Chris Aukland is the managing director of specialist recruitment agency Ambition and is responsible for the growth and management of the Hong Kong business. He has 15 years’ consulting experience in the UK and Asia.
I graduated from University last year. I have less than one year of working experience in the finance (non-banking) industry. I recently have my contract terminated for misconduct because I disclosed my salary information to a friend who applied to the same opening of my position and our discussion was overheard and recorded at a coffee shop by a supervisor. And as expected, I get no good reference.
I have been unemployed for a few months already and I am feeling devastated.
It has been so tough for me to land jobs after the incident. It is my first job since graduation, and I have only one internship in my life.
Is there any way that can get me back in finance-related field?
Christopher Aukland - Career Doctor
Posted Friday 14th February 2014 10:15:00 PM
Firstly, it is important to understand that everyone makes mistakes in life - career or non career. More importantly, do not dwell on the mistake(s) but understand what went wrong and learn from the whole episode. Where mistakes are made, there are lessons to be learnt as well. The banking or finance sectors are highly competitive industries which will require perseverance, patience in addition to strong academic credentials. Due to the high volume of professionals looking to land a role in these industries, candidates must also be prepared to face rejection and be ready for a longer period of job searching before they secure the right opportunity. With regards to the issue of obtaining a good reference, it would be advisable to look at the possibility of getting references or letters of recommendation from your internship or your professors in University. Try to get character references from individuals around you who are willing to vouch for your positive character traits. Additionally, you could speak to your professors at university to see if they would be willing to write letters of recommendation for you. While not as compelling as professional references, character references (especially from well positioned individuals) and letters of recommendations do help to serve as an acknowledgement of individual traits that would benefit potential employers. If there are gaps in your resume, be upfront and truthful when presenting and explaining the gaps. Potential employers would rather know that you are being truthful rather than having you come across as dishonest when the truth surfaces at the reference check stage. With regards to your situation, be truthful and explain what happened and that you made an honest mistake but you acknowledge that it is a mistake nonetheless and you have learnt from the episode. Further the acknowledgement with details on what you were doing over the break to stay marketable - training courses, volunteer work etc. This is also something that you should be doing if you aren't already doing so. In addition to increasing your marketability and skill sets, this presents you as an individual that is proactive with a positive attitude to potential employers. Keeping an open mind and being flexible in your career options will also help in your job search process. I would suggest exploring taking on contract roles as opposed to focusing only on permanent roles. Contract roles can help add valuable experience as well as build various specific skill sets that will improve your marketability to future employers. Also, a contract role might be a chance for you to secure a permanent role with the employer if you do well over the tenure. Apart from contracting, you can also look at roles in similar or complementary industries or sectors. This will also help broaden the job opportunities that are available.