In today’s hyper-competitive job market, having an accounting degree but a distinct lack of experience can put candidates at a severe disadvantage. Hiring managers are interested in well-rounded applicants who are both academically qualified and who have the real-world know-how that proves their value on the job market. Employers sometimes hesitate to take the risk of hiring an unproven accounting professional because the training and ramp-up time can be a costly investment. Luckily there are a number of things you can do as a recent graduate to prepare yourself for a career in accounting and set future employer’s at ease.
Many colleges are able to provide opportunities for students to build experience through internship and volunteer programs. Be sure to take advantage of those opportunities while you are in school because they will form the foundation of your accounting work history and help make essential professional connections within the industry. Once you are fully independent of your academic institution, your options may be more limited.
Strive to gain experience by applying for staff accountant or junior auditor positions in a firm you would like to grow your career in. Or, if you are more interested in working in the private sector, consider creating reports for monthly audits or working in a budget department. Most companies have an accounting division and can benefit from your academic knowledge, so don’t limit yourself to one specific job type that might be out of reach at the current time. Building experience takes time. Invest in your future by developing the experience you need from the bottom up.
Promote Transferable Skills
Accounting isn’t all about the classes you took to get your degree. Skills and traits which make an accountant competitive in the job market are often transferable from other jobs or experiences. Promoting transferable skills, such as organization, team work, efficiency, and problem solving, will make your resume that much more appealing to prospective employers because they are able to see you have the potential needed to succeed within a position. Some employers will simply overlook a lack of experience if the skills they are looking for are present and you have a solid academic background.
Taking a Targeted Approach to Career Growth
Target your job applications for opportunities you are qualified for but will also provide you the change to learn and grow. Keep your 5- and even 10-year goals in mind while you are building the experience you need to become competitive in the job market. It is essential to create your own opportunities as well. Don’t wait for the work to come to you. Show future employers you are proactive and engaged in your career by starting your own company, volunteering for a nonprofit, or taking on personal projects that help you gain the experience you need to move your career forward.
For more advice on how to further your accounting career, or how to find your next accounting opportunity, contact the experts at Search Staffing Group today.