Why are candidates short-sighted when it comes to their career?

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13 Jul 2018

Career path

When a candidate takes a re-active approach to their career there is a potential risk to not achieving their ultimate career goal.

My questions is - why are candidates so short-sighted when it comes to their careers and planning for the future?

More often than not it leads to poor (often rushed) career decisions that impacts them in the short term as the firm isn't the right fit, made a jump too high or they simply aren't enjoying the work. This can have consequences in with long term career progression.

We tend to see quick career progression in large firms as the career paths are often clearly laid out for each individual. This is driven by the firm in an attempt to retain talent, keep teams together and increase revenue.

Thus creating the perfect environment to become too comfortable and settled in a firm without the inclination to look elsewhere. With the next promotion and pay rise on the horizon, it is easy to see why you wouldn’t want to consider a move away from a firm.

The common situation I come across is once someone reaches a road block and they ask themselves the question of “where do I go now?”

They have become institutionalised as the firm is the only thing they have known since qualification. Therefore, have little knowledge of what else is out there.

Why have leave it so long without taking the time out to take stock of the current position and path ahead?

It is important to think about the bigger picture. Ask yourself - is this something you really want to do?

Is the firm driving your career or are you in control?

I have lost count the number of times when candidates have decided to take a new opportunity and move firms have said - “I wish I did this years ago”.

It is essential to be in control of your career – how can you do this if you aren’t keeping tabs on the market and assessing where you are?

Avoid knee-jerk reactions and begin to consider your position and ultimate goals from an early point in your career.

What steps can you take to plan your future career?

Thinking about the next move could easily be a move within your current firm and not necessarily elsewhere.

In some instances, gaining promotion once or twice within a firm before moving could be the best route to the ultimate goal.

Talking about this and evaluating your position should be done sooner rather than later – reaching senior manager level and hitting the panic button is not the best route to take.

Sit back and consider the following will help you to make informed choices –

• What skills have you acquired?
• What experience do I have?
• What type of exposure would I like?
• How important is the culture and environment to me?

Considering these areas with the view to understanding exactly what you want from you career is essential. This applies to all areas of accountancy, sectors and levels of seniority.

Using people as sounding boards to discuss where you are and help to plot where you want to go is certainly something I would recommend.

Gain intelligence and knowledge of the market so you are in a position to make a move when it is the right time for you and not a contingency move.

Are you building the right skills to help you towards the long term aim?

If this isn’t the case, it is possibly time to think about how you can acquire the right skills to put you in a position to reach you aims.

It could be that you are able to develop and hone new skills with your current firm and you just need to speak to your seniors.

Alternatively, this could be the trigger point to begin to consider your options away from your current firm.

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