By Nancy Thomas (future CIA)
In my household, we have something called ‘real talk’.
It’s when we talk about a specific subject authentically and truthfully even when a family member may feel uncomfortable. We understand that we have positive intentions for the discussion, so we allow it to have a positive impact on us.
In that same vein, let’s have some real talk about utilizing the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation to pursue your dream job and/or career track.
To get where you want to go, after you reach a CIA exam passing score, you must prepare for and discover Certified Internal Auditor job opportunities. You can follow these steps to do so.
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- Prepare for Certified Internal Auditor Job Opportunities
- Discover Certified Internal Auditor Job Opportunities
- Earn the CIA
Prepare for Certified Internal Auditor Job Opportunities
Step 1: Combine Specific Skills and Skill Sets with the CIA
To make the most of the CIA certification, you must combine it with specific skills and skill sets.
To learn more about this mission, we should consult the expertise of a past IIA article co-authored by Richard Chambers, the President/CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors, and Paul McDonald, Senior Executive Director at Robert Half International.
In Succeeding as a 21st Century Internal Auditor: 7 Attributes of Highly Effective Internal Auditors, Chambers and McDonald identify the skills that blend well with the CIA to create an attractive package of professionalism you can present to future employers.
- Relationship building
- Continuous learning
Note that you can use the above skills and skill sets in a variety of jobs and/or careers.
For example, any position in the financial sector requires an elevated level of integrity as judged by factors including but not limited to personal creditworthiness and criminal background clearance.
Another example is the fact that you are most likely contemplating, are actively pursuing, or have achieved the CIA. These actions indicate that you ‘buy in’ to the concept of continuous learning.
Furthermore, communication will always be a critical skill regardless of the job. In any professional position, you must successfully communicate with other professionals and/or managers above and below your position as well as with your peers.
Step 2: Combine Updated Career Perspectives with the CIA
Utilizing your CIA also means embracing several different truths about having a successful career.
If you don’t adjust your perspective to include these viewpoints, you will struggle to secure your dream job and experience every advantage of the CIA.
So, to further prepare for Certified Internal Auditor job opportunities, you should accept these two truths.
- Truth #1: Straight career tracks are no longer guaranteed.
My dad retired from one company after 32 years of a turbulent but overall successful executive career. As I came of age, his message to me about my career and success was crystal clear: “You will be successful, but your career will not look like mine”.
The following image is a good example of what my father was trying to convey to me and what I’m sharing with you. The days of the straight career track and one-company careers are nearly dead.
The online professional contact platform LinkedIn infers that the average worker may have 10 different jobs before the age of 40. LinkedIn further reports that professionals who lived through the later years of the baby boom held nearly 11 jobs between the ages of 18-42. And finally, nearly two-thirds of those jobs were held between the ages of 18-27.
Economically speaking, we know that our lives today are radically different from those of our parents’ generation. And, every article I’ve researched indicates that the number of jobs individuals hold will continue to rise in the face of employment numbers that are as high now as they were back in the early 1960s.
This is not a terrible thing, it’s just our new reality.
- Truth #2: You can never forget who you are.
Again, I’ll thank my father for this piece of advice: Confidence comes from knowing who and what you are.
He taught me that whenever you pursue a new academic degree or professional certification, you must remember who you are!
It’s easy to get discouraged by the situation or environment around you.
Under-employment or unemployment weighs heavy on the psyche of even the most talented individuals. Furthermore, downsizing, layoffs, or otherwise involuntary employment can be emotionally and physically devastating.
To get past the bad and/or uncertain times, it’s critical to be reminded of (and hold on to) what you brought to the table before the event occurred.
- You are (or should be) a self- motivated individual who has a plan for their life.
- You’ve worked hard to make hard choices and hard sacrifices to launch and further your career.
- You possess leadership skills whether you’re comfortable leading or not.
- You’re articulate whether you like public speaking or not.
- Regardless of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you have skills to be reckoned with.
- You’re a team player and recognize the importance of team whether your project is a team of 1 or a team of 10. Moreover, you can successfully go back and forth between the two.
In summary, you are awesome and have strong skills and skill sets to offer any company for any position. Don’t forget that!
Discover Certified Internal Auditor Job Opportunities
Once you’ve prepared for CIA job opportunities, you must discover them.
This process may take a little more effort than you would expect, but all your hard work will certainly pay off when you’ve landed your ideal position. To discover Certified Internal Auditor job opportunities, take these two steps.
Step 1: Think Outside the Box about CIA Jobs
Thinking outside of the box in this competitive employment market is mandatory. There is no perfect path or proven method for reaching your goals.
You must take your CIA and knock on lots of different doors. Once you get in the door, you must determine how to best utilize your certification and your skills to move forward. It’s about making the CIA and its related skill sets work best for you.
Understand the metaphor correctly: Thinking outside of the box means to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective; it often refers to novel or creative thinking.
With that definition, what does thinking outside of the box mean for the process of carving out your auditing career?
It means you should:
Refine Your Job Search
- Look for jobs in industries outside your set of expectations
- Remember that small companies need help too
- Know that temporary and/or contract positions can be perfect, under the right circumstances
- Look at starter positions that have the potential to make a big impact quickly
- Draft your dream job description and then look for similar phrases and words on relevant job search platforms
You can also look for jobs under synonyms for auditing. Other descriptors that may be used to describe the work of internal auditors include:
You can get even more creative in your job searches by thinking like an employer. Where might advertising for an open position be cheaper than on the popular job search sites? When you think of the place, look there.
Additionally, you can’t be afraid to look for and reach out to companies and/or other CIA community members on LinkedIn and then continue to follow up with your contact.
Refine Your Resume
Finally, you can take steps to enhance your resume and improve your career profile in case a potential employer finds you first.
For instance, you can write an article for a trade magazine and add it to your list of publications.
Also, as soon as you earn the CIA, you can add that and the letters of your other degrees and certifications to the end of your name.
You can even reach out to former and current colleagues to request they add a public recommendation to your LinkedIn page.
Step 2: Combine a Positive Attitude with the CIA
The famed author Theodore Geisel (“Dr. Seuss”) wrote and animated one of my favorite books: Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Published in 1990, this book was the author’s last published work. I’d like to leave one of the opening paragraphs with you.
With your CIA in hand, remember the following:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. You know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
With obvious gender flexing, the book admonishes us to remember that WE have the ability to determine where WE will go.
Keep that in mind as you develop your skills, adjust your career perspectives, and seek out the job of your dreams.
Earn the CIA
Of course, if you don’t yet have the CIA certification, you aren’t yet ready to take advantage of those Certified Internal Auditor job opportunities.
You may have heard that becoming a CIA is a challenge that takes time and money, and that’s true.
But thankfully, earning the CIA certification can be easier than you think when you have the support you need. You’ll find that support at ipasstheciaexam.com. This site offers guidance for every step of the CIA process, CIA review course recommendations, and even CIA exam prep discounts.
Check out ipasstheciaexam.com today to start the process of becoming a CIA!