Are you interested in taking that first step into a compliance career but aren’t sure where to start?


The International Compliance Association (ICA) is a professional membership and awarding body. ICA is the leading global provider of professional, certificated qualifications in anti-money laundering; governance, risk, and compliance; and financial crime prevention. ICA members are recognized globally for their commitment to best compliance practice and an enhanced professional reputation. To find out more, visit the ICA website.

With many major financial institutions making significant investments into compliance roles, now is the time to make the move. Here’s how:

1. Identify transferable skills

Even if you haven’t worked in this sector before, you’ll undoubtedly have picked up skills and attributes relevant to compliance; it is just a question of identifying them and highlighting their relevance to a potential employer.

The following skills are all of value in compliance roles: attention to detail, ability to work as a team and independently, good time management, ability to prioritize key tasks, problem solving, critical thinking, and excellent communication skills.

2. Research the sector

Demonstrate your interest in and knowledge of compliance by reading up on the sector, keeping up to date with the latest news, regulations, and industry trends. Fraud and money laundering, alongside new protocols and technology to combat them, are regularly big stories in the news.

3. Network

Keep an eye out for industry events and workshops shared on platforms like LinkedIn. These are excellent opportunities to meet experts already working in the field and, potentially, the actual people who will be making the hiring decisions for upcoming roles. You might even discover vacancies that have not yet been advertised.

Don’t be afraid to ask those you meet how they got started in this sector; it’s a fantastic way to get answers and flags you as someone interested in making the move.

4. Prepare for interviews

This advice applies to any career, but it’s worth emphasizing if you’re interested in compliance: failing to prepare is preparing to fail. You should thoroughly research the companies you are interviewing for. If they are a subsidiary or part of a group, study the parent company, the sister companies, and the wider business, too.

Ahead of any interviews you should ensure you know your résumé inside and out. Consider any sections that might prompt further questions.

Always have an answer ready to the question on why you want to join the specific organization—it’s never enough to just want a job. Be prepared to explain why you think the company is specifically a good fit for you and vice versa.

5. Gain qualifications

A great way to help you secure your first role in compliance is to get qualified. It not only shows your commitment to personal development in this area but also provides evidence that you have knowledge and understanding to a certain level in a particular discipline. This is highly sought after by employers across the industry.

The International Compliance Association is a sister company to Compliance Week. Both organizations are under the umbrella of Wilmington plc.