Investor Relations as a Career Choice

I have the pleasure of speaking to students about careers in investor relations on a regular basis. Their number one question: what skill sets do I need to get an IR job?

Not an easy question to answer because IR requires a multi-disciplinary approach. I have worked with extremely effective professionals whose academic backgrounds range from journalism (my route into the business) and law to commerce and accounting.

The common ground is the ability to think and act strategically. That is, to think like a CEO and an investor, because we work directly for one and indirectly for the other, and to act by developing communications programs that enhance understanding between our two masters.

There are a number of soft and hard skills required. As I tell the students who ask, my journalism degree and time spent at CBC and CKO Radio took me only to the ground floor. From there, it was a combination of on-the-job training and lots of extra-curricular learning, in part, courtesy of the Canadian Investor Relations Institute (which has just launched a certification program which I highly recommend) and the Canadian Securities Institute.

Managing all aspects of my own business, from finance to marketing and sales for more than a decade also helped to make me truly appreciate the challenges and rewards of business leadership and ownership. Serving on the board of CIRI and prior to that a community charity also increased my appreciation for how good communications can fuel good strategy.

IR today is a great career – made all that much greater by the diversity of people practicing it.