As a Big 4 professional you have a sought after profile, and you’re bombarded with LinkedIn messages inviting you to have a look at new and “exciting” job opportunities. With all this attention, it can be at times confusing to actually step out of the Big 4 world and start looking for where to pursue your career.
Julien Chenoy, recruitment consultant and former Big 4 auditor, gives four tips you should follow when targeting your next career move.
1. Analyse which skills you would like to use
During your Big 4 journey, you will have certainly developed a range of hard skills such as a good systems knowledge and the ability to interpret financial statements and perform analytical procedures. You will also have gained a lot of soft skills such as communication, adaptability, problem solving, collaboration and critical observation.
“Before starting your job search, picture which skill sets you see yourself using. Do you like to analyse data? Do you prefer to work in a team or independently? Is communication with external collaborators important for you on a daily basis? If you can answer those questions, you will have a better idea of which type of job you would like to have,” says Chenoy.
2. Seek guidance
“After a few months of attempting to decode job adverts on my own, I contacted a recruitment agency. Not only did my consultant regularly send me jobs which better matched my profile, he also helped me figure out what kind of career I was actually interested in. It was time-saving and really helped take the pressure off. ”
Job hunting can be intimidating and you are bound to ask yourself a lot of questions. “Where should you begin?” “Which field/industry should you look for?” “Which kind of roles complement your capabilities?” Recruitment consultancies can be a great way for you to start your job search. Specialised consultants will listen to your career expectations and help steer you in the right direction, all the while sending you job opportunities which match your profile.
Chenoy: “Don’t forget to also work your network and ask your peers and senior managers for advice. Chances are some of them have ventured on exactly the same path and could advise you on how to proceed. More experienced professionals have naturally acquired more knowledge throughout the years and could give you some insight on what a particular field or industry is like.”
3. Look beyond job requirements
Some job adverts can be daunting and contain a whole list of requirements regarding the necessary skills, qualifications and experience. “Working in a recruitment firm, I have learned that job descriptions can be loosely interpreted. Most employers are flexible and their expectations are not set in stone,” says Chenoy. “If a job truly interests you, don’t be dissuaded from applying just because you do not have enough years of experience or all the right degrees. Employers could for example be open to taking on a more junior profile if they feel that he or she is hardworking and would be a better fit with the company.”
4. Don’t be afraid to branch out of finance
Having graduated with a financial degree and jumped on-board the Big 4 wagon following your studies, it is tempting to assume that you belong in the world of finance. But having started off in finance does not necessarily mean that you have to stay in finance.
“A Big 4 experience is a great way to be exposed to various industries and aspects of a business in a short amount of time. So don’t be afraid to think about what you truly want to do and make a career move out of finance,” advises Julien. “Whether you decide to pursue a career in recruitment, marketing, HR, or any other field, remember that your Big 4 background has provided you with a desirable training which is sought after by most employers. The options at your fingertips are unlimited,” concludes Julien.
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