Millennials Starting Out: 9 Tips for Finance and Accounting Careers

By Robert Half May 6, 2015 at 5:00pm

Like many others in the millennial generation, born between 1977 and 1995, you may be looking to launch a career in finance and accounting. But how can you get hired and thrive in today’s multigenerational workplace? These nine tips can help make it happen.

1.  Choose your courses wisely.

If you’re still in school, think about where you want finance jobs you may be suited for to take you. Then work with your adviser to find the courses that best position you for success in the accounting careers that interest you.

2. Get as much experience as you can.

Degrees are valuable, but everyone you are up against will have one, too. Explore internship opportunities to help you gain the skills that will help you stand out among job applicants. Internships can be tough to come by when you’ve been out of school for a while. If you’re still a student or have recently graduated, now’s the time to act.

3. Network, network, network. 

Don't just stick to Facebook and LinkedIn. Millennials are known for social media prowess, but it’s important to get out there and meet people in person who can help you throughout your accounting career. Go to conferences and seminars, and join professional development organizations.

4. Follow your passion.

Evaluate finance jobs beyond the salary they offer. What do you really like doing? Are you interested in solving mysteries? Forensic accounting might be a good field for you. Do you like condensing data so it makes sense? Consider specializing in data analysis.

5. Keep learning.

Another way to stand apart from other millennials is with professional certifications. Certifications show employers you’re committed enough to go the extra mile to further your career. It can also result in a salary boost.

6. Stick around.

Millennials are known for switching jobs every few years to gain new experiences or skills, but employers appreciate loyalty. Once you’ve found a position, rather than job-hopping, talk to managers about bolstering your skill set by taking on new responsibilities or through professional development opportunities. You don’t have to change companies in order to change roles and mix things up.

7. Embrace teamwork.

Teamwork is a crucial aspect of finance jobs. Look at collaborating with coworkers as a learning opportunity, especially when those coworkers are from a more senior generation. They’ve been in the game a lot longer than you and can teach you new approaches to problem solving and critical thinking. Couple your recently acquired skills with their vast expertise, and you could be an unstoppable financial force.

8. Find a mentor.

Some abilities, such as people skills, are not easily taught in the classroom or through online courses. But these abilities are pivotal to your ability to interact with clients and with each other in the office. Mentoring opportunities are ideally suited to this kind of skills-and-knowledge transfer. Mentors can help you with skill development and mapping out your career path in general.

9. Work with a recruiter.

Recruiters can open up many doors to exciting accounting careers. Specialized recruiters know what jobs are out there and work with you to find the position and corporate culture that match your career aspirations and personality.

Throughout your accounting career, treat every member of the intergenerational workforce with respect. After all, the organization you’re working for wouldn’t be a success without the collective talents of everyone. By observing role models while adding your own skills and talents to the mix, you’ll be setting a good example for future generations.

Do you have tips for fellow millennials looking for finance jobs to build their accounting careers? Share your comments below.

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