What is the Best Way to Fast-Forward Your Career?

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By Christine

Are you looking to move ahead in your career?

Perhaps you’ve learnt all you can from your job. Or looking for more money. Or simply looking for a change in environment. Hundreds of thousands of finance professionals change jobs every year, striving to better their career. 

​So how do you make that happen for yourself? We share options on how you’d be able to push forward and make progress in your career path, and tips on how to maximise your chances of success.


Option 1: Get Promoted
‘Getting promoted’ is usually what comes to mind when most professionals think about career advancement. And who can blame them? More responsibilities, (usually) more compensation, a black-and-white confirmation that your company thinks you’re awesome – there are many things to like about promotions. 

If getting promoted is square in your sights at work, we have handy guides to help you sail over the finish line:

However, often getting promoted is rarely the easiest nor the fastest way of advancing in your career. Perhaps your team’s dynamics doesn’t allow your position to go up any further. Maybe your manager has a problem with you. Or work has simply not gone well enough this year, not because of lack of personal effort, but rather what’s happening in the markets.

If getting promoted in your role is looking tough, you need a backup plan. And one effective option to ‘get promoted’ anyway is to pursue a better job at another company.

Option 2: Move to Another Company

If you’ve done all you can at your current company, a natural next step is to look elsewhere. Job-hunting can be tough, but the rewards are aplenty – a new start and a chance to adjust your career to better suit your goals. For those who have not looked at the job market for a while, this may look a bit daunting. We’ve also written many guides to help the job-hunters among our readers:

300 Hours Jobs is also a great place to start – it’s a specialist job board with jobs tailored to CFA candidates and charterholders. It also has a free resume review that can help you brush up your resume/CV and make sure your work experience and qualifications are tweaked to their best potential.

But wait up. What if you’d really like to stay at your current company? Perhaps what you want is a change in responsibilities and job industries. In which case, you could also explore changing roles or teams within the same company.

Option 3: Move to Another Job at the Same Company

Maybe you like where you are, company-wise, but would like a change in your role, or switch to a different team. This is sometimes simpler to achieve than people think – but it needs to be approached the right way:

Have a ‘work date’ lunch at least once a week

Building your company network is one of the most effective ways to easily switch teams. Try having a ‘work date’ lunch – have lunch with someone from another team, not for any specific agenda, but rather just to hang out and find out more about each other. This creates a network within your company that can really help when you’re looking for something else within the company. 

This method has served me very well – in the past, I successfully switched jobs three times in the same company just by having ‘work dates’.

Let your manager know

You may balk at letting your manager know that you want to leave their team. But letting them know helps you a lot, at minimal risk and downsides:

  • Your manager knows a lot of other managers. If you’re planning to switch teams within the same company, It’s in their interest to help you do that as soon as possible. And by letting your manager know, you’re bringing someone in that can really help you make the right connection.
  • Your manager will find out anyway. If you’re speaking to other teams about possible jobs, one of the first things they will look for in any case is a validation of your performance from your current manager. It’s much better for you to have discussed this with your manager before this happens so that your manager doesn’t find out through people asking about your performance.
  • They can help you build the right experience. Letting your manager know also allows you to discuss your areas of interest with them. They can put you on specific workstreams that help build the right areas of experience, and sing your praises when the right people ask about you.
  • OK, so they may now promote someone else over you in their team. But is that a big deal? If you’re already thinking of moving away from your current job, was that promotion going to happen? Would that have mattered anyway?

Look at HR

Many large companies have an internal hiring program. Make sure you let the right people in HR know that you’re looking to move teams, and keep a lookout for right roles on internal job boards.


Most Importantly…Be Comfortable with Taking Risk
In “The Millennial Economy”, Ernst & Young and the Economic Innovation Group conducted a new national public opinion survey of 1,200 millennials to gauge their views on a variety of issues related to the economy at all levels—personal, local, and national—and the challenges they face almost seven years into the recovery from the financial crisis of 2007. 

The responses given in the surveys clearly displayed a trend correlating with a resistance to change and risk-taking. The more change there is in the career advancement method, the less appealing it was to survey respondents.

But this has no bearing on the effectiveness of each method – in fact, the inverse is more likely to be true. The more comfortable you are with change, the less competition you have, and the higher the chances of your success.

Whichever method you choose to progress your career: be comfortable with change. Constantly challenge yourself to play outside your comfort zone, and get ahead in life. If you have any questions or need advice, I’d be more than happy to help. Just drop them in the comments below!

Zee Tan
Author: Zee Tan

 

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