Are You Ready to Kick-Start Your Job Search?


A new year is a new beginning. If you’ve been thinking about another job, 2015 just may be your year. In the U.S., accounting and finance wages are expected to rise an average of 3.5 percent, finds the U.S. Salary Guide from Robert Half, and the latest UK Salary Guide shows a similar increase. Even if you aren’t looking, it doesn’t hurt to be ready; you never know when a recruiter or potential employer may contact you with a great opportunity. 

Take time to reflect

If you were job hunting in 2014, consider what techniques worked and what ones fell flat. Sometimes to move forward, you need to look back. Didn’t get as many interview requests as you thought? You may need to weed out weaknesses in your CV or resume and cover letters. Make sure they’re flawless and customized for each job posting; the more eyes on your application package, the stronger it will be.

Fill in the gaps

First, pinpoint the types of job you want. Next, figure out how well your skill set and experience align with the job listings. You may have the required certifications and designations after your name, but lack technical skills in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, advanced modeling techniques, Hyperion or Oracle. A good way to stay current with evolutions in management accounting is professional development. Understanding what you need to land your dream job is the best way to succeed in your New Year's job search.

Get the word out

You know to scour job websites, but there are several other ways to hear of openings.

  • Make sure you have an online presence. If not, start by making a LinkedIn profile and work on crafting a professional brand.

  • If you’re between jobs, inform contacts of your job search. But if you’re employed, proceed more cautiously; you don’t want to tip off your supervisor or colleagues.

  • Target companies you admire. If you wish to work for particular organizations, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Social media is a good way to learn about job openings.

  • Don’t ignore in-person networking. Attend conferences, seminars and association meetings. To make the best impression, dress well, prepare an elevator speech and print up business cards that link back to your customized LinkedIn URL.

  • Contact a staffing specialist. This trained professional understands the local hiring environment, is networked with area companies and may know of jobs that aren’t widely advertised.

Ace the interview

If you have the necessary prerequisites but find yourself not going further than the interview stage, that could be a sign you need to work on this portion of the job search. Research common interview questions and rehearse smart answers. But focus on more than just the right words. Work on delivering the responses as naturally, enthusiastically and professionally as possible. Be prepared for a few curveballs, just in case. Hiring managers look for candidates who have top verbal communication and active listening skills.

Finally, know what you’re worth before entering the interview in case salary comes up. Check out our Salary Centers for the US and UK, and customize them for your location with the salary calculator. 

Now is the time to kick-start your job search. There are many accountancy and finance jobs, and the salaries are higher than ever. Let 2015 be the year of professional victories and exciting new challenges.

This blog post first appeared in the CGMA Update newsletter from the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).