Achieving your career aspirations – top tips for newly qualified professionals
Georgina Millyard at Rutherford Cross shares her top tips for newly-qualified professionals.
The effort and determination required to become a qualified chartered accountant are considerable, and newly-qualified professionals should absolutely be congratulated on their achievements. However, the reality is whilst the exams may be over the hard work is just beginning.
Many of those who are successful in securing a traineeship within the profession do so with clear career ambitions; either to make Partner or land the role of CFO for a SME or global business. What is sometimes not so clear is exactly how to get there.
Many young accountants are full of ambition, but not quite clear on the path they should follow. If you find yourself in a similar situation, try to:
- Think strategically about your career goals
- Research the career paths of others
- Build your professional network
- Understand what a business needs from its future finance leaders
Below we discuss some of the key tips you can do throughout your career to ensure that you are on track to achieve your career aspirations.
Define your goal
Success requires focus, and focus requires a set goal. What does success look like to you? Once you have researched and defined your goal, understand that achieving it will require hard work and an element of sacrifice.
Take time to reflect on this ensuring that your initial goal still motivates and inspires you. It is normal that goalposts may move depending on what is important to you but acknowledging and redefining the new ambition is vital to ensure you are still on track.
Work with a mentor
Having a mentor who can advise and assure you as you work your way up the career ladder is invaluable. Your mentor may be your manager, a more experienced colleague, or someone you connect with via a course such as the ICAS Career Mentoring Programme. This virtual programme matches mentees and mentors from a global network of CAs, based on their experience and requirements and you can register your interest in the programme now.
Your mentor can share their own experiences, support you to fill your skill gaps and advise you on decisions that will impact on your future career.
Building a strong network of peers, senior colleagues, and advisors can be hugely beneficial to your career progression. Sharing experiences and challenges can help you shape your career journey and may also open doors to new career opportunities. Additionally, networks available via professional accounting bodies such as ICAS are amongst the strongest in the world and newly-qualified accountants should make the most of them by attending relevant events and staying abreast of global industry news and opportunities.
Don’t overlook building a trusted relationship with a selected specialist finance recruiter. They constantly interact with senior finance professionals from a client stand point and know what their clients are looking for. As a minimum, they should provide a good sounding board on live market trends and career options.
Be open to opportunity
The path you think leads straight to the top may not be the one that ends up getting you to your goal. There are many ambitious professionals out there set on climbing the ladder, so start thinking about how you can differentiate yourself and build your personal brand.
Initially, positioning yourself as ‘front of mind’ with your managers through volunteering for projects and going beyond expectations can lead to promotion and recognition. However, showing your commitment and expanding your experience by taking secondments with different teams across your business, or taking an international posting can really give your career a boost.
Taking a ‘sideways step’ into another function or business can seem like a distraction from your end goal, but in reality, it could help to make you a more rounded and experienced professional.
Within an ever-changing world of work, think big. Working from home is the new normal and with many organisations opting long term for a hybrid or even full time working from home policy does this open up new opportunities within different locations that you may not have been able to consider before?
Rutherford Cross is a senior finance search firm which operates across Scotland. We work across all sectors of the market including commerce and industry, financial services, the public sector and the profession. We are able to offer our candidates a wide variety of opportunities in line with their career ambitions.
Contact Georgina Millyard from Rutherford Cross for further advice or a careers discussion on opportunities available.
This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.