5 tips to secure your first role in compliance

Written by Judith Hawkins on Tuesday March 7, 2023

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

This National Careers Week we have five top tips on how to land a role in this exciting and growing sector. With many major financial institutions making significant investments into compliance roles, now is the time to make the move. Here’s how.

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 prioritise key tasks, problem solving, critical thinking, and excellent communication skills.

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 the new protocols and technology to combat them are regularly big stories in the news.

Moreover, by subscribing to specialist financial publications you can gain deeper insights into the key issues behind the headlines. Such publications include ICA’s very own inCOMPLIANCE magazine, which all members of the ICA receive for free. Discover more about all our membership benefits .


Keep an eye out for industry events and workshops shared on platforms like LinkedIn, including those organised by the ICA. These are excellent opportunities to meet experts already working in the field, and even 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, as well as flagging you as someone interested in making the move.

Prepare for interviews

This advice of course applies to any career, but it’s worth emphasising if you’re interested in compliance, and that advice is: failing to prepare, is preparing to fail. You should thoroughly research the companies you are interviewing for. Plus, 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 CV inside and out, as well as consider any sections that might prompt further questions.

Always have an answer ready to the question on why you want to join the specific organisation – 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.

Gain qualifications

Last but certainly not least, 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.

Obtaining a relevant professional qualification from the ICA will help you to stand out from the crowd, being recognised by many regulators across the world as evidence of competence and ‘fitness and properness’ to undertake compliance roles.

Discover how we can help you to become qualified and begin your career in compliance by exploring the range of courses available from the ICA.

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