30 August 2016
This past August, the results of the CFA exam were published, and surprisingly, only 54% of test takers passed. If you happened to be part of the percentage of people who weren’t successful this time around, use this as an opportunity to fine tune your study habits and remind yourself of what you’re working towards. While it’s no secret that the CFA is considered to be one of the most challenging certification processes in the industry, this designation can be essential for long-term success in financial services. Mitchell Peskin, Partner and Executive Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division, has witnessed firsthand the increased demand from employers in search of professionals who possess the CFA designation. “Securing the CFA designation is one of the best decisions you can make for your long-term career goals as a finance professional,” says Mitch. “These three letters have the potential to enhance your professional marketability and shows that you hold yourself to the highest industry standards.” Whether you’re considering pursuing an advanced certification or looking for a way to stand out in a competitive market, here are 3 reasons why you should stay on the CFA track: The CFA is consistently growing in popularity Did you know that more people registered to take the three levels of the CFA exam this past June than ever before? Moreover, there was an 8.5% increase in registrations this year compared to June 2015. With strong recent gains in job creation in the financial services sector and a positive employment outlook for business and financial occupations, advanced certifications will be a key differentiator amongst finance professionals. This growth in registrations is representative of an increase in demand from employers that want finance professionals who possess a strong investment education rooted in ethics. “If you thrive in the analytical and quantitative aspects of financial management and you’re interested in pursuing a career in investment management, I encourage job seekers to make it a personal goal to pass all three levels of the CFA exam,” advises Mitch. The earlier you’re able to start the process of acquiring this designation, the sooner you will be able to position yourself as an expert in your chosen field, which could lead to greater flexibility in your job prospects. Acquiring a CFA is a more cost-effective alternative As a finance professional looking to take the next step in your career, you have an important decision to make: should you go back to school to get your Master’s degree/MBA, or should you pursue a particular advanced certification? While completing an MBA is an excellent accomplishment that adds breadth to your resume and typically leads to higher-paying jobs, the CFA certification can be acquired at a substantially lower cost in the long-run. “Since it’s impossible to claim that one is better for your career than the other, you ultimately want to make sure you are spending your time, money, and energy in the most efficient way possible,” says Mitch. For example, the cost attending a top-tier MBA program for at least 2 years can reach sizable amounts, while the CFA can cost far less. In the end, if you are trying to take the next step in your career and want to be cost conscious, the CFA provides a great return on investment. You’ll hone key soft skills you can emphasize during interviews Since the CFA exam can typically extend over a 3-year period, committing yourself to all three levels of the exam will speak to a number of transferable soft skills you possess. “Studying for the CFA is almost the equivalent to committing to a full-time job,” says Mitch. “By exercising enough self-discipline to study for at least 300 hours and enduring all three exams, you can highlight key skills such as time management and follow through.” Not only will your accomplishment demonstrate these sought-after skills, attaining your CFA will undoubtedly speak to your level of dedication to your career since you may likely had to make some sacrifices to reach your goal.
30 August 2016
During your career, life may throw you a curve ball or two that may necessitate you taking an extended leave of absence from your job. Regardless of the reason for your temporary departure, the time away from work can be some of the most important and impactful of your life. The one potential downside though? Coming back from an extended break can be challenging. And while you may be the kind of person who is itching to get back into the workforce, it’s also understandable that you may struggle to get back into a work mindset when you haven’t been in that kind of environment for what could be a month to an entire year. While getting back into the swing of things at work can be challenging, you can avoid that challenge by preparing for your return in advance. Here are four ways to get ready for your return to work: Ensure that colleagues can contact you This is your designated time off, however, emergencies can arise during that time. Should a crisis of some sort come up during your absence, you’ll want your colleagues and supervisor to be able to reach you if they need to. Before you go, send an email to all of the members on your team giving them the best way to contact you if needed. Be clear that they should only contact you in case of emergencies, but ensure that you’ll be able to talk them through any issue should the need arise. Plan your return time before you leave Regardless of the circumstances, taking a break from work can ultimately be the best thing for you on a personal level. However, getting back into that mindset can prove to be challenging. Before your leave of absence starts, you will want to have a time in mind for you to start thinking about work again. As you look at your scheduled time off, designate a week where you will start to think about your job and responsibilities. By giving yourself a set date to begin thinking about work again, you’ll be able to dedicate all of your focus and energy into what you need to do during your time off. Maintain contact with your supervisor Depending on how long your leave of absence is, you’ll want to check in with your supervisor periodically. A lot can change within the span of a long-term absence, and the last thing you want to do when you come back is have no idea what’s going on. While you’re gone from the office, be sure to send your supervisor an email to ask how they and the team are doing in your absence. While there’s no need to offer help during your designated time off, it is a good idea to catch up with them to see what is happening while you’re away. Anticipate change with your role If you’re gone for three months or more, there is a very real possibility that the responsibilities you had before your leave may change or shift to another team member. Before your leave, make peace with the notion that you may be coming back to new duties and expectations. As you maintain contact with your supervisor and colleagues, ask them how the responsibilities you normally handle are being taken care of. This could be an opportunity for them to ask you how you would approach something they are unsure of how to handle. It’s also a great opportunity for you to stay current with what’s going on while you’re away.