Stuck in present role - Next steps?

I’ve worked for a newsletter-type market service for over 9 years now, and while it’s great pay, flexibility, low oversight, etc., my career is stagnating here. The city I currently live in has virtually no options for charterholders(at least good options), but I’m moving to Madison, WI in a little over a year. Just going through the online CFA directory, I’ve come up with a list of over 30 different firms where charterholders work in that market, which is obviously a huge upgrade from where I am now. So to my question…

How do I make myself attractive to these potential employers? I don’t have any big-firm experience and this is the only company that I’ve worked for since finishing grad school(both undergrad and grad degrees are from a low-tier public university). Given that my current firm doesn’t actually manage money, the experience isn’t very desirable to most funds. I did play poker professionally(with a good amount of success) for about 5 years, so that’s something I can lean on, but outside of my CFA charter and that, I don’t have much to make myself stand out to them. I could obviously spam my CV to all of these firms and hope to get lucky, but are there any other things that I can do to make myself more attractive to these money-management firms? I’m in my late 30s now and fear that if I don’t make a career jump soon then I’ll end up stuck and will have to either rely on my present employer indefinitely or take a massive pay cut for a job that I really don’t want.

The job descriptions/requirements are all over the place that are both specialized and spread thin at the same time. SAP, Cognos, Python, SQL, R/SAS are some of the requirements I see in a lot of FP&A, or financial analyst/manager roles. You can’t add enough technical skills on your resume to stand out from the 1,000 others who applied online, many with fake resumes (yes that’s a thing).

The interviews I’ve gotten have mostly (I’d say 80%) due to internal referrals and connections, through past colleagues or grad school/college friends. Spamming resume to online jobs could work, but there’s a good chance of being overlooked, even with a stellar resume and the charter.

Find a job/company you’re interested in, then find a meaningful contact who can help you stand out with an internal referral. “I worked with X and I think he would be a good addition to your team” goes a long way towards securing an interview.

I’m in a similar boat. 33, in management consulting. Kinda sorta related to finance but not really. Good money, good work-life balance. Clueless clients and a lot of pointless projects because of government mandates. I want to work more directly in a FP&A role, but I’d almost certainly have to take a pay cut and a step back to take on something more directly related to finance. Mid-management career changes are always very difficult.

I appreciate the advice. Will give it a look