Moving onwards and upwards in your career

November 30th 2016 | Posted by phil scott

Moving onwards and upwards in your career

Interest in your current job can cool, along with the temperature, during winter months. January is regularly the most popular time of the year for employees to seek out new challenges and change employment.

Whatever the reason for choosing to move on, whether it’s to climb the ladder, refresh your scenery or take aim at new goals, it pays to prepare for a move to ensure you get your pick of opportunities.

Market yourself

As with your organisation’s products and services, marketing yourself is important. That includes formulating a clear message and putting it in front of the right people.

No matter how the job market has evolved over the years, the CV remains the most efficient method of succinctly communicating your skills, qualifications and experience. It could be the first and only chance you get to impress a potential new boss, so it’s crucial that yours has impact.

For example, your work history should be more than just a list of what jobs you had, and when. Sure, the companies you worked for and the job titles held may carry a certain cache, but you’ll need additional detail to really sell yourself.

Go beyond saying you ‘took responsibility for the finance function’ and described your main achievements. Did you improve turnover? Save the company from administration? Help break into a new market?

Listing your successes and contributions will give your work history credibility and rowse the reader’s interest.

For more CV writing advice, see FD Recruit’s online guide 

Brush up on your skills sets

Today’s Finance Directors and CFOs are more than mathematicians. Playing a crucial role in the decision making and earning a place on a company’s board takes a broad range of skills sets.

When FD Recruit surveyed current FDs, CFOs, MDs and chief executives, communication and leadership ranked very highly as desirable skills. To be able to make smart decisions, you need to be able to understand the inner workings of your organisation. That requires employees at every level having the confidence to share information with you. And to be truly influential, your peers have to trust in your decisions.

You can find more of the survey results here

Fluency with numbers is obviously essential, but also ensure these additional skills are included on your CV and talked about during your interview. If you’re not confident in these skills, it may be worth spending some time working on yourself, either by asking your CEO for a more active role in more areas, or taking courses, as an investment towards a future promotion.

Read our leadership tips here

Consider other options

A full-time role within an organisation is the obvious first choice for most FDs, but if you’re dissatisfied with your career it may be time to consider other options, such as work in an interim position or as portfolio FD.

These aren’t just ‘FD lite’ roles, but can be exceptionally valuable to organisations.

Interim roles, for example, are perfect for the FD with a particular specialism. That may be preparing a business for a sale, turning around flagging fortunes, or could just be bridging the gap between permanent FDs. If there’s one particular aspect of the FD role you enjoy above all others, this may be the chance to concentrate on what you love, with the added challenge of parachuting into a business and learning the ropes in a very short space of time.

Learn more about Interim FD roles here

Part-time FD roles are beneficial to organisations that require the expertise of a seasoned FD but don’t currently have the budget for a full-time appointment. If you like making a difference, have the capacity to juggle multiple projects and want to break away from sitting at the same desk, working on the same project day after day, then a part-time, portfolio FD’s role could give your career the injection of energy it needs.

Find out more about part-time FD roles here

Negotiate for the deal you want

Changing jobs is like any other project, it needs realistic, measurable outcomes to be successful. In this case, it’s useful to define in advance the role you’re looking for, including remuneration, benefits and career progression opportunities.

The headline salary always attracts attention, but there’s more to consider. We surveyed current FDs and CFOs and among the preferred incentives were performance-related bonuses, annual leave, flexible working hours and the ability to work from home.

A sound understanding of your own demands and how they compare to industry averages will improve your chances of a successful search, as well as giving you more power at the negotiating table.

Click here to read the results of our most recent annual salary survey

And if you’re thinking of making a move in the new year, whether your mind is made or you’re simply exploring your options, get in touch and we can help you explore the market to find the perfect role for you and your career goals.