Practically speaking, no one looks for a new accounting position anymore by pounding the pavement or circling ads in the local newspaper’s classified section. The key to finding your next employer is conducting an online job search — as well as preparing for other digital aspects of today’s career mobility.
Here are nine tips for being a savvy and well-connected job seeker in 2017:
1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile
The first step in an effective online job search is to make certain your social media profile is complete and compelling. While selfies are fine for Instagram and Snapchat, your LinkedIn picture should be a professional headshot.
Make sure the Summary is strong, as this is the second section employers see. For Experience, you can copy and paste your resume. One terrific option of this resource and section is the ability to upload presentations and other documents. As employers today search for candidates with excellent career skills such as written communication skills, it’s worth your while to take this extra step.
What’s more, accounting recruiters search LinkedIn for candidates to present to their clients, so it pays off to polish your profile whether you’re an active or passive job seeker.
2. Evaluate your digital presence
Just as you research a potential employer, hiring managers look at top applicants’ online presence. So take a minute and Google yourself. What search results pop up? Chances are you’ll see your social media presence, but perhaps also news articles you’re in or a long-forgotten blog. Rid your online presence of any embarrassing information in cases where it’s possible.
Consider the importance of Branding Yourself: 6 Tips for Professional Success.
3. Follow companies’ social media
Many large employers, including public accounting firms, post job openings on their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. You can be among the first to hear of such employment opportunities in your news feed by liking and following the companies you find interesting.
4. Store your resume in the cloud
One of the conveniences of an online job search is you can apply for a position immediately from your mobile device. To do that, you need to upload your resume to a cloud host like Dropbox or Google Drive. Choose a service that also has a mobile app so you can apply for a job directly from your phone.
Another resource to consider is to store your resume on a job boards. This way you can simply click “apply,” and your resume will be sent on to the employer.
Make sure you know What Your Accounting Resume Should Look Like This Year.
5. Sign up for email updates
Speed up your search with alerts sent directly to your inbox. Job sites like Indeed and Monster can send daily emails with employment opportunities that match the criteria you set up, such as keyword, job title, company name and location. Many larger employers also offer this option under their Career page, so don’t overlook this key resource.
6. Get savvy about applicant tracking systems
The online job search makes it easy to search and apply for a job, but that also means employers are often flooded with applications. To help them separate strong applicants from the weak, many human resources departments use an applicant tracking system. An ATS works by analyzing your resume and cover letter for keywords that the employer predetermines. For example, a staff accountant application may be digitally reviewed for terms like “CPA,” “GAAP,” “compliance” and “tax filings.”
To increase your chances of landing on the short list, study each job posting and come up with possible keywords. As you customize each resume and cover letter, incorporate these search terms organically, but don’t overdo it: Avoid “keyword stuffing” — the practice of saturating your application with certain words and phrases. Today’s sophisticated systems recognize this trick and may even reject your application if they spot it.
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7. Do some detective work
You can give your application that additional “wow” factor by showing an employer your willingness to go the extra mile. Say you’re applying for a job as an accounts payable or accounts receivable clerk. Search the employer’s website to see whether you can find the name of the AP/AR manager, and then address the cover letter to this person. If you’re really interested in the job and want to follow up on your application, you can email or phone the manager directly.
8. Get ready for video interviews
To accelerate the hiring process and avoid letting geography limit their candidate reach, employers are taking advantage of video interviews. This format is convenient and efficient, but it’s not without potential pitfalls for candidates. To ace a video interview, you need to prepare. Have a camera-friendly location all ready, and then test your equipment and set-up with a friend in advance.
9. Show off your post-interview professionalism
Even though much of your job search is conducted online, you may want to go old school after the interview. Chances are you’ll pleasantly surprise hiring managers when you write a note of appreciation on actual paper and mail it to their office. Search the company’s website for the address. Writing thank-you notes is one career move that never goes out of style.
The online job search is today’s employment reality. To make the most of your career in accounting and finance, master the digital aspect of the recruiting and hiring process.
Keep looking online for that perfect job in accounting and finance.