What are your career objectives for the next 12 months? Not thought about it? You should, one expert advises.
With 2019 just around the corner, for many treasurers it is time to evaluate how their career is going. For some, it may not be moving quite as well as hoped. There are ways of getting it back on track. Treasurers who invest time in developing their own realistic and robust career plans are increasing their chances of success, says Laura White, Operations Director at The Treasury Recruitment Company.
Indeed, she notes, “investing in your treasury career can increase opportunities for greater job satisfaction, new career openings, enhanced self-development, greater sense of fulfilment, and higher earning potential”.
Here are her five steps to achieving greater career advancement:
Think about where you ultimately want to be. What is your goal? You should consider this in manageable, bite-sized chunks, looking at perhaps three to five, or even eight years from now. You need to be specific though. What job title do you want? What do you want your key responsibilities to be? What size and type of company do you want to be working for?
Having defined your goal, you need to contemplate how you are going to get there. Consider what ‘stepping stone’ roles will enable you to achieve your goal. LinkedIn can provide insight into the backgrounds of people in similar, aspirational roles. What career choices did they make? How long did they remain in each role before they moved on?
You must also map your own achievements, and understand your strengths and weaknesses, work out what is holding you back from achieving your goal. Do you need to expand your experience further in a specific area? Do you need additional training? A regular review of your progress is useful, modifying your plan where necessary, perhaps adding new stages or changing the timeframes to fit your progress.
The importance of formal qualifications within treasury cannot be underestimated. Treasurers must also attend to continuous learning; training courses focused on specific skills are a valuable resource. However, consider too the concept of ‘renewable learning’ – ongoing or in-the-moment learning derived from peer-based knowledge, relevant articles or blogs, podcasts or even YouTube. This can offer immediate knowledge to assist with a given task or problem, yet avoiding the cost and time usually associated with formal training.
Build and protect
Your ‘personal brand’ – your reputation – takes years of dedication and hard work to build and can be destroyed in seconds. Online, those with a LinkedIn profile, Facebook or Twitter accounts, are ways of revealing aspects of your personality and defining your ‘brand’ and should be used carefully.
Your ‘offline brand’ is you in your workplace – at networking events or during speaking engagements, for example. It is how you interact with colleagues, peers and bosses, and how you present yourself to those around you, and how you are perceived by your audience.
On or offline, your personal brand needs to be authentic, portraying the real you. Identify what sets you apart from the competition – and promote it. But be consistent in your behaviours, values, language and your identity across platforms. This allows people to get to know, and have confidence in you.
Consider professional coaching and mentoring. A recent study of Fortune 500 CEOs showed that 75% believe mentoring or coaching to be one of the top three critical factors for their career success. Of the FSE100 CEOs, 80% claim to have benefitted from investing in a mentor or coach.
Generally, coaching is short-term and task oriented, focusing on specific areas of development. For example, this could be improving negotiation skills, thinking more strategically, or managing more effectively. Mentoring tends to be longer-term and more relationship oriented. It is often used, for example, to achieve a better work/life balance, build self-confidence or improve your self-perception.
Mentors or coaches are not just for the beginning of a career; they can also guide more experienced professionals. In the middle phases, they can help you refine skills, expand networks and stay on track with your career plan. In the latter stages, they can provide often much-needed fresh perspectives.
Do not underestimate the power of networking and growing your connections. Recognise that your investment in relationships, both professional and personal, often pays you back.
A key networking skill is the ‘elevator pitch’. When you are asked “what do you do?”, be ready with a shortened introduction of yourself and what value you offer. Fail to master your pitch and you will lose attention rapidly; the impact on your personal brand and reputation could be hugely detrimental.
Practice how to explain clearly what you do now, and how you can add value to the person you are talking to. Think about why they would want you as part of their professional network, what your differentiator is and what makes you stand out. Be sure to find a balance between under- and over-selling yourself. Ask questions but remember: it is vital to listen attentively.