Know the Field
So many people try to get jobs without really knowing what is required. Unfortunately, they end up wasting their time and the time of potential employers. No one will hire you if you cannot demonstrate a basic understanding of what regulatory compliance careers are and what responsibilities you will be expected to maintain.
The most important job is to ensure that the staff and the organization is meeting the regulations established at the state and federal levels. For example, if your compliance officer careers land you in a brokerage firm your job will be making sure that firm and its staff comply with the rules handed down by the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Depending on your industry, you will need to understand different regulations so you can carefully do this part of your job.
Additionally, you may be required to draw up the internal guidelines employees are expected to follow. These will be based on the state and federal laws, of course. You will also have to monitor the employees to ensure they are following them properly. You may also be required to report to the regulatory bodies governing your industry either in person or via written reports. If problems do arise, you will be called upon to represent them if the matter goes into arbitration.
Meeting the Requirements
Of course, knowing what a job requires and being able to fulfill those requirements are two different issues altogether. Before you apply for any type of compliance job, you must make sure you have the proper educational credentials. Keep in mind that if you want the highest positions available in the field you will need to obtain as much education as possible.
Today, the idea of learning the compliance ropes on the job is no longer accepted. Instead, you will be required to have at a minimum a bachelor’s degree in a field related to money or to law. Degrees in finance, accounting, economics, or management would all be considered appropriate. Some people who completed a pre-law program as an undergraduate choose to go into compliance instead of into law school.
Again, if you want to obtain one of the top compliance jobs, you are going to need more education. You could earn a master’s degree. Similar degree programs would be appropriate. Also, many firms are looking for compliance officers who have completed a law degree. That is because they have a unique perspective on these regulatory issues and may be more useful when problems arise.
Do not be surprised if you are required to become licensed in order to find a good position in the compliance field. Depending on the position you want, there are different licensing examinations to complete. If you are a strong enough addition to the team, it is possible that some employers will assist you in acquiring these licenses. However, already having it can be a good way to impress those making the hiring decisions.
Knowing the Industry
Having significant education and a license will be an asset in your job search. However, you should also have some work experience that will assist you in your preparation for compliance fields. For example, if you hope to handle regulatory issues for the banking industry then you need to have some experience working in banks.
Another excellent reason for getting this type of work experience is that you may be able to work your way up to the job you want, especially if you already have a bachelor’s degree in one of the appropriate fields listed above. Although many people assume they will just be able to jump into one of the top careers in the industry, moving up the ladder slowly is often the only way to get where you want to be.
Sometimes you can also benefit from working as a compliance officer for a smaller firm. This can give you an advantage.
Having Some Skills
Education and experience are essential, but to be successful in this field you need to have a few skills. Obviously, you are going to need to be detail-oriented. If you are not the kind of person who pays attention to the small stuff, you are not going to be a good fit for compliance. You are also going to have to like working with numbers. Not everyone does, but your job is going to require it.
Being open to continuing your knowledge and education is also important. You have to stay up-to-date on the regulatory laws, for example. You must also be ready to learn as much as possible about the industry in which you choose to work.