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Career Planning

Some people want IR to be their lifelong career, while others enter the profession as a rotational assignment. No matter how you see it, career planning is a must. Where do you see yourself in five years? Are you working toward starting your own business? How do you find that next job? This page will provide some ideas and useful links.

General Career Planning Advice
Ten career tips to bring you up in a down market.

MarketingLadder.com offers career advice on its website.

CareerJournal.com, the Wall Street Journal's executive career site, offers career management articles, job-hunting advice including tips on working with executive recruiters, salary and hiring info, columns and discussion boards. You'll remember some articles from past Journal issues.

Vault offers career and job-hunting advice - in particular, check out the articles on interview questions. Fortune called this "the best place on the Web to prepare for a job search." Vault also offers free e-newsletters on various topics.

Check out our Investor Relations Career Strategies webcast, including articles to help you take charge of your career.

Advice Columns
Check out Amy Joyce of the Washington Post for answers to career-related questions. For a recruiter’s view of job-hunting, visit the "Ask the Headhunter" blog.

Social Networking
Online visibility should be an important part of your career strategy – whether or not you’re actively looking for a job. There are a plethora of sites where you can post your profile and connect with others, but LinkedIn is probably the most useful from a career standpoint, because it’s focused on professional rather than social networking. Recruiters and companies regularly use LinkedIn to find and vet job candidates . . . you can use it to find people who work at companies of interest . . . and it’s a quick way to keep up with what your IR colleagues are doing.

The articles below offer specific LinkedIn advice. The three most important things to remember: 1) Build out your profile so it can function as your professional website. 2) Be “human” – for example, always use your own words to personalize an invitation to connect, and visit the person’s profile beforehand because he or she can see this evidence of your interest. 3) Leverage your network through regular interactions. For example, thank a person who accepted your invitation to connect and suggest meeting for coffee, or ping individuals or small groups periodically via email or phone. By the way, a good LinkedIn profile has a great-looking/high-energy photo, a summary that showcases what you can do for an employer or client, achievements not just job responsibilities over the past few years, and links and/or portfolio samples to illustrate some of those achievements. Don’t just cut-and-paste from your resume (think shorter!), and make sure both profile and resume avoid over-used words.

Most NIRI members start with the NIRI Career Center, where you can post your resume and screen IR jobs nationwide. To arm yourself for those all-important salary negotiations, don't forget to review NIRI's most recent IR salary survey.

Most job-hunters check the major sites (CareerBuilder, Monster.com) but these may be too general to be very useful - and companies get flooded with so many resumes that you're probably better off contacting the company via another channel. For example, find someone who works there as your "foot in the door." To search multiple sites at one time, check out Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter.com.

Other employment websites in finance and/or communications:

Crain's Chicago Business has posted a list of executive recruiters. However, you might be better served by purchasing Crain's lists of the fastest-growing public firms and/or the largest publicly traded companies in our market.

Building Your Own Business
A significant percentage of us will be freelance consultants at some point in our careers - which could entail developing an entirely new set of skills, from cash management to business development. Some helpful resources:

Networking for Job-Hunters and the Self-Employed

  • FENG – The Financial Executives Networking Group
  • ENG – Executive Network Group of Greater Chicago
  • Calendar of Northern Illinois job club, networking and support groups