The fact that you even have enough interest in professional development to open this article means that you are probably already sweet so I will just be restating what you already know. Either way, keep reading because you’re here now anyway.
I suppose I better start this with some context on what I actually believe an awesome Paraplanner is. Now to be straight, I consider myself to be somewhat of a meh Paraplanner. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got tricks in Word that you have never seen before but my technical skills are somewhat shocking. So, I personally don’t think I am an awesome Paraplanner, but I have a whole team of them and they are something you have to see to believe.
So here are some tips on what I look for when growing our team that I think will apply even if you aren’t a contractor.
Initiative – this is the first point for me because I think all skills can easily be taught but if you don’t show initiative, I can’t help you. This can be in forms of reading between the lines of Adviser notes, upgrading a flow chart for simplicity or understanding or finding a more effective way of completing a task.
Reliability – it will become very clear very quickly if you are someone who over promises and under delivers. Occasions where Advisers need something at short notice do happen and it’s important to be someone they can trust that you will deliver when you say so.
Writing skills – the primary purpose of a SOA is to explain the advice to the client so what you are saying needs to be simple and clear. Think of it like a mechanic trying to explain to you what’s wrong with your car, the more jargon and technical terms they use, the harder it is to follow. As a rule of measure, SOA’s should be able to pass the ‘would my mum understand this?’ rule.
Experience – put simply, just get some. Every Adviser is different. They have different ways of delivering advice, keeping notes, relaying information and preferences on how they like their SOA’s. The more you work for, the more diverse your Paraplanning skills.
– let me be straight, Paraplanning can be tough. The majority of your role is producing a document that is critiqued by the Adviser and Client. If you have stuffed up, it’s likely to come up in the meeting, leaving the Adviser red faced and potentially result in the client losing confidence in the advice. Be super duper thorough with your checking. A great method of checking for me is to write the SOA, do a quick read through and come back to it after a day or two to do a final check. In doing this, I find that I forget the advice details and read it a little more like a client.
Now none of the above are revelations but rarely do I come across Paraplanners who embody them all. So, my advice to you (and no, you will not be receiving a SOA for this) is do a quick personal assessment. It may be worthwhile having a chat to your Adviser to identify your strengths and weaknesses and from there, make a conscious effort every day to make small improvements.
And, when you feel as though you have all of the above, give me a call (no, but seriously).