A Mid-Career Switch Into The Financial Advisory Industry
It happens all the time, you’ve been working in the same industry for over a decade and now you want out. Perhaps when you were younger, it was all new and exciting. You were full of energy when meeting new people, and learning new things, and you got a lot of recognition for your efforts in your brand-new job.
But now, now you’re feeling different. The things that used to keep you going are starting to look bleak, you’re unenthusiastic and the thought of spending the next 10 years or so doing the exact same thing and staying in the exact same job, makes you feel a bit sick.
Mid-career professionals, like yourself, are increasingly opting for part-time financial advisor roles for several reasons. This includes a desire for professional growth, concerns about job security, strategic retirement planning, the appeal of work-life balance, leveraging experience, and addressing pension gaps.
This trend, particularly among PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians), signifies a deliberate and strategic approach to career choices.
Whether it be pursuing a hobby or opening a café, you’ll be able to confidently reach for these goals knowing full well that you will still have income coming in.
But before you take that leap and hand in your resignation, there are some important areas of consideration that you should take into account first.
1. What Are Your Aspirations?
At this no-longer youthful age, you have to have a strong reason to make this switch. There’s too much on the line to just simply say “I’m curious to see how it goes.”
Try having conversations with your network of friends that are in the industry you want to join and the current one you are in. When you’ve been in an industry for over a decade, it’s quite easy to lose sight of possible opportunities that are right in front of you. Talking to people on both sides can give you insights into your current and targeted industry before making any rash decisions. And if you do decide to switch, these conversations can help guide you on the best course of action.
2. Is There A Job Lined Up For You?
Job seeking in an industry you are familiar with is a lot easier than job seeking in an industry you are new to. Unless you are from a similar industry with transferable skills that are attractive to employers in the new industry, it’s unlikely that you’ll have an advantage over fresh graduates who are also applying but have relevant skill sets. It’s important to be realistic when looking for a position in a new field. You might feel confident with your work experience and feel over-qualified for entry-level jobs but under-qualified for mid-management roles. Although it is possible to utilize your working experience and skills when making a mid-career switch, you have to be careful with the choices of roles you are applying for. Choose positions that are general in nature, this gives you a higher chance of successfully entering the new industry.
3. Are You Financially Able To Commit To The Switch?
Unfortunately, a switch this late in life is probably going to significantly affect your finances. Even if you do find a job before you resign, your new salary is likely to be lower than what you were making in your previous job. And if you aren’t able to secure a job before resigning, you need to think long and hard about how long your savings can keep you afloat.
Besides your savings, you will also need to review your monthly spending to make sure you are able to adapt to this change without causing too much stress on yourself financially and the people you are responsible for. If you will need to pay for exams for the necessary qualifications to make the switch, ensure you are financially able to do so before making any commitments.
The worst thing that can happen is that you run out of money before you can finish what you started.
4. What Does My Action Plan Look Like?
If you do resign before securing a job, what are you planning to do in the meantime? It’s important to stay mentally (and physically) active so you are always on top of your game.
This means that you need to make the most out of the time you are spending at work, ensuring that these few weeks or months are spent meaningfully. Maybe help a friend with their small business or even start one of your own! Besides that, you could also use this time to upgrade yourself with online courses so that you are better prepared for that new role in the future.
The main point is that you spend your out-of-work time wisely and not waste it away. Keep yourself active and productive as this is a good sign for your future potential employers to identify that you are a person that knows what they want and is someone that is capable of achieving their goals.
So, make sure you have an action plan set in place before you make any big decisions. As it’s often said, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
You’ve Decided To Make The Switch, Now What?
Making the transition to a financial advisory career after spending years in another industry might be exciting for some but scary to others. The financial industry can pose greater challenges but also potential compensation improvements, among other benefits.
Now that you’ve made the decision to switch, how are you going to go about it in the best way possible? There’s technically no right or wrong way to do this, but here are some tips that can make your transition as smooth as possible.
Look Into Your Personality And Skills Assessment
A financial advisory career requires a good amount of professional skills, basic knowledge of finance and accounting, and proficiency with computers and various software programs like Excel are among them.
People who have successfully made the switch also have certain non-finance skills, like good communication skills, interpersonal skills, a passion for problem-solving, and the ability to comfortably process numbers and details. To make sure that a financial advisory career is appropriate for you, a helpful first step is to assess your skillsets and personality traits.
You can do this by taking an online career assessment test or even getting in touch with your former education provider’s career services office. You could even seek the help of a professional career consultant that will give you some valuable insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits.
Whatever you decide to do, all that matters is that you achieve a better understanding of yourself and your skills and if you are suited for a financial advisory career.
Do Your Research
Learn as much about financial advisory as possible, one of the best ways to do this is by talking to someone who has a successful career in it. These informational interviews can help you be familiar with the options that are available to you, with your current experience and skills.
One way to find a financial advisor to talk to, if you don’t already know one, is by asking around within your existing professional and social networks. Platforms such as LinkedIn can also help you connect with people in the field or find mutual connections that are.
Most people love talking about their professions and helping those who are looking to pursue the same path, so you don’t have to be shy. Some other ways you could obtain an informational interview with people in the field could include becoming a member of a career-specific organization, networking through your alumni association, or attending a business networking meeting. Networking is especially important when it comes to getting useful information or advice, the more people you talk to, the better informed you’ll be when it comes to making critical decisions for your career.
Before heading into any informational interviews, it would be wise to do as much of your own research as possible. This is to ensure that you come off as professional and serious to the professionals you are asking to lend their time to you so that they won’t feel that they are wasting their time. When it comes to research, the internet is your best friend. A little hard work goes a long way with respect to credibility. Who knows? If you play your cards right and conduct an impressive informational interview, you might even get a job offer!
Another important thing you should take into account is creating a professional resume that highlights your relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities. There are also plenty of online resources that can help you achieve this, always be ready with your resume in case an employer might ask for it.
Look For Help From Employment Assistance Programmes
The financial industry in Singapore is always evolving. Due to digital disruption, the way the financial sector functions will be significantly augmented by technology and automation.
Though some jobs will become obsolete, new jobs will take their place. That being said, the labor market is still facing a skills gap in regard to fitting the right candidate into jobs that require skills to match a new digital economy.
The IBF’s Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) is a government-backed scheme that was established to aid mid-career PMETs to upgrade their skills to fit new or emerging job functions while supporting the employers that hire them.
In some cases, job seekers have been matched with appropriate career advisers using the help of IBF’s Careers Connect. IBF career advisers can help broaden your opportunities by submitting your resume to more companies. The idea is to identify programs that enhance your employability, then uncover competencies and skills in line with the current labor market trends then finally connect them with other financial institutions.
Reinvent To Give Yourself An Advantage In Today’s Business
As a mid-career switcher, it might have been quite a while since you last updated your resume or even attended a job interview. The time it takes to look for a job and the constant rejection that comes with it might leave you feeling outdated and obsolete.
That is why seeking out the help and encouragement of career advisers, practicing your resume writing skills, and attending relevant workshops are all so important for you to learn valuable new tips on how to promote your unique skills and experience the prospective employers in today’s competitive job market. Certain career workshops can also give you the opportunity to network and meet others who are in the same situation as you, allowing you to speak to others who can empathize with your struggles.
Be Hungry To Learn While Staying Humble
For most, it can quickly become evident that the key to success in changing industries is not due to knowing everything immediately, but rather it’s the willingness and hunger to learn and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Most industries nowadays are in the process of moving into the digital age in order to increase efficiency, making digital platforms a common workplace. Being open to learning new skills and seeking help from colleagues is the key to succeeding in a career switch. Although most jobs don’t outright ask for digital skills, it is mostly an unspoken requirement that would definitely give you an advantage against other candidates who don’t.
Stay humble and don’t stop learning. Change is inevitable, so constant upskilling and a learning mindset will be your greatest assets to ride the wave of change and achieve lifelong employability.
Always Remember That Patience And Perseverance Do Pay Off
Don’t get discouraged if your efforts are not immediately met with results. Keep networking, keep conducting informational interviews, and apply for as many relevant positions as possible. Always be open to any feedback that people are willing to give you, it might help you more than you think.
How Can I Become A Financial Advisor Without Any Experience?
Getting into this field without any experience is quite possible and many have done so before. The key is to ensure that your skill set matches what is required for the job. You will need to have an understanding of finance, economics, business, and accounting, so any gaps you may have regarding this knowledge should be filled. Acquire all relevant certifications or attend financial boot camps, these can boost your chances of getting recognized by people in the industry. From here on out, you will need to identify the specific role you want to play as a financial advisor and become very familiar with it, and continue to network to seek out potential job openings.
Congratulations, You’re Hired!
Once you’ve found the job you’re looking for, the journey is only just starting. Even after you have been hired, you must continue to work hard, stay proactive, and engage in appropriate networking activities. It could also be a good choice to look for a mentor to help guide you through the ups and downs of your new career, It’s always helpful to have a knowledgeable person to offer pointers when you get stuck in difficult situations. The process of transitioning into a completely new industry during the middle of your life can be exciting to some but incredibly scary to others, but for both, it’s completely possible. Just be careful to do the right research utilize your energy in the right places, and always remember to be patient.
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