If you’re ready for a promotion, but your career isn’t, it might be time to consider graduate school.
When you first went to work for your current company, it was pretty cool.
Your friends and family were excited about your new job. You were excited. You were meeting new people, learning new things, making a difference and probably making more money than you ever had before.
Let’s face it, though. Your job just isn’t quite as exciting anymore. Routine has set in, and you’re probably starting to wonder how to make the jump to the next level in your career.
For you, maybe that means a big promotion. Maybe it means moving to a new role in a different discipline. Heck, maybe it means working for a new company.
But none of those things are going to happen by themselves. The accounting profession is filled with are big opportunities, but are you ready to take full advantage of them? Are you truly prepared for the next big step in your career?
> Take our short quiz: “Is it the Right Time for Grad School?
How to seize your next opportunity
No matter how badly you want that new job or a big promotion, desire alone won’t deliver it.
Here are four key factors to evaluate as you prepare to grab your next big opportunity:
1) Your work environment
The best career opportunities are likely to be in firms and companies that are growing or have the potential for growth. Ask yourself: Is your company progressive? Is the leadership strong? Does it embrace new technologies and industry best practices? If you’re working for a laggard, you may want to look somewhere else for new prospects.
2) Your track record
Do an honest, objective assessment of your work track record. Consider these factors:
- Have you embraced opportunities to take on new challenges and let your skills shine?
- What projects or initiatives have you supported and participated in?
- Do you go beyond the call of duty when the pressure is on?
- Is there someone — a boss, former manager or senior executive — who will vouch for you on these key qualities?
If you don’t have good answers to all of these questions, you may need to seek out new opportunities at your current company or make a fresh start at a company that allows you to use your skills to stand out. How will you do that?
3) Your network
Who you know can be just as important as what you know. A strong professional network can alert you to new opportunities, provide you with insider guidance and advice, and help get you past gatekeepers and reach the real decision makers. You should always be cultivating your network – even when you think you don’t need it – so it’s there when you do.
4) Your skills and knowledge
You’ve got to have deep skills or knowledge that differentiates you from other job candidates. Do you have your CPA license? Having specific technical skills or credential will improve your job prospects. Are you an expert in a particular area of accounting or finance that you could use to help you step into that next big job role? Ask yourself, “Do I really have what it’s going to take to move to the next level?”
If you don’t have the requisite skills and knowledge, it might be time to consider pursuing a master’s degree in accounting. While a master’s degree is a big commitment, it can have a huge impact on your career. Plus, some schools have Master’s programs that can be completed online while you continue to work.
Earning her degree online while she continued to work helped UNC Master of Accounting student Leanne Fredericks point her career in the right direction.
Higher education will also expand your professional network and can help you make the jump to a new company, a new department or even a new discipline.
Your next steps
Curious as to whether grad school is the answer for you? Take our quiz, “Is it the Right Time for Grad School?” to find out.
Or, if you’re already considering grad school, check out our “Quality Control Audit” worksheet, which can help you evaluate key criteria in your search for the best graduate program.
What’s your next career move? Consider the #1-ranked online Master of Accounting degree from the University of North Carolina. With flexible schedules, evening courses delivered by world-class faculty, and a career services team dedicated to the needs of working professionals, the program can give your career the boost it needs.