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Building a Well-Rounded Career

At Citizens, we recognize everyone’s career journey is unique. We encourage colleagues to follow their interests and curiosity to explore new opportunities within Citizens when they’re ready for the next chapter. With programs, upskilling and networking opportunities, advice and guidance, you can build the career you want with us. In 2023, almost 30% of colleagues accepted new roles internally.

CJ, Head of Enterprise Experience Risk, has been with Citizens for 17 years and he’s got some wisdom to share.

The BEST part about Citizens is the opportunity to move laterally and become more well-rounded.

I was graduating from college with an accounting and information systems degree and really didn’t know what I wanted to do in the real world. An opportunity came up to join the audit team and I thought that would be a good way to learn how the organization worked and move on from there. I was going to use this entry-level role in Risk to figure out what I really wanted to do. While things didn’t happen the way I thought they would (I am still in Risk Management), the road I travelled has led me to where I am now and I wouldn’t change it.

My career could be described as less of a ‘ladder’ and more of a ‘lattice’ with lots of horizontal moves and opportunities to learn.

I always knew if the right opportunity came up I would know. Although there’s been a lot of change in my career, there was one shift in particular that stands out the most. When I moved out of the audit group to the business line it may not sound like a big change, but it was. I was known in the organization as an auditor, I was comfortable, I could do the job as good as anyone. But I was ready for a different challenge. I was very hesitant and asked advice of someone I trusted in the bank – someone I saw as a mentor – what they thought. They helped me see the value in trying something new and experiencing the growth and accomplishments that come from switching things up. 

When I told my manager what I had in mind, they were very supportive. My department manager even chimed in too, showing his support.

When asked why I’m still here, I share these reasons.

  1. The people and culture.
  2. The path of the company from 16 years ago as a smaller regional bank with big ambition, to becoming part of a global bank with the Royal Bank of Scotland, and then going public and continuing to punch above our weight as a stand-alone super regional bank with big ambition.
  3. The leaders in the company. I have had the benefit of working for some great leaders who I have learned so much from over the years.

Take control of your own path.

In sales they say ‘ABC’, which means Always Be Closing. For everyone – whether you think you want to move or not -- my one piece of advice is ‘ABN’, which means Always be Networking. Use all the resources at your disposal (inside and outside of the company) and create new ones.

And when you think you’ve found something, make sure the people you will be working with will be a good fit for you. Make sure the job is really what you want and aligns to your personal vision. Just moving up shouldn’t be the only goal -- you need to like what you do and who you do it for. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to take a chance.

Read more stories showcasing the unique paths our colleagues have taken to achieve career success.

Are you looking to continue your career journey with a company made ready to support your unique career aspirations?