Things you Need to Know During a Compliance Job Search

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Compliance job careers are charged with ensuring that staff within an organization act as they are supposed to and stay out of conflict with the law. The 1984 U.S. Sentencing guidelines for organizations was an important turning point that saw the development of structured compliance functions within organization since it encouraged the regulators and the courts to look favorably on institutions that set up effective compliance programs. This was the basis of the formation of compliance and ethics and now demands highly motivated, experienced professionals in this field.

Compliance concerns by their very nature will often bestraddle the length and breadth of the institution. For this reason, compliance job careers draw persons from different training and experience backgrounds depending on the industry as well as the particular niche within compliance that the job is positioned. For instance, a trained accountant may be best suited for the position of Compliance Accountant, a Senior Financial Compliance Analyst or a compliance position build around the Sarbanes Oxley Act.

So how do you start your compliance job search? If you are already working in non-compliance function and are looking at transitioning to compliance job careers, the first thing to do is to establish whether the organization you work for has a compliance function. If it does, what is its structure? Would your current skill set be a good fit for positions within the compliance department?

Take time to talk to the people already working within the compliance unit to get a feel of what they do on a day to day including the challenges and opportunities their job presents. If there is any training offered by the compliance office for the rest of the staff, register for it and attend. You can even volunteer to participate in projects within the compliance unit as this will be a great way to get a hands on experience that can help you see whether compliance job careers is actually the way for you.

If the organization you work for does not have a compliance unit or if you are fresh graduate in law, accounting, finance or taxation, consider networking with compliance professionals in the industry. Try to get contacts and organize lunch hour or evening meetings for informal but vital insights.

Join industry forums and societies as these can sometimes provide assistance with your compliance job search by offering bridging courses and professional education to firm up your resume. Make time to attend events run by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics or the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association where you can meet and discuss topics with compliance professionals. The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics runs an academy that offers certification in compliance and ethics. But you must be careful in the compliance certification you go for so that you do not go for too narrow a field that would hinder your progress up the job ladder.

Research is key in bettering your chances of success during your compliance job search. Read about current affairs around compliance whenever you can. The more knowledgeable you are, the more the value you will be perceived to add by potential recruiters.

A compliance professional, whether they bear the title of compliance manager or compliance officer, must possess certain management skills. Just like an external auditor, a compliance job careers will be required to sometimes interact with senior management. They will be required to convene meetings, speak to moderately sized audiences and clearly articulate current issues.

The compliance professional is expected to guard the integrity of the organization. It therefore implies that he or she must also demonstrate integrity and have a good professional reputation.

Compliance job careers are not renowned for being a fast track to the top (i.e. Chief Executive Officer) although the top position in the compliance division of a large organization will be at executive level (Chief Compliance Officer). But a stint working in a compliance unit is a good opportunity for someone intent on being the CEO as it provides a broad view of the organization's function.

Remuneration will vary depending on industry, organization and personal experience and qualification. The salary for senior compliance positions such as a Corporate Compliance Manager will be $120,000 with that for a Chief Compliance Officer at $207,000 per annum.
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