Admit it: You were that rare kid who, rather than babble on about becoming an astronaut or firefighter or veterinarian, confidently told all who’d listen that you couldn’t wait to work in the banking industry.
Even your teachers raised eyebrows at that one.
But now you’re older, and your dreams are within reach. You’re feeling your way up the lower rungs of the financial industry, ready to make your mark. What should you do to ensure your drive to succeed isn’t waylaid?
Start with these six strategies, each appropriate for early- to mid-career finance professionals.
- Go Back to School (If You Can Bear It)
No one wants to hear that they must go back to school to advance their career. Fortunately, the prospect isn’t as painful as many assume. Thanks to the online learning renaissance, it’s easier than ever to get a quality online MBA on your own schedule, perhaps in as little as 18 to 24 months.
- Find a Headhunter Who Knows Your Industry
If that big promotion isn’t forthcoming, consider broadening your aperture and finding a headhunter with connections throughout the industry. C-level executives, like the CFO of NexBank, trod this path often, with great success.
- Become a Fixture at Industry Conferences
Visibility is the lifeblood of thought leadership, which in turn is the lifeblood of upward mobility. Even if you have to pay your own way occasionally, make time for industry conferences, especially those related to your area of expertise. The more face time you’re able to put in at conferences, the more likely potential employers are to remember your name.
- Get More Active on LinkedIn
Start by connecting with lateral and higher-ranking peers on LinkedIn. Then, get in the habit of publishing at least one high-quality piece of content each week, ideally treating topics you see frequently in your day-to-day.
- Contribute to Your Employer’s Blog
Keep the content parade going with regular contributions to your employer’s blog. You may need to volunteer for this gig, and you probably can’t be too overtly self-promotional, but remember — right now, it’s all about visibility.
- Never Stop Networking
Your network never takes a day off. Why should you?
Every moment you find yourself in a room with another finance professional is a moment made for networking. Don’t let it go to waste.
You Are Client #1
Wherever your finance career takes you, remember one thing well: You are your most important client.
Sure, your training tells you to always put your actual clients first. And that’s great advice to follow if you’re serious about making your way in a competitive industry like banking and finance.
But you’re not going to reach your true potential if you constantly sublimate your own ambitions to the will of others. Mentors and true friends aside, most “others” simply don’t care that much if you succeed or fail. You need to stand up and advocate for yourself, come what may.
You have it within you to reach the top of the financial industry’s heap, as long as you’re willing to do what it takes to get there.