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"How to pivot in the middle of your financial services career"

Career paths often deviate from a straightforward trajectory, with many professionals not following a direct route from intern to executive levels. In banking the career trajectory often goes from intern, to analyst, associate, vice president, to director and - if you're lucky -  managing director, and C Suite. 

Some individuals start their careers with immense passion for their work, only to experience a change of heart about their chosen path. Such shifts are not uncommon, given that career journeys often resemble winding roads, particularly during the mid-level stages. If you find yourself at this juncture in your journey, I aim to offer guidance on successfully navigating a mid-career pivot with four strategic approaches.

Identify Transferable Skills

For mid-career professionals, identifying transferable skills is crucial for unlocking diverse opportunities. In banking, skills such as adaptability, problem-solving, collaboration, coding, communication, innovation, and leadership transcend roles. These versatile abilities find relevance in product management, engineering, customer success, investment banking, private equity, and tech sectors. 

Take ownership of recognizing your unique strengths and deploying them effectively. My early experience in financial services encompassed capital market sales, corporate finance, and risk. Observing the industry's technological evolution, I honed skills in innovation and product management. 

Professional skills resemble a toolbox; while possessing essential tools, occasional reskilling, akin to acquiring a measuring tape, enhances deployment precision and propels career progression.

Reskill and Endlessly Educate Yourself

For mid-career professionals, continual upskilling is vital for personal growth. Technology reshapes financial services, industries evolve, and consumer preferences shift, demanding adaptability. Upskilling entails relevant training, advanced education, and collaborative learning. In banking, Generative AI, Cloud Technologies, Machine Learning, and Data & Analytics are ubiquitous. 

Create a Strategic Resume

When you've identified transferable skills and areas for reskilling, you can create a targeted resume. Tailor each resume to match the job description, highlighting relevant aspects for the new career path. Emphasize key skills, accomplishments, and qualifications in the job summary. Incorporate industry-specific keywords strategically to improve visibility in applicant tracking systems. Additionally, showcase any certifications and advanced degrees earned through reskilling, demonstrating commitment to continuous learning and professional growth. 

In my own transition from banking to Fintech, I acquired certifications and completed an Executive MBA from NYU Stern School of Business, focusing on Analytics, Strategy, and Leadership making it easier to make the shift.

Network, Network, Network

Professionals must consistently network while progressing through initial steps of a career pivot. Establishing connections across financial services lays a solid foundation for relationships and potential opportunities. Target roles closely aligned with aspirations. Clear alignment with career transition goals avoids confusion for recruiters. I prioritize monthly coffee discussions with industry leaders to glean insights and explore potential collaborations. Transitioning careers requires strategic planning and proactive networking to ensure success.

Matthew C. Meade is a Financial Services Executive with several years of experience working with Fortune 100 companies in the Tri-State area. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Management from the University of Virginia and his Executive MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business with a concentration in data analytics, strategy and leadership.

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