Without a doubt, having decent qualifications matters. It shows a potential employer that you have the right knowledge, are intelligent enough to pick and pass the right exams, and have demonstrated laudable commitment to your chosen career, but are qualifications enough by themselves to guarantee you that job?
Whether you are coming to accountancy straight from university or college, are looking to change career paths or want to re-enter the workforce after a gap, recruiters will want to know about you as a person, not just an accountant. They will be looking for evidence in your CV and at interview that you are well-rounded and able to demonstrate desirable assets such as teamwork, leadership skills, negotiation and tenacity. Fee Only Financial Planners So how do you do that? Here are four suggested ways.
Have a working holiday
Finished your exams? Awaiting the outcome? Students freed from the shackles of revision can often face the prospect of long summer holidays, stretching out for miles in front of them with nothing to do until that all-important envelope containing their results plops through the letterbox. Tempting as it might be to hop on a plane to the nearest party paradise or sunbathing hotspot; this can be the perfect time to snatch up some work experience before you start to plan your proper ‘grown-up’ job applications in earnest.
Don’t limit your choices to opportunities with a direct link to your chosen profession. Almost any holiday job or work experience placement will bring with it lots of transferable skills, such as dealing with customers, handling disputes and coping with last-minute crises or changes of plans. And the extra money will come in handy too when you are buying those new interview clothes.
Look towards the greater good
Everywhere you turn, a good cause is clamouring for your support. Not just financial support, either. More and more charities are embracing volunteering, with many operating formal schemes aimed at getting people involved in their work and using their skills to help specific projects. From dry stone walling with The National Trust to hearing schoolchildren read, there are projects out there to suit everyone.
Image: A volunteer clears overgrown plants from an elementary school in America
Or you could choose something to match your accountancy skills. Sports clubs, playgroups and places of worship are just a few places that would welcome offers to help with the book-keeping. Volunteering opportunities like these carry with them excellent opportunities to hone the skills needed for a successful accountancy career. Patience, empathy and how to teach others are just a few examples. They are also a great way to meet new people!
Get your knowledge out into cyber space
Blogging. Everyone’s doing it. You’re reading a blog right now. Pick a topic and you can be pretty sure there will be someone out there writing about it online. Getting your words onto the internet enables you to showcase your financial knowledge or business acumen and offer useful advice. For example, an article on how to compare debt or understand inheritance tax will not only show future employers what you know, but also help demystify the financial world for your grateful readers.
Other online options include contributing to accountancy and finance forums. Again, this shows you feel confident enough in your knowledge to share it in public. Join LinkedIn and join some of the accountancy groups to learn more about your chosen career. Chances are, topics discussed here, and in other social media outlets will crop up at interview.
Flee the figures once in a while
Accomplishments in other areas, even those with no discernible link to accountancy could also impress recruiters. Taking music or dance exams shows a dedication to being the best in a chosen discipline, while model-making and cookery demonstrate crucial attention to detail and imagination. Perhaps you enjoy ornithology or plane spotting. Patience and the ability to keep accurate records are both attractive traits to an organisation looking to employ the best.
Image: a man and a woman performing ballet
Whatever your interests are, always keep one eye on your CV and work out how you can use your skills and accomplishments, not just those gleaned from your accountancy studies or financial sector experience, to enhance your application and chances of being successful in your chosen career.