Getting your first job is one big challenge. Moreover, job searching becomes difficult if you do not have any experience in the field. Since most recruiters consider relevant work experience a vital prerequisite for a low-level position, getting a job can seem impossible. Furthermore, it does not help matters that the current job market is fiercely competitive. There are thousands of graduates competing for entry-level positions, with years of work experience. Because of the high earning potential of finance-related professions, there is a lot of competition in this field.
Moreover, getting an accountancy job without prior experience is more troublesome than getting other jobs without work experience. Since accountants deal with the finances of a company, leaders are often cautious of whom they hire.
The first battle is to get your foot through the door. And to help you win that battle, we have compiled a list of tips you can follow to get hired as an accountant.
- BUILD A NETWORK:
Remember, people hire people. Most firms operate on word of mouth and relationships. So a reliable system can be your biggest asset in a job search. Begin working on your network before you graduate so that you can fall back on your connections to get you an interview. Build online and physical links with the right people. Talk to your acquaintances and class fellows and ask them to introduce you to other people at accounting firms. You can go to seminars and attend conferences to meet with employers. Most people use LinkedIn to get in touch with industry leaders. When you meet prospective employers, showcase your strengths and capabilities in front of your connections. But, do not ask them for a job immediately since they may not like your overeagerness.
- GET A SPECIALIZED DEGREE:
There are many types of accounting jobs available for graduates and experienced candidates. Some fields specialize in financial analysis, while others focus on payroll. Having a specialty can be a strength when you lack experience. Since accounting is not a field-specific career, it spans across different industries. Accountants work with food companies, car manufacturers, and even sports companies. So, ensure that you stand out from the crowd with a specialized degree.
- APPLY FOR EVERY JOB OFFER:
You miss out on 100% of the chances you do not take, so it is always better to take every chance you get. Most entry-level job offers require at least two to three years of work experience. However, there is no need to become discouraged because of this. Some employers are willing to overlook job experience for the right candidate. Keep in mind that you may not hear back from every company. And always apply for entry-level positions since the senior level positions have higher requirements.
- APPLY FOR OTHER JOBS:
The best thing about an accountancy degree is that you develop relevant skills in several different jobs. Therefore you should apply to alternate positions after you have exhausted every option to get a job in your field. Some jobs that require accounting skills are bank tellers and bookkeepers. Not only will you earn money in such professions, but you will also gain experience.
Volunteering is an excellent option for those who do not have the relevant work experience for their field jobs. Most charities and no profits require bookkeepers, and you can fill in this gap for them. You can get some experience and feel good about contributing to the charity in your way.
- HONE YOUR INTERVIEW SKILLS:
You have got an interview call, now what? If you do not have the necessary interview skills, then all your effort will have been in vain. So you must work on your interview skills to dazzle the interviews. Be confident and speak articulately.
- WORK ON YOUR SOFT SKILLS:
Accounting and finance firms prefer applicants with the right soft skills. Since accountants’ role has evolved from number-crunching clerks to strategic partners, demand is increasing for professionals with adaptability.
- INCORPORATE TECHNOLOGY:
Many firms use different online programs to automate their processes. As an applicant, you must be aware of the most used programs in your field. For example, tax consultants must know how to use tax software such as TurboTax and TaxAct. Additionally, you must be an expert at essential accountancy tools like Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks. Furthermore, consider using business intelligence systems and analytics as these skills are in demand. Most firms provide job training to familiarize new employees with their software. However, having prior knowledge of the software and IT skills can take your CV to the top of the pile.
- GET A CERTIFICATION:
You can get a certificate to stay relevant to the field while looking for job offers. Such programs teach useful skills that supplement your university degree.
- TALK TO A MENTOR:
Mentors can help you navigate the choppy seas of the job market. Since mentors are experienced professionals, they will know the ins and outs of the finance industry. Therefore they can give you expert advice about how you can pivot your qualities to get a verified job offer. Some mentors also allow juniors to shadow them so that they can gain work experience.
- KNOW THE LAW:
Accountants need to ensure that companies are up to code in their financial practices. Therefore, it might be a good idea to learn about relevant laws. Read about tax and income laws to have a basic understanding of how they affect pay structures.
- HAVE A PROFESSIONAL CV:
Now that you have entered the job market, you must have a professional outlook. Showcase your soft and hard skills on your resume along with your certifications. You can also add a section about the software programs you are proficient in briefly. Go over your resume before submitting it to avoid any stupid mistakes.
Competition in the market is fierce, and looking for a job in such uncertain times can become very distressing. You might feel that getting a job is impossible, but you must not lose heart. There are many ways you can optimize your application. Since employees are looking for professionals with broad skill sets, it is a good idea to brush up on your soft and hard skills. Furthermore, a specialized degree and the right certification can also improve your chances of getting a job. You can ask mentors to guide you about seeking a job without experience. The first impression is usually the last. Therefore remember to be polite, confident, and professional. Get in touch with the employer after an interview to inquire about your prospects. Above all, remain hopeful and optimistic.