30 June 2016
Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg, and Mark Zuckerberg are just a few people who’ve had a mentor help them on their road to success. While achieving such high-profile success may not be your ultimate goal, there is an important lesson we can learn from their relationship with their mentors: cultivating a strong mentor/mentee partnership takes time and dedication on both ends. On one hand, you want a mentor who is seasoned in their field and can provide you with the guidance you need at various stages of your career, while on the other, you need to be truly invested in their advice and put the effort into maintaining the relationship. That’s why who you choose to be your mentor is key! To truly get the most out of your relationship, you first need to ensure that both of your goals and expectations are aligned. To help you identify a mentor who will stand by your side, here are 3 factors you should focus on: A “safe zone” for professional development While many professionals typically seek a mentor at their workplace (i.e., manager, coworker, etc.), it’s a good idea to consider someone who isn’t a part of your organization. Why? If you’re unable to speak freely with your mentor, this undermines the ultimate goal of building a relationship based on trust. You never want a mentor who you’re unable to be 100% honest with, and a good mentor should encourage you to freely explore your short and long term career goals—something a colleague may not be able to do. As a result, you must strongly consider the level of trust you share with your prospective mentor and be confident that they will listen to you without judgement. Outside perspective As you start your career with a new company, finding someone internally who can show you the ropes is key. While they may serve as a good internal mentor to help you navigate opportunities within the company, it might not always be in your best interest to rely on the same person for ongoing career advice. Since an internal mentor may be able to identify key strengths and weaknesses in your performance, a mentor with an outside perspective can provide you with a more objective (unbiased) opinion on how to emphasize your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Finding a mentor who has your best interests in mind at all times is crucial. For example, a mentor from outside of your organization might give you the opportunity to learn a more effective way to negotiate what you’re looking for, while an internal mentor may want to keep that to themselves. Along the same lines, this outside perspective will force you to look at certain situations more objectively. If you’re interested in finding a mentor outside of your workplace, search for organizations like the International Mentoring Network, which helps to connect professionals across a variety of industries and experience levels with career coaches and mentors. Access to a broader network, resources, and information “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” is an old saying in the professional realm that becomes more apparent as you progress throughout your career. While it may be easy to point out the prestige associated with having an accomplished professional in your corner, at times, we forget that this particular type of relationship affords you the ability to do so much more. For example, you’re able to broaden your network through your mentor’s connections, be introduced to new resources, and gain access to information that not everyone is exposed to.
27 June 2016
When building your professional network, it can often feel like you are assembling building blocks without any instructions. Eventually, you should have something to show for your effort, but it can be difficult to determine if you are on the right path. In the case of establishing positive and beneficial relationships, networking events and coffee meetings are good places to start, but these occasions can sometimes be limited to small talk. This might not allow you to get very far when hoping to develop a trusting rapport. If you often find yourself in that situation, it may take more than a happy hour event to build your professional connections. However, you can still grow a network of hard-working professionals that will endorse you and your work in the future—by volunteering. Although volunteering is a larger time commitment, it has undeniable benefits. Here are four reasons to consider volunteering to build your network: You’re actually getting work experience What’s more important than a professional connection when landing your next job? The proper experience to do the job, of course. Rather than focusing on building your rolodex, concentrate on filling out your resume with volunteer opportunities. By prioritizing volunteer opportunities, you can place your focus on developing important soft skills and gaining excellent experience while your network grows as you work with the people around you. You’re organically building deeper relationships Through working side-by-side with other volunteers and supervisors, you’ll be able to form stronger relationships. Rather than sticking to small talk, you’ll have a built-in conversation topic through the work you, your supervisors, or other volunteers are doing. When you put in time on a regular basis, you’ll be more likely to cement a familiar relationship. Because of this, your connections from volunteering may be much more likely to recommend you for a new opportunity since they know more about your personality and work ethic. You’re meeting people with different backgrounds Whether or not you’re volunteering within your industry, you truly never know whom you will meet. Not only could your supervisors be well-connected, but your fellow volunteers may come from many different backgrounds. They could introduce you to important people, or perhaps they can shed light on a new career path that you hadn’t considered before. If you keep an open mind, you could find an array of new opportunities and valuable relationships. You’re showing your passion for your work When you give your time on a regular basis without asking for anything in return, you’re showing those you work with that you genuinely care. Not only does this prove dedication and commitment to your new acquaintances, it also shows these same desirable qualities to potential employers.
24 June 2016
Regulatory compliance has been a hot topic this year for a number institutions throughout the financial services industry. Throughout 2016, the SEC has aggressively increased its regulatory exams, particularly for private equity firms and hedge funds, and as a result, there has been a subsequent rise in demand for compliance professionals who possess strong regulatory compliance expertise. With all of the changes to the SEC’s regulations and exam priorities, Ben Hartman, an Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division, has observed a gradual increase in demand for a variety of compliance professionals. “To take proactive steps to strengthen their compliance teams, an increasing number of clients are looking to hire core compliance professionals, AML professionals, or outside counsel (i.e., certified tax resolution specialist, professional auditor, etc.),” highlights Ben. “Whether you’ve considered making a transition to a career in compliance, or are in search of new opportunities at the leadership level, now is a great time to start your job search!” Today, employers want compliance professionals who exhibit open-mindedness, strong adaptability, and a motivation to learn. Here are some proactive steps you can take to position yourself as a strong prospective candidate: Stay current with recent headlines In order for an employer to have a successful SEC exam, they must have the right makeup of compliance professionals to prepare and lead them through it. As a compliance expert, you must ensure you are keeping pace with the changes as business regulations continue to evolve. Therefore, you should stay current with industry trends as well as recent SEC updates, which can help you engage with prospective employers on hot topics throughout the interview process. “Our buy-side clients, specifically hedge funds, are currently reviewing their compliance programs and identifying deficiencies, and as a result, will be in search of more candidates with knowledge of AML rules and regulations,” says Ben. “Compliance professionals should refer to sites like the ACA Compliance Group or SEC published updates to educate themselves on issues affecting the industry.” To attract experienced compliance professionals to their organization, employers are offering very competitive salaries, so the more informed you are on pertinent issues, the easier it may be for you to demonstrate the value you can bring to the role. Do your due diligence on prospective employers In addition to staying up-to-date on current trends, it’s equally important to do your due diligence on prospective employers before an interview. Depending on the hiring focus of the company, tailoring your resume to the specific role can be a great way to get noticed by prospective employers. For example, if a company is revamping their Code of Ethics (COE) compliance program and are in search of a Junior Analyst, you want to make sure your resume clearly highlights your COE exposure. Moreover, a great way to identify key stakeholders and learn about where they stand on key compliance issues is to review the company’s Form ADV. “Knowing more about the employer can help you strategize how to emphasize certain technical and soft skills,” advises Ben. “Strong project management skills, adaptability, and the willingness to proactively learn about changing regulations, are the types of attributes hiring mangers look out for in new hires.” By doing your due diligence, you can leverage your understanding of the company’s hiring needs to better tailor your responses to anticipated questions about how you can help improve their processes. Attend networking events, roundtables, and conferences Finally, compliance professionals can position themselves for success in today’s job market by proactively expanding their networks and knowledge base. “Since it’s difficult to find candidates with the “exact” skill set, employers are looking for candidates who can demonstrate how they’ve attempted to improve their skills as regulations continue to change,” says Ben. “Employers need to trust their compliance team’s ability to keep the organization’s initiatives aligned with evolving governmental regulations. What better way to demonstrate your initiative than to get involved with industry events?” To expand your knowledge base and connect with like-minded professionals, networking events, roundtables, and industry conferences are all great places to start.
23 June 2016
With the early days of summer now upon us, we understand it might be hard for you to truly get into the swing of things when it comes to applying for jobs. And trust us, when we say we understand where you’re at; now that the weather is nice and you likely have plans every weekend from now until Labor Day, it’s tough to stay motivated when it comes to looking for a new job. While you may find yourself in this predicament, applying for (and finding!) a job is not impossible during this time of the year. Contrary to popular belief that job searching in the summer isn’t worth the time and effort, it can actually be quite the opposite. Not only can you get ahead of your competition who may be taking a break from their searches, it’s also the perfect time for making new connections and boosting your skills. Wondering how to make the most out of the dog days of summer? Consider the following practices below: Use the time to boost your profile Before you dive into your job search, take some time to make improvements to your resume, portfolio, and online profile(s). Since summer marks the halfway point of the calendar year, it’s the perfect time to assess your current credentials and really give yourself and your skills a thorough evaluation. As the summer goes on, be open to attending professional conferences, seminars, and workshops to help improve your credentials and be encouraged by the fact that you took time to make yourself a more marketable candidate. Be patient As you apply for jobs, you may notice that it’s taking a longer amount of time for potential employers to make initial contact. This may leave you feeling discouraged, but don’t be. Summer, especially the early part of the season, is a popular time for people to take a break from their inboxes and head out of the office for vacation. However, don’t assume that you’re being ignored. In many industries where the summer months may present a lull in responsibilities, hiring managers have more time to really get to know their candidates. Because of this, a delayed response from a potential employer may be because of their ability to devote more time to you and what skills and experiences you can bring to the table. Ultimately, taking time to decide whether or not you’re the right fit is time well spent for both you and the employer! Go out and network The summer months are a fantastic time to network, so definitely plan to attend several networking events throughout the season. At these events, remember that they aren’t just about finding as many job leads as you can (though that certainly doesn’t hurt). You may feel the pressure to do so as you watch other job seekers network, but remember that building a genuine connection with event attendees can do just as much, if not more, for you. Take this ideal networking season to create a foundation for your job search, and don’t be afraid to follow up with the people you met to discuss job opportunities that present themselves to you in the future. Make time for yourself You may feel the pressure to devote most of your extra time to job boards and your application materials, but it’s crucial that you give yourself breaks and some time to enjoy the summer months. Ultimately, finding a good balance between dedicating time to your job search and being active with friends and family will keep you productive and motivated!
20 June 2016
While we all know that company research is a key step in the job application or interview process, many of us do not spend enough time scrolling through search results. It’s easy to only focus on details that may help you in an interview, but you can learn a lot more about how a company operates by analyzing their online presence as a whole. It may not seem immediately obvious, but there are several red flags that can be uncovered in this search process. Whether it’s enough to reconsider your interest in the company is up to you, but these hints at least warrant some hesitation on your part. Here are three warning signs that deserve a deeper look: Outdated digital presence Technology has advanced quickly in the last 10 years, and the majority of business can often be conducted online. As a result, companies have ramped up website design and social media presence to better serve their customers on the web. While it can be difficult to keep up with the latest web design trends, a company’s website should not look like it hasn’t been updated since the late nineties. With internet searches being a key traffic driver for most businesses, it is not a good sign when a company does not understand the power of an effective website or the importance of investing in a strong online presence. The inability to grasp the efficacy of new (now, traditional) business mediums suggests that management might have become complacent with old technology, which is not the best way to move forward in your career. Similarly, it could be a good idea to check out a prospective organization’s social media profiles. While not all businesses need to be active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you should be able to find a few updates when perusing their social network profiles. Bad press You know the old saying, “perception is reality.” Unfortunately, no matter your impression of the organization, the public’s perception should play a role in your decision. If there are numerous articles pointing to questionable behavior from the company, it may be best not to be affiliated. This could have a large impact of others’ impressions of you, and it could affect your ability to get hired in the future. Poor employee reviews Employee reviews from Glassdoor or PayScale may be the best indicator of whether you would be happy in this role. Once again, remember to take these with a grain of salt, and look for a consistent pattern of dissatisfaction, as opposed to one poor experience. Nevertheless, former employees are typically very honest about their experience, which can provide you with more insight about the company.
17 June 2016
As a financial services professional in today’s job market, you have to do more than sell your skills to get hired. As cultural fit becomes increasingly important, hiring managers are going to look beyond your technical acumen to evaluate the way you present your experience as well as your overall image—in other words, your personal brand. “While your resume is still very important, it’s really only part of the package, “says Mitchell Peskin, Partner and Executive Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “To set yourself apart from other candidates in this job market, you have to think big picture about your brand. While this may be a term that is more commonly used when referring to professionals in more creative roles, whether they know it or not, all financial services professionals have a personal brand that they’ve been building throughout their careers.” In sum, your personal brand is what makes you unique. It encompasses your skills, experience, career goals, and industry involvement. However, if you want it to help you land a job, you first need to understand just what it is you’re selling and how to present it. To do this, here are Mitchell’s 5 tips for success: Define your image: Defining your image is the most important part of this process. To do this, you must take some time to think about what you want to accomplish in your career, and how you can achieve these goals. To start, you can ask yourself the following questions: What do I do? How do I want to be identified? How am I already perceived? What do I want to be known for? This short activity can also help you identify your strengths, pinpoint areas you’d like to improve or gain more experience in, and establish a few short or long term goals—3 factors that can help guide your job search as well as any talking points for interviews. Be accurate and honest: When defining your image, it’s important to be honest about your background and job history. While it may be tempting to stretch the truth to make yourself stand out, doing so can ultimately do more harm than good. “If you want to be seen as a respected industry professional, your personal brand should be authentic,” cautions Mitchell. “This has become especially true as the financial services industry faces increased regulation. Compliance has become a major focus and your employer needs to be able to trust that you aren’t doing anything to discredit the organization.” That’s why any unethical approaches to landing an opportunity— like being dishonest about your experience or educational background—can cost you not only your job, but also your professional credibility in the long run. Be social savvy: If you use it correctly, social media can be a very useful branding tool. LinkedIn, for example, is an excellent starting point for financial services professionals. “Most hiring managers use LinkedIn to research or source prospective hires, so establishing a strong presence on this site is the best place to start,” advises Mitchell. “Once you master LinkedIn, there are a lot of other great platforms to utilize.” For instance, establishing a blog or becoming a contributor to a relevant industry publication may give likeminded professionals a glimpse of your personality, while helping establish yourself as a voice in your field. Be consistent: To successfully highlight your brand, you must be consistent in how you spread your message. This means that all forms of visual and verbal communication (your resume, social platforms/blog, how you present yourself on interviews, etc.) need to maintain a similar voice. “Financial service organizations require accuracy and strong attention to detail, so inconsistent messages in your personal branding can raise some major red flags,” warns Mitchell. “If something in your resume does not match something you have written on your LinkedIn profile, for example, the hiring manager could question your ability to do the job, or keep the organization compliant with federal regulations. As a result, something that may seem like a ‘little’ mistake could really hurt your job search.” Get involved: Attending industry events as a guest or speaker is another great way to develop your personal brand. On one hand, they allow you to meet and connect with likeminded professionals in your field, but on the other, help you stay abreast of industry trends and keep your skills up-to-date. Some professionals even take their industry involvement a step further by volunteering for a relevant charitable organization such as Hedge Funds Care. “Demonstrating an interest in your field outside of your job is one of the best ways to brand yourself as a thought leader,” says Mitchell. “Using your expertise to educate others or give back in some way can also help you expand your audience and connect with people you wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
15 June 2016
The Execu|Search Group is excited to unveil our latest eBook, Spotlight On The New Candidate: 6 Steps For Connecting With Top Talent In An Evolving Market! “In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that the job market is changing, “says Edward Fleischman, CEO of The Execu|Search Group. “Not only has hiring been on a steady incline across industries, but millennials now make up the largest share of the American workforce. This has ultimately given way to an entirely new type of candidate; one that can be more selective about the offers they take and the organizations they choose to work for.” With this new candidate profile in mind, many employers have asked us how they can improve their processes. To help these organizations ensure they have the talent they need to remain competitive, we have published this six-step guide for attracting and retaining talent in this new job market.
14 June 2016
Networking events can be stressful affairs, especially for those early in their career. However, it’s important to forge new connections as you progress throughout your career, and networking events are a key part of building your professional contacts. While it can be easy to get caught up in the size of your network, don’t make the mistake of overlooking the quality of your relationships. In the long run, this will certainly prove to be more important than quantity, but how can you focus on this when making small talk with strangers? To enter your next networking event with the confidence needed to have a quality conversation, here are five ways to prepare: Update your LinkedIn Your LinkedIn profile will be a key connection point for the people you meet. Not only will this be a destination after the event for those who want to stay in touch with you, but you’ll also want to be ready to link with new connections right after you meet them. As a result, you’ll want to make sure that your profile is up-to-date, including recent work, a professional photo, and key contact information. Print business cards While connecting on LinkedIn is a more modern way to stay in touch, exchanging business cards has always been a common practice. This is an efficient way to trade all the necessary information needed to contact each other, allowing you to continue the conversation at a later date, and move onto meeting other people. Be sure to include all contact details, as well as any relevant digital mediums that showcase your work, such as a social media profile or a website. Research attendees If you have access to the event page or a list of RSVPs, do some research on those planning to attend. By knowing which guests interest you ahead of time, you can be more strategic about whom you’ll approach when you see a myriad of new faces. Arrive early While you may think that arriving fashionably late will make you more comfortable, it’s more difficult to edge into a conversation once groups have been formed. As a result, try pushing yourself to get to the event on the earlier side. By taking this opportunity to strike up a conversation with other early birds, you’ll be more likely to have more personal, one-on-one interactions. This will also give you a chance to calm your nerves, allowing you to feel more confident once the event is underway. Have an open mind Many professionals early in their career are constantly told how important it is to networking is to landing a job or finding career advancement opportunities. However, industry veterans can spot desperation quickly. Always remember that networking is a two-way street. Try to keep your intentions in check, and focus on what you can offer other people instead of what you may be able to get out of them.
10 June 2016
Whether you realize it or not, your ability to be successful in the workplace is inextricably linked to how you communicate through email. In fact, knowing how to properly navigate the ins and outs of professional correspondence not only helps you stay up-to-date on projects and major initiatives, but can also reveal a lot about your communication skills in general. With the typical corporate user sending and receiving an average of 110 emails a day, there is a lot of room for error! To ensure you are communicating as effectively as possible, you’ll want to avoid these email habits that ultimately send the wrong message: Not prioritizing messages or organizing your inbox If you’ve ever found yourself unable to respond to emails as they arrive, you’re not alone. In fact, reacting to all incoming messages can distract even the most senior managers from their current responsibilities. However, failing to respond within an appropriate amount of time can be just as bad as letting important tasks fall to the way side. To ensure you can balance your incoming emails with your ongoing projects, keeping an organized inbox is key. To do this, first try designating some time each day to sort through and prioritize your emails. If you’re finding that important messages from your supervisor or key colleagues keep getting lost in the shuffle, it can also be helpful to have their emails auto-forwarded to a specific folder. This way, you’ll be able to quickly locate their messages and reply accordingly. Replying to all (or only one) Many professionals utilize the ‘cc’ function or a team alias when communicating with a group of colleagues. While these are great tools for providing important updates, asking questions, and ensuring everyone is on the same page, they can quickly becoming overwhelming if the thread goes off on a tangent. As a result, use “reply all” with caution, ensuring your response is important to the conversation at large. On the other hand, keeping the right people in the loop is integral to clear and effective communication. For example, replying to one person in an email chain about an important initiative can lead to a lot of confusion and miscommunication. Bottom line: if there are others who need to be privy to information or would be an asset to the conversation, include them. Abusing the caps lock function While the caps lock function can imply a sense of urgency, using this format in a professional setting can make you seem overly aggressive. Before you send an email with capitalized words or phrases, ask yourself if an email is truly the best way for you to get your point across. If you’re tempted to use all caps, chances are, your correspondence may be significant enough to warrant a phone call or meeting. Using email to negotiate deals or make important requests On a related note, email may not be the best forum for negotiations or important conversations related to your career. While digital messaging technology has certainly made it easier to connect with others, it also makes it easy for us to forget how certain verbal and nonverbal cues can affect how our messages are interpreted. That being said, it’s best to use your judgement when deciding whether to send an email request or to schedule an in-person meeting. For example, if you ask your supervisor for a more flexible work from home schedule over email, it can be easy for them to reply with a simple no. However, if you ask to meet in lieu of sending an email, you’ll have a better opportunity to fully explain the reasoning for your request. At the same time, your supervisor will be able to address any concerns or conditions they may have—hopefully increasing your chances of reaching a solution that works for the two of you. Bad grammar, sloppy abbreviations, and obvious typos In today’s digital age, you’re still expected to maintain a certain level of professionalism when communicating with colleagues, clients, and customers. While certain lapses of judgement – grammatical errors, typos, excessive punctuation, etc. – might not seem like the end of the world, they can certainly raise some red flags about your writing skills, level of professionalism, and attention to detail. As a result, you’ll want to ensure your emails are professional and to-the-point before pressing send. Watch out for any language, grammar, strange formatting, or emojis that could distract readers from your actual message.