Written By: AFCPE® Career Task Force
AFCPE® Career Week 2023 took place May 1st through 4th, providing a series of virtual events aimed at jobseekers, AFC® Candidates, recent and upcoming graduates, students, career changers, and established professionals. The first three days helped build knowledge and skills to implement on the final day during the Career Fair. Let’s look at some of the information on sharing value, career building, earning certification experience hours, and starting a private practice from the first three days of Career Week 2023.
How do you Share Your Value? Part 2!
Andi Wrenn, AFC® led another dynamic session on some of the tactics AFC® professionals should think about when sharing the value offered to clients. Andi kicked off the session by asking participants the question, “Do you know if you have changed the lives of people that you have worked with?” Similarly, she asked whether participants have or could share changes made in their own financial lives and the personal impact of their work. At the heart of Andi’s message was the principle behind sharing one’s value through storytelling. Connections are made and credibility is established when telling personal stories, especially when working with someone who is unclear about the role of an AFC®.
During Part 1 in March, Andi encouraged participants to craft specific value propositions that varied in length and effect – short (elevator speech), medium (1 to 2 minutes), and long (3 to 5 minutes). Continuing this theme, Part 2 participants were encouraged to think about and share ways they would explain their value via three scenarios. In each, the AFC® is tasked with curating statements useable in multiple settings— preparing to inform other professionals of networking partnership opportunities, providing clarity on the complementary relationship between adjacent professionals (AFC® and CFP®), or uncovering new business opportunities; for example, be prepared to offer business cards to the dentist who may know someone in need of financial counseling services.
Some tips for success are:
- Connect with other AFC® professionals on social media and in-person to share best practices.
- Practice the curated statements, or pitches, with someone you trust or record and review your pitches.
- Try to use ten words or less to explain your target client and how financial counseling assists them.
Exploring the AFCPE® Career Center
Dedicated professionals looking for opportunities to enhance their skills and advance their careers is at the heart of any association. To assist these professionals, Board Member Ann Lentell, CF®A, AFC®, CFP® showcased the resources available for AFCPE® members in the Career & Resource Center. Some of the highlighted benefits are:
- The AFCPE® Job Board – bringing professionals relevant roles in the field.
- The Offer Analyzer tool – to determine if an offer made by an employer is competitive.
- Receiving feedback on your resume or career advice.
- Career paths for financial counselors.
- MentorConnect – AFCPE®’s mentorship program.
- Professional development opportunities to keep your knowledge up to date.
- And more!
One attendee shared her experience and highlighted how beneficial the free resume critique was; she had received great feedback on how to enhance her resume to stand out from other applicants. Event participants were impressed by the number of resources they did not know were available. No matter the career stage, the Career & Resource Center offers something for everyone.
A Guide to Earning Experience Hours
AFCPE® Certification Manager Jarod Taylor, AFC® works with AFC® Candidates every day to help reach their goal of certification. As experience is a vital part of becoming a certified professional, he provided detailed information on the AFC® experience requirement and answered candidate questions. Some of the fundamentals of the experience requirement are:
- Candidates may include experience from the seven years preceding their AFC® registration.
- Experience hours must relate to at least one of the AFC® Core Competencies.
- Candidates can earn experience in ten different categories and have the flexibility to choose what works for them.
The AFC® experience requirement can seem overwhelming, but the guidelines have been crafted to give candidates flexibility and a variety of options.
Life as a Private Practitioner: A Panel Discussion
Aspiring private practitioners gleaned from personal finance entrepreneurs Kimberly Rand, MSW, AFC®, FFC® (Dragonfly Financial Solutions), Tiffany Grant, AFC® (Money Talk with Tiff), and Glen Cone, AFC® (“Generation Preservation: My Story in Trusted Hands” co-author). Kimberly focuses mostly on business-to-business consulting for nonprofit organizations seeking to provide financial coaching services in addition to working privately with high net-worth financial coaching clients of her own. Tiffany focuses on serving black and brown Millennial and Generation Z clients who locate her services through her social media influencer platform. Glen works with older adults on milestones that come after retirement. Through Kimberly’s social work and consulting experience starting in the 1990s, Tiffany’s beginnings as a blogger and podcaster, and Glen’s expertise as a retired investment professional, the panel offered varying viewpoints to successful private practice.
Participants asked the questions of top importance to them in an open forum format. Questions included the topics of business registration, pricing models, grants, and more. The panelists responded using their private practice experience and ideas. Some suggestions are:
- Use a business bank account to avoid commingling assets and provide easier tracking of revenue and profits.
- Be consistent after choosing a pricing model.
- Seek small business grants and retain grant application verbiage to assist with future applications.
Each panelist provided advice from their entrepreneurial experiences as the discussion was wrapping up. Kimberly recommends viewing yourself separate from your business. Tiffany encourages practitioners to consider their value, find their niche, and adapt when things don’t go as planned. Glen suggests a heartfelt internal search to determine the target audience rather than attempting to serve everyone.
AFCPE® Career Week 2023 was packed with information, resources, and tools for success. Members can access event recordings on MyAFCPE and can continue the discussion with other professionals in the Connected Community. Don’t forget to explore career and networking opportunities from November 29th through December 1st during the 2023 Symposium in New Orleans, LA.
The AFCPE® Career Task Force is charged with providing support, programming, and opportunities for the future generation of financial counselors. This article was written by four task force members— Chair Meghan McInnes, AFC®, FFC, FBS®, Director, Center for Excellence in Financial Counseling; Maxine Gordon-Williams, CCC, AFC® Candidate, Founder and Personal Financial Counselor, Genwealth Consulting, LLC; Staff Liaison Zulairam Ruiz-Agosto, Member Services Manager, AFCPE®; former Staff Liaison Jarod Taylor, AFC®, Senior Certification Manager, AFCPE®.