The Whale Shark – Five of My Personal Tips to Help You Succeed in Your Finance Career

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 9, 2014 in Career Path, Job Search |

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Whale sharks are the largest known extant fish species in the world. They are found in warm ocean waters and live about 70 to 100 years. The whale shark feeds by gulping in massive Whale Sharkamounts of plankton or fish with its giant mouth. Finance, like the whale shark, is one of the largest and most utilized careers in the world absorbing a massive amount of responsibility and careers into its domain. Everyone and everything has to deal with money. Even if you aren’t a professional financial analyst or planner, you may be paying for education, financing real estate and cars, paying loans, buying insurance, taxes, investing and saving for retirement, etc.

I started working professionally in the finance sector 12 years ago and I wish there had been someone to guide me in the right direction, and impart words of wisdom that could have influenced my decisions and choices. I relied heavily on outdated textbooks, and it did help in some ways, but things are much better now for those who are just starting out in the field of finance. I really believe that the internet is a powerful force for candidates and trainees – after all, there is a lot of easily accessible advice all stored in one location.

Therefore I thought I would do my own part for the people who find themselves in a similar situation the one I was in all those years ago; looking for help in terms of their career. If you are one of these numbers, here are five of my personal tips to help you succeed in your finance career…

Learn continuously

In business, many people make the mistake of finding a job and then taking a back seat. They let their daily tasks become a routine that is hard to shake. Whilst carrying out the responsibilities of your job is vital, it is just as important to continue your education in many areas. There are always advancements in industries, regardless of what they are, so it would be unlikely that there wasn’t a course or workshop that would benefit you in some way. The whale shark is an active feeder. It goes to where the food is!

Seek the best opportunities

Of course it helps to find the right position in the first place, and I have plenty of advice on finding finance careers (www.nationwide-jobs.co.uk/), but I’ll try and keep it short. Don’t expect jobs to land in your email inbox, you will need to be proactive in order to find something special. Make a list of all of the companies you are currently aware of, and then search for their competitors online. You will then have a good place in which to start your job hunt, and you can start to learn the key decision makers that work in each company. Careers in finance are out there, but the exact parts of finance that you most want to work in and the companies you want to work for require some search and filtering. Food separation in whale sharks is by cross-flow filtration, in which the water travels nearly parallel to the filter pad surface, before passing to the outside, while denser food particles continue to the back of the throat.

Ask for feedback

In your job search and when you start working for a company, you should learn to ask for feedback. This can help you to identify areas for improvement when it comes to your interview style, as well as in your day-to-day work. Some businesses will have staff development at the forefront of their business and will automatically schedule appraisals for you, but you may need to ask for these directly in other companies. Whale sharks are actually very difficult to study in their natural habitat so keep an ear to the ground to get the most out of your experiences wherever you are!

Be friendly

It may also help you in the long run to be friendly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should roll over and accept what people say or do, just that you should ensure that your attitude doesn’t negatively affect your career. Try and be open-minded and you may find that people are more receptive to your ideas and actions. Despite its size, the whale shark does not pose significant danger to humans. Whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to catch a ride.

Don’t be afraid

Finally, don’t be afraid of taking some risks in your career – it’s something that is a strong theme throughout the finance sector! Take pride in networking and listing your skills on your LinkedIn profile; if another company is interested in them, it means you have been working hard to achieve what you set out to do. The whale shark grows to be so large in size, it does not have many natural enemies besides humans. So don’t hold back when you dive into finance!

This guest post was contributed by Victoria. If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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