How to stand out from the crowd in your job search

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January is a time when a lot of accounting staff look to further their financial career. Want to have the best chance of landing your next accountancy role? 

Have a strong online presence

We’re well and truly into the digital age so it’s not enough to have a printed CV and cover letter. Employers are likely to search for you online so make sure that what they find helps your case, rather than hinder it.

Online CV and portfolio creators such as CV maker are aplenty and very easy to use and can help you stand out from the crowd. You could even start up a blog – sharing your experiences of your financial career, views on wider finance and business issues, and your outside interests.

Make sure that you monitor what you share, though, so that it remains appropriate for prospective employers’ eyes.

Build up voluntary experience

A surefire way to make your CV shine among a saturated job market is by volunteering. This could be by offering your skills to local community organisations that need help with handling money, by fundraising for charity or by mentoring AAT students with their studies and applications.

Voluntary experience shows that you are diversifying your skills as well as giving back to the community. Even if you just show your intention to start mentoring or fundraising, it’s still a step in the right direction.

Showcase unique hobbies and interests

What better way to make yourself memorable than with the inclusion of a hobby that’s a little bit different? Which other accountants can say that they’re a nationwide belly-dancing champion or an expert chess player?

Don’t overdo it – employers are first and foremost looking for in-work skills. But mentioning a hobby at which you are successful can demonstrate that you can stick at something and are versatile. And, if you succeed in getting to the interview stage, it can sometimes be a good way to break the ice.

Don’t go too far to make your application look different

CVs can be generic to the passing eye: black, white and near-identical formats. But while it is tempting to make yours stand out from the pile – with colours, crazy fonts and graphics – don’t overdo it. There’s a fine line between unique and unprofessional.

Fibbing is a no no

Fibbing about exam results, achievements or talents is a big fat no-no.

You never know when you might get caught out. Claim that you’re a fluent French speaker and it’ll be sod’s law that your interviewer will be a native Parisian. Don’t take the risk.

Don’t sell yourself short

If you got the highest mark in your exam, make it known. If you secured the only place on a highly competitive apprenticeship, tell your interviewer. If you completed your studies while working full-time, speak up. As ever, though, be careful not to stray too far into the realms of cockiness.

Lily Howes is a freelance journalist and content editor.

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