First-hand career transition experience - Chartered Accountant to Career Coach
My working life began in Chartered Accounting and I will never regret this choice. Accounting and auditing provided a solid professional and business foundation and tools for life, but left me searching for something more. While I enjoyed getting to know my clients, the first question myself and my team would invariably be asked at the start of an audit was when our last day would be. So, after spending some time in Asset Management and Investment Banking, I decided it was time to try something more people orientated.
I decided that recruitment might provide this people focus and secured a role leaning on my Accounting and Finance background. Recruitment confirmed that helping people gave me a buzz. What satisfied me most was helping my candidates with their career decisions and seeing them working in the right role for their long term career. This meant I spent more time with candidates (determining their goals and values) and was less focused on placements and fees. Recruitment ultimately helped confirm that Career Management was more in line with my values and was the stepping stone to where I am today.
People often look at my career and say, “Wow that was a big change – Chartered Accountant to Career Coach!”. But changes don’t have to happen in one move. My experience as a Chartered Accountant helped me secure a recruiting role in that industry.
As long as a transition isn’t at a right angle to the previous role, it can be smooth.
In order to make any kind of career transition, it is essential to understand yourself, particularly:
- What you would like to accomplish in your life (Life goals)
- What you most want in a career (Career values)
- the one thing that a career must have in order for you to find that option satisfying (Career Anchor)
- Skills you are good at and enjoy (Motivated skills)
Once you have nailed these 4 areas, it makes it a lot easier to consider options.
It is also important to assess your motivated skills to determine whether they are transferrable. Common transferrable skills include:
- Analysis: Ability to assess a set of data and draw important insights
- Communication: Ability to write and speak clearly and persuasively
- Selling: Ability to negotiate, and close a deal?
- Judgment: Knowing how to make decisions and take appropriate risks
- Problem-solving: Skill at assessing a business problem and creating a plan
- Leadership: Mobilising a team to accomplish a meaningful goal?
So many of us wait until we need to secure a new role and then start to make the necessary preparations. This is something that we need to be doing constantly so that when we want to move, we are ready to implement all the steps. Networking and passively looking at roles should be happening all the time and your resume should always be up to date.
A useful way to consider a move is to look at people who are working in the role you are striving to secure. If you analyse their backgrounds, you will get a good feel for what works in terms of education or competencies and how many steps it will take to reach your goal. If you are too far removed from your goal, you could volunteer to acquire the competencies you are lacking and therefore bring yourself closer.
Having worked as a Career Coach for nearly ten years, I still love the work. It is different every time I meet with someone and the techniques and sector are constantly evolving to provide learning and exciting challenges. I don’t experience the, “Sunday blues” and I look forward to work. You too can make this discovery.
Karen is a Founding FlexCoach and a Career, Business and Middle Manager Coach located in Sydney. Karen is a qualified Chartered Accountant (qualified in South Africa and Australia) and expert Career Manager with 9 years' experience coaching over 1000 students and clients. Having worked in Cape Town, San Francisco, London and Sydney in professional services, investment banking, asset management, recruitment (14 years in Australia) and coaching, she has a diverse background and good understanding of different cultures. She have coached people from more than 30 different countries.
Connect with Karen by viewing her profile.