through the last Level III battle and obtaining the elusive CFA charter, I embarked on a job search, not because I wasn't happy with my current role at that time, but it was in response to my boss' comment during my year-end review and salary negotiation that prompted me to look around to "benchmark my market value." It was an interesting exercise as there wasn't a strong pressure to leave per se (i.e., I didn't hate my job/work environment), but I was also incentivized to secure a real offer, as that serves as a true measure of my market worth (plus it was always interesting, to me at least, to find out what other roles there are). 

Good practice for interviews? Definitely. Stressful? Certainly (the goal is still to secure a job offer!). Useful? Very, because I also got a good sense of employers' view of the CFA charter. Here's my attempt to provide a qualitative assessment of the CFA qualification on my job hunting process. 

Overview

Here's a subjective account of my job search experiences upon obtaining my CFA charter a few years ago, right in the midst of the financial crisis. The purpose is to qualitatively assess the impact of having the CFA charter on my job hunting endeavours. I view the job search process as three separate stages:

  • Job applications - the number of relevant jobs for which I could apply, and am interested in;
  • Response rate - the number of positive feedback or calls for interviews I had as a percentage of number of job applications made;
  • Interview rounds - the final stage, certainly the trickier bit (but not impossible) to master

Of course, my experience is by no means a definitive guide to what will happen to every charterholder (as they are many varying characteristics between my situation and theirs, as caveated below), but I believe there are things that we all can do, and learn, in order to improve your chances to get the job you want. No one has provided a detailed account of their life post as a CFA charterholder so I thought I'd get the ball rolling!

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