Stories about successful business leaders provide us with diverse pathways to our professional achievements. Such tales have a common thread – these leaders did not leave their careers in the hands of fate. Certainly, destiny may have played a part, but these people were at the right place at the right time because they planned it that way.
Taking charge of your career isn’t just a time-bound project – it’s a state of mind. It involves instilling certain behaviours and values that remain with you. There are numerous tools and resources that can guide and support you through the process. Here is a quick summary of the first steps towards intentional career management:
- Know Your Goal: Being aware of where you want to go is half the journey completed. Clearly define your aspiration, drilling as far down as the industry segment, companies, and designation you aim for – and don’t forget to write it all down. In a CFA Institute Career Insights Webinar “Career Insights for a Post Covid World”, Jyotsna Krishnan, Managing Director at Elevar Equity, likens building a career to constructing an investment portfolio. She advises people to arrive at their career goals only after they understand the shape of their personal and professional drivers, as well as risk appetite. This webinar is a part of a CFA Institute Career Insights Webinar Series which is an excellent way to understand the various segments of the investment management industry and choose the right goal.
- Get Ready and Set: Once you have mapped out your goal, the next step is to prepare for the journey. Equip yourself with extensive knowledge of the industry and organisation that you want to join. Understand the competency requirements for the role and map it to your skills. If you are considering a career in the investment management industry, the CFA Institute Career Readiness Assessment Tool helps you navigate this stage. It also guides you on the resources you can use to take the next step. In our conversations with employers on what they look for while interviewing, “a well-prepared interviewee” is always their top pick.
- Gather Your Army: To execute a plan, you require an army. They say it takes a village to raise a child. If this is so, then ascending the career ladder requires the work of a small town. Build your army of mentors, advisors, and sponsors who will provide the necessary insights, experience, and opportunities. In her address to the CFA Institute Global Annual Conference, Tools to Maximizing Your Career Success”, Carla Harris – author of many books on the subject – spoke about “relationship currency”, the value of which only increases as you climb the ladder. Relationship currency is derived from investing in the people around you. While you are busy working the numbers and delivering performance, remember to set aside time to invest in this currency. Leverage your alumni network from university or access to the professional community offered by professional bodies such as CFA Institute and your local CFA Society®– that’s the best return on investment that your education can offer.
- Be The “T-Shaped Person”: T-shaped people are subject-matter experts; they adapt to changing environments and work across disciplines, including being at ease with technology. Traditional learning and learning by doing both can contribute. The CFA Institute report, “Investment Professional of the Future,” found that investment industry leaders rank T-shaped skills as the most crucial future skill category (49% rank these first), followed by leadership skills (21%), soft skills (16%), and technical skills (14%). T-shaped skills are a blend of technical skills and soft skills that create an ability to think laterally.
- Continue to Learn & Grow: Every goal you reach is just a milestone in life’s journey. You need to continuously sharpen your weapons. Boost your skills by enriching your army, enhance relationships, and re-fuel your mind and body by finding time for relaxation. Professional bodies such as CFA Institute and its CFA Societies offer members and candidates continuous professional development and networking opportunities. Don’t miss out on leveraging these resources. Maintain discipline and remain updated, as well as relevant. Visit the CFA Institute or CFA Society India websites to find out more about these resources or access other career development tools.
This is a Partnered Post written by Arati Porwal, Director, Society Relations, CFA Institute