21 October 2015
Author: The ExecuSearch Group
There is no doubt that technology has changed the job search. However, while the internet has certainly made it a more convenient process, it has made it more competitive. For example, any given online job posting can garner upwards of 100 applicants—making it nearly impossible for the hiring manager to review every single one of them. As a result, people are revving up their online and in-person networking efforts to increase the chances of getting their resume in the hands of an actual person. Dual networking is an amazing way to connect with others and uncover new opportunities, but with an expanded network, there is more room for professional slip-ups. Luckily, they can all be avoided with a little bit of forethought and consideration. Here are 3 networking mistakes to avoid to ensure you can make the most out of your professional contacts. Neglecting face-to-face contact Since there are many benefits to utilizing the internet as a tool to expand your network, it can be easy to only rely on sites such as LinkedIn to further your career. Although every professional should be using online platforms to connect with others in their field, in-person networking is absolutely necessary for job seekers. Factors such as confidence, communication skills, and other positive personality traits can get lost in translation while networking online, so remember to try and attend conferences and meet-ups to forge in-person connections. Not following up If you meet a potential contact at an event, be sure to re-establish that connection with a follow up email or LinkedIn message. A simple note that encompasses a reminder of who you are, where you met, and a broad overview of what you talked about can go a long way. From there, you and your contact can get the ball rolling and start discussing your careers and business connections. While there’s no need to fill their inbox or contact them weekly, be sure to maintain regular contact—not just when you need a favor. An easy way to do this is by sending them interesting articles that are relevant to your professional relationship or setting up a coffee meeting to catch up. Not thanking people Regardless of whether you met them online or at an event, sending a brief thank you email to someone who has helped you is crucial to maintaining a positive, long-lasting connection. Even if they did something as small as referring you to someone who may be better suited to help, a quick correspondence that thanks them can make all the difference. By letting your connections know that you appreciate their help, and that you will gladly reciprocate should they need anything in the future, you are facilitating a mutually beneficial relationship based on trust. Staying in touch is a smart idea for any business connection because you never know who may be able to help you out in the long-run!
21 October 2015
As the economy continues to improve, professionals in the accounting and financial services sectors will have many opportunities to lead successful careers. For example, hiring is on the uptick, salaries are becoming more competitive, and new areas of specialization are emerging. However, despite this burgeoning job market, employers are finding it to be a challenge to fill these positions. Why? There simply aren’t enough qualified candidates to go around. “The accounting and financial services industries are facing a major skills gap, specifically within Internal Audit, Tax (corporate and partnership), SEC Reporting, Compliance, and Risk,” explains Michael Cooke, Partner and Executive Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “There are many contributing factors to this widening gap, but one of the most significant is due to the tendency for professionals to stay with the same company and/or remain in the same position for a significant amount of time. While it’s certainly important to be invested in your work, it’s also imperative to self-reflect and step out of your comfort zone. If you aren’t being challenged or feel too settled into your routine, you run the risk of becoming complacent, which ultimately hurts your long-term career prospects.” So how do you know when that time has come for you to move on from your current position? If you’re experiencing any of the following, it could be time to start searching: There hasn’t been any clear career progression: If you have been in the same job or with the same company for a significant amount of time, it’s important to start evaluating the progress you have made in your career thus far. For example, a lack of new responsibilities and/or promotions are two warning signs that you might have hit a roadblock and that the only way to move past it is to find a new job. “Any position that results in a dead-end – either because you’ve grown as much as you can, or because there was never any room for growth – is often one worth leaving,” warns Mitchell Peskin, Partner and Executive Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “To many hiring managers, a lack of progression indicates a lack of drive. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the signs that your growth is stagnating and get out before you become an unattractive candidate to future employers.” You aren’t getting promoted: Consistently being passed over for a promotion – especially when your colleagues are receiving them – should definitely raise some red flags about your future with the company. “Whether this is because of office politics, your work ethic, or skill level, it’s important to seek out the reason and figure out what you need to do in order to resolve it,” notes Michael. “In most cases, I would advise seeking a new opportunity that aligns with your long-term goals. If your colleagues are being fast-tracked, while you remain in the same position, it is a sign that your manager does not see you as their go-to person and your growth opportunities are very limited.” You’re not diversifying your experience: In two sectors where regulations, products, and systems are constantly changing, keeping your skills up-to-date with evolving trends is key. As a result, don’t let your comfort-level with a particular type of role, organization, or industry prevent you from taking responsibility for your own professional development. That’s why Mitchell believes it is important for professionals to start thinking about their next move once they realize they have stopped learning. “If you don’t feel challenged and there isn’t anything new to learn, you risk becoming complacent – something that can really hurt your market value in such an ever-changing environment.” To figure out your next move, first evaluate your long-term career goals and then see how they align with relevant industry trends. For example, in the financial services industry, the recent uptick in hedge fund hiring has created a lot of opportunity for professionals looking to transition from the sell-side. They can leverage this experience to kick-start their career on the buy-side and build the skills needed to eventually work at larger hedge funds with more assets under management and a greater variety of products. In sum, it’s important to be aware of the signs that you have hit a roadblock at your current job. While it is still important to put in time at a company to gain experience and show loyalty and dedication, there is a certain point when it’s perfectly acceptable – if not preferable – that an employee move on. Once that time has come, it’s important that you take the steps needed to push your career forward.