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Know the Complete Skill Set for Your Profession


While it may seem like all those ‘finance types’ are alike, we’re actually not.  Neither are all the ‘marketing folks’, ‘engineering types’, etc. for that matter.  Each profession there is a wide range of skills, yet I and other people often overlook this aspect in their preparation for considering which roles to pursue, networking or interviewing. 

The usual cause of why we overlook the full skill set of our profession/specialty is that our depth of experience in one area(s) taints our ability to objectively judge our capabilities across the entire profession.

I will use myself as an example.  I recall reviewing the requirements for one role it included the treasury function.  My initial thought “Sure, I been around Treasury and understand the function... I can handle it or figure it out.”  Heck, I had loads of finance/operational analysis experience, why could I not take on new tasks.

As I networked further about the firm and position, I found that their cash management was relatively complex, as was the tax structure.   As I listened to my networking contact discuss the complexities of the company, I could not help to think I underestimated treasury… or better yet, overestimated my financial analysis skills application across finance.

The truth is that I had never really considered whether or not I could really handle ALL of the tasks (or if I cared to handle) within finance.

Since I’ve found I’m not alone and we’re all finance folks here at Proformative, let me share how I approached this for finance.  I took the skills listed on “CFO and Controller Duties” and rated my level of experience and understanding for each skill. Three things happened:

ONE.  I was able to identify the skills I needed for the role I sought – this allowed me to be more discerning on what roles I invested time in pursuing.

TWO. I knew where I needed to be ready to answer the questions about where I had less experience – which is useful in both networking (giving confidence to contact to make introductions) and interviews (giving confidence that you could handle).

THREE.  Most importantly, I gained the insight of which areas were less interesting to me.  I am a firm believer that your level of interest in an area and success are closely aligned.  Not saying you can always avoid those areas, but just not have them be your primary focus.   

This exercise was relatively short, but was an eye-opener.

If you are in a very specific area of finance (Tax, Treasury, etc.), one way to make sure you’ve captured all your skills to is to post your list as a discussion on Proformative and use the broad network to help in your search.

Good luck today!