Rewind to the day you stepped into your post-graduate college in Finance:
You thought you would be a Research Analyst – making projections and evaluating balance sheets (or) a Wealth Advisor – delivering financial services, products and consultancy to affluent HNI clients.
Cut to the present: some years later, you’re in the banking or finance industry alright – but in a sales role, as a Branch Relationship manager or a Sales Manager in a Bank or NBFC .
You want to get back to your career goals, get your life back on track.
How do you make the shift from a Sales to core Finance role?
THE STARTING POINT – AUDIT
1. Industry/Market Audit:
A good point to start at while switching from sales to core finance roles – create a list of all the associated core finance roles that complement your current skill set.
For instance, if you are currently working as a Loan Sales Officer/Manager in a Bank or NBFC, for any of the retail loan products, the two complementary options would be :
- The retail credit function or
- RM – SME Lending.
Obviously, it is the credit function, which is more suitable for a finance professional.
Here’s a brief look at the various verticals and career options in BFS:
2. Skills Audit:
Once you jot down all the possible options – the next step is to figure out what skills you need to showcase, to move to that role. After all, if you just show your retail sales experience, why would anyone consider you, for a Credit Analyst role?
The most efficient way to go about it is LinkedIn. Access the profile of anyone who is working in the role that you’re aspiring to join in and do a skills comparison.
3. Financial Audit:
The other important point is, to do a self audit of your financial health. If you’re at a pay grade that would mean taking a short term pay cut while switching careers – do it. Most people just look at the next pay hike. But you need to consider, from a long term perspective, that this is a career you would like doing.
So, if you need to take a pay cut for the first move, understand if you’ve enough savings to do so. For example, if you have a loan EMI repayment, then your savings should be able to make up any shortfall.
SECOND POINT – UPGRADE
1. Skills Upgrade:
The best way to go about this, is by taking a short or long-term course, depending on the amount of time at hand and how deep your pockets are.. As you’re working, look for a good online course. It must carry a certification.
Remember – these certifications should fulfill certain criteria: (i) should be an industry recognized certification that will help your CV stand out (ii) should not just be an easy-pass exam; it should offer enough knowledge, to prepare you for the interviews, with practical expertise. Look for those which are developed by Industry practitioners.
Confused on how to choose the best certification program? Read this Article
2. Tailor your CV:
Tailor your CV to highlight the needs of the role you’re aspiring to join, in terms of skills and experience. Remember the LinkedIn profile audit you did? Well, highlight those points, and certifications, to show that you are ready for your career switch.
To have a good shot at a core Finance role, an advanced knowledge of Excel is a MUST. So make sure, you upgrade your Excel skills, with the finance functions you will need to use.
Time just flies past with the daily work routine. So set yourself a calendar – the Audit by say one week, the certification in about 1 month, in parallel work on the roles and companies you can apply to. Then in about 6-7 weeks, you must be ready for Operation Career Boost!
- Spend time on understanding the possible career paths which will still build on your experience, and to which you can move to relatively easily.
- Ensure you get the required knowledge and certification on your CV, to showcase your preparedness for the role.
- Add on a good knowledge of Excel for Finance.
Your future career is in your hands . Be completely prepared, before you send that first application. A half-hearted approach will mean you end up losing good opportunities in switching from sales to core finance career!