Compliance Professionals are Skilled for All Industries

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Two senior manager reading a resume during a job interview, Employer interviewing to ask young male job seeker for recruitment talking in office.

By Cricket Snyder, CCEP – Chief Compliance Officer of Jefferson County Commission

Are you a compliance professional that feels bored or stuck in your current role? Are you a subject matter expert in your current industry, but you want to expand your knowledge base? Lastly, are you afraid to apply for jobs outside of your expertise because you do not have experience? If you answered in the affirmative to any of those questions, I encourage you to step out and apply for other compliance positions in different industries!

The questions asked above all were questions I asked myself several times after being employed with a fantastic organization for 15 years. I had built my brand as a trusted subject matter expert, and all levels of leadership looked to me for advice and resolve.

However, at some point in all of that, while things were going exceptionally well in my career, I wanted more. I wanted to expand my knowledge to determine if I could have the same type of success in the Compliance arena within different industries.

After talking myself away from applying for other positions for over a year, I decided to update my resume and throw my name in several compliance position “hats”. To my surprise, I did receive a few inquiries for positions. I realized, though, that the compensation/benefit packages were not comparable to what I was accustomed to.

After meeting with one HR representative to discuss benefit negotiation, I asked why the position offer was so low. The representative replied, “Your resume shows specific experiences in your current role for your current organization but doesn’t articulate how those skills might be transferable to benefit this organization.” I was blown away at the ease the feedback was given. The rep went on to say that is an issue seen often. Following the feedback, I could see exactly what the HR representative was referring to.

I was unintentionally sabotaging my chances of success because my resume was written to showcase my growth and talent at the current organization using industry and organizational-specific language, which those reading my resume within the organization were impressed by, but others outside the organization weren’t necessarily able to connect how certain specific applications and processes matched the skills they needed in their organizations.

As a result, I worked to ensure my resume reflected my past experiences and successes while also conveying how those skills are transferable to the organization to which I was applying. Honestly, it was effortless to do as a compliance professional. My job scope responsibilities, initiatives, and wins were directly related to Department of Justice (DOJ) compliance guidance. The organization was framed around ensuring that they not only met the minimum expectations for an effective compliance program but many of the initiatives I lead were created to exceed the guidance provided by the DOJ.

I saw an immediate change in the number of callbacks I received for job positions, and I was able to position myself for better benefits package negotiation. I will not go into detail about my employment history, but I will share that my resume now reflects compliance experience in the following industries: utilities/nuclear power, healthcare insurance, and local government.

My most recent position title is the Chief Compliance Officer for Jefferson County Commission (a local governmental municipality in Alabama). This position was a dream and goal as I am responsible for implementing the first Compliance Office within the organization. All of my prior experiences prepared me to be successful in my project planning and management of this implementation project.

In closing, if you are interested in making a compliance career change/move after being in an organization for five or more years, think about the following:

  • The DOJ elements of an effective compliance program are standards that can be applied to all industries. Therefore, your experience and supporting project successes should reflect a direct tie to the guidance.
  • Believe in your abilities to move forward and be successful. My thoughts and self-doubt caused my exit plan to come much later than it should have. In the year I went back and forth with the idea, I did not gain any new experiences that would have helped my cause.
  • Ensure your resume is written to show your experiences and articulate how those skills are transferable to the organization you are applying to. During my time of applying for positions, I did not have one resume for all positions, I made sure to tailor my resume to the organization I was applying for. Be sure not to oversell your abilities, as organizations are not hiring what you want to become but the diversity of experiences you bring to the organization. They expect you to hit the ground running and only train you on the nuances of their organization.
  • Network using the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics conferences to meet professionals currently working in the industries you wish to grow in. I have been very fortunate that the relationships I have forged within the SCCE community have directly impacted my success. The willingness to share information and provide practical tips on implementing compliance initiatives has been remarkable. There is a wealth of knowledge to be shared, giving you an actual perspective on whether you want to move in that direction.
  • Lastly – Don’t limit yourself. If you have put in the work and have the will for change, do it. Your best days are ahead, so stop reading and start researching your next compliance job opportunity.