A job change often brings a nice bump in compensation, a change in scenery, a chance to forge connections with new coworkers and clients.
It’s also the right move on a deeper, more personal level. This is more often true for people in transactional industries and roles, where impact and passion often take a back seat to the bottom line.
Like finance. Finance jobs pay great but may not feed the soul.
If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your current role in the financial industry and are seriously considering something else, here’s how to navigate the transition.
1. Follow Your Passion
Sure, it’s trite to say out loud, but why wouldn’t you follow your passion in your new career? The whole point is that you don’t feel fulfilled in your current role — or else why would you be looking for something else?
Some wildly successful financial professionals have made this exact calculation. Like Steve Streit, who started and grew Green Dot into a billion-dollar financial platform before pivoting to philanthropy and venture investing.
2. Solve for Impact
Impact is often downstream of passion, but it looks different depending on who you ask.
Some want to know where they can have the greatest impact on the greatest number of people. Others want “deep impact,” where they can solve more specific problem sets.
Your decision will depend on what you know about your ability to work in personal, systems, and macro environments. Which brings us to two crucial action items for transitioning finance pros.
3. Inventory Your Transferable Skills…
Finance professionals have many “hard” skills that transfer easily to other industries.
The reverse is true as well. According to industry expert David McCann, more than 1,000 enterprise CFOs have engineering degrees.
The first step is to take a formal inventory of your hard skills, focusing on those that have value outside your current role and industry. Maybe you’ve done this already, in which case you can skip right ahead to the next step.
4. …And Your Soft Skills
Maybe you’ve done this too. Personality tests are super-popular right now, after all.
If you haven’t, make it a priority to understand your inherent strengths, like critical thinking and self-motivation. These skills have value wherever you go, but it’s important that others see them clearly. You need to know how to put your best foot forward as you look for new opportunities.
5. Seek Out Growing, Future-Proof Industries
Regardless of your current specialty or the type of role you hope to pivot into, look for opportunities that won’t soon leave you back where you began.
You’ve probably thought about future-proofing as it relates to your current role, but this is just as important in your next career phase. Seek out opportunities in industries poised for longer-term workforce growth — those that aren’t likely to be disrupted by automation or AI in the short term. Career advancement is easier in healthy, growing industries.
6. Consider the Opportunity Cost
Let’s assume you’re certain that a career transition is the right move to make. Your next step is to ensure that you make the right transition.
You’ve already thought about industry focus as it relates to advancement, but you should also think about each potential opportunity (industry, niche, and role) in relation to the others. While every decision has an opportunity cost, taking the time to choose a destination that won’t soon trigger buyer’s remorse (or deeper regret) will pay off in the long run.
Look to Those Who’ve Come Before
Pivoting to a new career can be scary. Success is by no means assured. But at a certain point, you no longer have any excuses to fall back on. There’s nothing left to do but make the leap.
This is the time to find community with others who’ve successfully transitioned careers in the past. They don’t have to be former finance professionals like you, but their experiences should echo your own. Listen to them, learn from them, and be ready to adopt what’s worked for them in your own professional journey.