Developing your career in 2017: part two

Feb 20, 2017
<p>How experienced IROs can continue to learn and develop</p>

This article was produced in association with ELITE Connect. It was originally published on the ELITE Connect platform

Following last week’s look at how novice IROs can boost their knowledge of the sector, this week we examine how proficient IROs can make strides in their career development for 2017.

The Investor Relations Society (IR Society) supports the professional development of its members through a number of courses, including those for more practiced IR professionals. ‘The suite of professional qualifications we offer can kick-start personal development and provide support for all IR practitioners as part of the growth in status and importance of the IR profession,’ says John Gollifer, general manager of the IR Society.

‘If you’re an experienced IRO looking to progress, where better to start 2017 than with a good, hard look at yourself to see where you currently are and how you can improve your career for the new year?’

IR Society development courses for experienced IROs include:

The DELIVER (developing future leaders through investor relations) Program: Aimed at high-potential IROs who are seeking the next step up in their career, this six-month activity-based modular program offers core content built around navigating the business and market environment, strategic communications and leadership. DELIVER continues to offer unique exposure to captains of industry and other thought-leaders as well as the opportunity to work with IR peers and create your own personal network. 

The Diploma in IR (DIR) is a new, senior-level professional qualification being launched in 2017, and is designed to examine expertise in IR and to complement the IR Society’s existing competency-level Certificate in IR (CIR) and DELIVER leadership program. DIR candidates must demonstrate their knowledge and experience across the wide range of competencies required for a senior role in IR, including technical and communications skills, personal attributes and managerial & leadership abilities. The broad nature of the topics selected reflects the expected seniority of candidates. 

In addition to training courses, there are other things IR veterans looking to go even further in their careers can explore – and once again Craig Marks, senior IR director at AstraZeneca, has some practical tips to share.

Firstly, there is the importance of being proactive in gaining experience in the role you want to eventually do. ‘IROs should try to step into the shoes of the head or director of IR as much as they can and really go beyond their current remit to explore the role,’ Marks advises. ‘Deputize for the head/director as much as possible and ask to go to all of the meetings – both external and internal – that you can. If you currently take more of a backseat role with investors, make the effort to be more hands-on.’

Marks also advises that those looking to progress within the IR field need to get out and about and establish face-to-face relationships where possible: ‘It’s easy to hide behind emails all day, but actually making the effort to pick up the phone or go to see analysts and investors is a great use of time in terms of developing relationships and building a solid support base within the industry, even if it may feel that you spend most of your time in coffee shops for a while!’

Finally, networking and getting your name recognized within the sector will work to your advantage in the future. ‘Go to all the IR events and networking days you can, and never turn down an opportunity to meet new people,’ Marks recommends. ‘IR Magazine and the IR Society both hold conferences that offer the chance to build good relationships with your peers and meet senior spokespeople, as well as develop your knowledge. 

‘Similarly, blow your own trumpet: try to get yourself nominated for as many industry awards as possible to really get your name out there and build a base of support within the IR landscape.’ 

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