In an incredibly competitive job market, applying to as many suitable roles as possible increases your chances. In a special National Careers Week post, AAT student Ceris Williams offers her top tips for landing that dream accountancy job
1. The social network
In the era of social networking many potential jobs and/or work experience placements can be found through word of mouth. Use the AAT forums and other student resources to make contacts – find out who is doing what and where.
Find out if any local accounts practices have an active social media presence. Leave them a note introducing yourself and enquiring about opportunities.
You can also use the social media to find out if any local practices in your area are holding talks or seminars (I was surprised to find out quite a few in my region do this) and to enquire if students are welcome to attend. Stay up to date with what is happening in your region by “liking” the pages of local businesses, and following their LinkedIn and Twitter streams.
Don’t even think of these activities as being ‘job hunting’ – it is an opportunity to find out more about the market you want to work in and to expand your knowledge.
2. Be alert
Searching the internet for jobs can be time consuming and disheartening. Make your job search more effective by setting up an email account to receive job notification emails.
It can take couple of hours setting up your search strings on different job sites, but in the long run it is time well spent. Going forward you will only need to check in on your email account to find all the jobs that may be interest to you. Here are a few of the sites that I use to source jobs:
Remember – the search terms you use could result in very different results being returned. For example:
- Accounts Assistant – will return matches that contain either Accounts or Assistant.
- Accounts and Assistant – will return matches that contain the key words Accounts and Assistant.
- ‘Accounts Assistant’ – will return matches that only match the exact phrase in quotation marks.
I recommend setting the search radius for your job hunt to at least 30 miles of the location in which you wish to work. The reason? Many employers have offices across a region – so while there may not be an opportunity in your home town at present, by receiving the job alert you will obtain the details of the person responsible for recruitment for the business which may prove useful for future applications. Keep a list of contacts – even if you don’t apply for the job.
I check my inbox at two important times of day – first thing in the morning and early evening. If a recruitment consultant uses the job posting software Broadbean to broadcast their jobs across multiple job sites, then the new posts for the day tend to go live at about 18.00, so it’s good to check in around or after that time each day.
3. Selectively speculative
A speculative CV is far more likely to receive a favourable response if there is a current or upcoming requirement in the business that meets your profile. You can use the knowledge you have gained from your research of the company to time the submission of your CV and make sure it reaches the right person.
An important point to note when looking for work experience is to find out what is happening at local firms. In particular, keep an eye out for news of internal promotions, and plans to open up new regional offices (you can find this information from the local press and from LinkedIn). If there are movements in the structure of the business then it would indicate a possible requirement for new staff.
4. Fun of the fair
You don’t have to be a graduate to go to a graduate job fair – and as HR managers will be in attendance it is a good opportunity to meet with the people who may one day review your application and ask them about the opportunities for AAT students in their business. Also keep an eye out for local careers fairs, or for small business networking events.
Finally, it is worth bearing in mind that when sourcing speculative opportunities you will probably be advised that there are no suitable roles at present. If this is the response – great. It is easy to take this as rejection, whereas in fact it is just that there is nothing available right now. Remember to stay in touch with potential employers and to keep up to date with their latest news.
And that’s all there is to it. With a little research and background work you can put yourself in prime position to strike the minute that ideal job comes along
You can search for more accountancy job opportunities by searching the dedicated AAT Jobs website.
Ready to apply for your dream job? Follow these cover letter tips to ensure you make the best first impression.
ceris.williams is an Assistant Accountant at Stoneacre Motor Group.