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I am graduating with a MS in Digital Financial Technology in two weeks, I have been in finance for over 10 years and don't want to start over. How can I find a new position that doesn't put me back at entry level?

I need help getting into my field without starting back at entry level.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Jessica’s Answer

Hello Quennaldria,

Firstly, a hearty congratulations on nearing the completion of your MS Degree! This is indeed a significant milestone to celebrate!

I've always held the belief that passion is the driving force behind long-term career success. So, mirroring the advice of others, I encourage you to reflect on the fundamental reasons that guided you towards this career path. For instance, were you intrigued by the intricate workings of technology, data, and processes in finance? If so, this could potentially open doors for you in the IT, Systems, and Architecture fields. Alternatively, if you're passionate about empowering Finance teams, this could steer you towards a consulting career in Finance and tech transformation.

I don't believe you will need to start from scratch as an entry-level employee, given that your decade-long experience is incredibly valuable. In today's world, achieving a business outcome requires an understanding of systems, processes, and data, making your experience and knowledge of finance roles extremely beneficial, unique and sought-after. You might want to consider project roles in Finance systems implementation or finance transformation, which typically offer a higher compensation than a regular role in Finance.

Another excellent starting point could be consulting. Although you might start at a junior level, your experience and degree should pave the way for quick promotions once you've demonstrated the value you can provide, leveraging your previous SME experience in Finance.
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Alireza’s Answer

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation and your extensive experience in finance! Transitioning into a new field without starting at entry level is possible with the right approach. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Leverage Your Experience: Highlight your 10 years of experience in finance as a significant asset. Emphasize the skills, knowledge, and achievements you have gained over the years. Showcase how your expertise can complement and enhance your transition into the digital financial technology field.

2. Research and Networking: Conduct thorough research on companies and positions within the digital financial technology field. Identify organizations that value experience and are open to hiring professionals with a diverse background. Attend industry conferences, workshops, and networking events to connect with professionals in the field. Consider joining relevant professional organizations or online communities to expand your network and gain exposure to industry opportunities.

3. Upskill and Fill Knowledge Gaps: Although you have a Master's degree in Digital Financial Technology, there may be specific areas or skills that you need to enhance to bridge the gap between your previous experience and the requirements of your desired role. Identify any knowledge or skill gaps and pursue additional certifications or courses to demonstrate your commitment to professional development.

4. Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter: Customize your resume and cover letter to highlight your transferable skills, relevant projects, and coursework related to digital financial technology. Focus on showcasing how your finance experience can contribute to the field.

5. Targeted Job Search: Look for job postings specifically mentioning desired qualifications and experience levels that align with your background. Utilize online job boards, professional networking platforms, and industry-specific websites to find job opportunities that match your skills and experience.

6. Tap into Your Network: Leverage your professional network to explore opportunities or seek referrals. Reach out to colleagues, former employers, professors, or industry connections who might be aware of suitable positions or can help facilitate introductions.

7. Internships or Contract Work: Consider taking on internships, part-time roles, or contract work in the digital financial technology field to gain practical experience and demonstrate your capabilities. Such opportunities can act as a stepping stone toward securing a full-time position at a higher level.

8. Be Open to Starting at a Junior Level: While your aim is to avoid starting at entry level, keep in mind that transitioning into a new field may require some degree of starting fresh. Be open to the possibility of taking a role at a junior level initially, with the intention of proving yourself and quickly progressing within the organization.

Remember patience and perseverance are key during this transition period. Believe in your abilities and the value you bring to the table. Good luck with your career transition! 🌟🤞
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George’s Answer

Craft a compelling resume that portrays you as an asset, far exceeding the worth of a novice or inexperienced worker.
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Karin’s Answer

Hi Quennaldria,

Why did you do the MS? Who came up with the idea? Was it something that you wanted hoping to improve yourself? Or was it something your employer suggested so they can advance you to a higher position?

If your employer sent you they should have a plan to advance you. If it was your initiative you'll have to convince someone that you have more skills now and are worth more.

Good luck!

K
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Phil’s Answer

I suggest you organize your resume to highlight the MS degree and area of study, along with showing your prior work experience. You have ten years of job experience, knowledge, and skills which are valuable to an employer. You are not someone just starting in the workforce, so you have an advantage over people with no relevant work experience. You can include a skills section on your resume that includes all of the software and apps you have used in work or school. Include things that might seem obvious such as Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook. And you can have a section that shows some of the main courses you took, and any projects or research papers or presentations you did for school.

In searching for jobs, look for roles that could involve business analysis or functional analysis. To define and design what technology is to be developed and delivered, being able to understand how the business works is critical. Even though you may be newly focused on technology, having prior knowledge about finance, operations, or accounting could make you very valuable ... and show that you are not entry level. If you have had any experience with software testing, software training, or documenting procedures ... include those on your resume.

Good luck in your job search and career!
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Scott’s Answer

In my experience of interviewing individuals at various career stages, I've noticed that hiring managers are particularly drawn to those who demonstrate a continuous learning attitude and commitment to personal growth. This can be reflected in a resume, cover letter, or even during the interview itself. For instance, if you've spent a decade in finance but found yourself intrigued by the rise of digital technology within the industry, you might choose to pursue a Master's degree in that field. Your dedication to furthering your education, even if it means working nights, weekends, or taking time off, speaks volumes.

This narrative not only indicates your desire for a career shift but also showcases your eagerness to embrace new learning opportunities that spark your interest. Such a person is an asset any company would be fortunate to have on their team. I hope this insight is helpful.
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Peter’s Answer

Another way to look at it is that if you've spent a decade working in Finance, it may be simpler to transition into technology within the same field you're familiar with. For instance, if you've spent ten years in technical accounting, it could be easier to secure jobs that involve technology related to technical accounting. A lot of the expertise required for higher-level roles in finance systems is a deep understanding of the finance sector, which helps in creating the most effective configurations in the tool. From my experience and connections in the industry, having practical knowledge of a process and a love for technology can open doors. It's worth considering roles in consulting firms or specific vendors as presales engineers where tool expertise is usually not required (but functional expertise is). This can help you gain entry into the field, and after a few implementations, you should have the chance to grow and broaden your technological experience in new areas.
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