You’re looking for a job. You’ve reached out to your contacts and sent out resumes for multiple roles, on various platforms including job portals and LinkedIn. But only a fraction of them have gotten back to you, and of the handful of interviews you’ve been called for, none of the companies have proceeded with an offer.
You wonder what you’re missing. Was it the way you handled the interview? Did it have something to do with your skills? Do you not have enough experience for the role? Or perhaps too much experience?
You’re constantly thinking about why you missed the mark, and how you could possibly do better.
If this scenario is familiar to you, Darren and Jennifer (not their real names) know how you feel because they’ve been in your shoes. Luckily, the one thing they both did to help them succeed in their job search was to reach out to IBF Careers Connect.
IBF Careers Connect is a career advisory service tailored to individuals like you in the financial services industry. In addition to providing valuable career resources to help you uncover your career interests, develop ways to upskill, and explore new opportunities, IBF Careers Connect also matches you to a career adviser, who provides personalised advice based on your unique circumstances.
So whether you’re looking to take on a new role or planning to make a career switch, here are four ways you can succeed in your job search by partnering with IBF Careers Connect:
1. Gain Professional Advice Tailored to Your Needs
Darren had been in retail banking for over 7 years before he left for personal reasons. And when he was ready to get back to work, he found that the process of finding a new job took longer than expected.
“What concerned me when I was trying to re-enter employment was that the market wasn’t doing well at the time, so recruitment was not very active,” he explains. “Since applying through direct channels was not working, I had to explore other options, cast my net wider. That’s when I bumped into IBF.”
When Darren approached IBF Careers Connect, he had a very clear objective—to tap on their knowledge and resources in the financial services industry. He had already sent out many job applications on his own, but wanted to know what else he could do to expand his opportunities and increase his chances of getting hired.
His career advisers gave him 1-on-1 coaching on how to fine-tune his interview skills, provided insightful advice on the blind spots in his job search, and taught him how to beef up his resume to better showcase his skills.
Jennifer, too, was assigned a career adviser, but she had different needs and concerns.
“My intention for reaching out to IBF Careers Connect was to find out more about jobs in the financial services industry, and what skills I would need to facilitate professional conversion,” she shares. Her career adviser recommended an executive workshop, “Taking Ownership for Career Success”, which Jennifer attended and found extremely useful to her job search.
As you can see, IBF’s career advisory services are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Career advisers will assess your individual needs before giving personalised insights, ensuring you receive relevant and useful information that gives you the best chance of succeeding in your job search.
2. Acquire Valuable Industy-Specific Insights
As someone who’s been in banking since 1993, Jennifer is personally aware of how quickly and drastically the industry has evolved over the years. Recognising the need to upskill and keep abreast of current hiring trends, she reached out to IBF Careers Connect to learn more about how she could future-proof her career.
“I’m concerned about staying employable. Every role is changing over time with new practices and technologies. The same role today will either require new skill sets tomorrow, or become obsolete.”
Jennifer is currently keen on exploring upskilling courses and intends to consult her career adviser again on what to take to enhance her employability.
And IBF’s specialised focus on the financial services industry places it in a unique position to help finance professionals with training opportunities, career roadmapping, and transitioning into new or expanded roles.
“It is a professional and specialised touchpoint for employees from the financial services industry who wish to stay in the industry,” she shares. “I found it comforting to know that the career advisers understand what you’re going through because they are from the industry as well.”
Darren concurs. “IBF’s exposure to what’s happening in the financial services industry overall gives them insights that I can rely on.”
If you’re keen to improve your job search by learning more about labour market trends, and understanding which roles and skills are most sought-after at the moment, IBF’s career advisers can give you industry-specific insights that are current, relevant, and big-picture.
3. Expand Your Opportunities with Fresh Prespectives
When Darren first restarted his job search, he only focused on roles related to his previous niche: wealth management in retail banking. But after working with his career advisers and realising that his applications were being met with a dead-end, Darren opened himself up to non-bank roles—and eventually found himself a promising opportunity in corporate sales at an insurance company.
Jennifer’s career adviser also gave her a balanced view of the roles she was applying for, pointing out areas where she may be lacking and giving her tips to help find her best fit. One key piece of advice she took was to be open to alternative employment arrangements, like part-time or contract roles, which could lead to a permanent full-time position down the road.
Career advisers are trained to help finance professionals uncover competencies and identify transferable skills, thus unlocking a wider variety of roles. And if you’re not sure of your career path, a career adviser can also help you—in certain cases, a personality test could be administered to help you better visualise your ideal career, potentially opening up new possibilities for employment.
But it’s important that you are first open to these new perspectives. career advisers can give suggestions, share tools, and offer advice, but ultimately, you are the one who has to take full ownership of your professional development journey.
4. Get Support from Training and Networking Events
It’s difficult to succeed when you don’t know where to start. That was how Jennifer felt when she first started her job search, but she is thankful now that she can touch base with her career adviser whenever she needs to seek clarifications or discuss training opportunities.
Reaching out to IBF Careers Connect also gives you access to resources in the form of workshops and networking events, so you can acquire new skills while expanding your contacts in the industry. There is the Professional Conversion Programme to help working professionals who wish to upskill or reskill for a role in the financial services industry, and even a Technology in Finance Immersion Programme (TFIP) that IBF has jointly developed with Workforce Singapore (WSG) to help finance professionals build competencies in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and Full Stack Development.
But while IBF uses the word “service” when referring to their career advisory offerings, the word is a bit of a misnomer—what IBF offers is more of a partnership. Both Darren and Jennifer admit in hindsight that they initially misunderstood what IBF Careers Connect was offering; for Darren, he was expecting direct referrals and assistance with relationship building, while Jennifer thought IBF was like a head-hunter firm that could conduct job-matching.
Both realised in the end that career advisers are there to provide valuable coaching and insight, not to do the work on the candidate’s behalf. Ultimately, it was their own initiative, hunger, and tenacity that landed Darren and Jennifer their roles.
“If you’re not self-motivated, nobody can help you. You could have ten career advisers and it still wouldn’t be of any use.”
If you are a finance professional who is looking for guidance in your job search, IBF’s career advisers are always ready to guide you on your career journey. Contact IBF Careers Connect and experience its service for yourself!
This article is part of a series of stories on PMETs who have gone through an upskilling or reskilling transformation journey within the financial services industry.