About to dive in to hunt for an accounting or finance job? Even with an increase in jobs and a drop in unemployment, you shouldn't let the statistics fool you into thinking that landing that coveted position will be a walk in the park. If you're new to the market, you could use some job search tips.

Aside from perfecting your accounting resume, you have some preparation and planning to do before you put yourself out there. So take some notes on these four job search tips:

1. Stay educated

Taking courses in specialized, marketable areas can set you apart from the rest of the candidate pool. If you’re interested in a career in a certain specialty, like forensics, financial analysis, IT or management accounting, you can build credibility at the interview if you're familiar with industry-specific studies. And knowing what professional accounting certifications you need to pursue for your career will be helpful, too.

2. Network, network, network

Learn from colleagues, professor, supervisors and every person you know. These professionals can offer valuable insights that you can apply to your own work. If you’re not sure where to begin, research industry associations where you can start to network like a pro. Keep in mind that most successful accountants are able to develop strong interpersonal relationships with both superiors and peers.

3. Read and stay informed

Being aware of what’s happening — locally, nationally and globally — will take you far in life. (Watching an hour of “The Daily Show” or skimming over your Twitter feed a few times a day doesn’t count.) Take time every day to read articles about current events, start to finish. And if you haven’t already, get into the habit of staying on top of financial news from publications like The Wall Street Journal, Journal of Accountancy and The Economist. Reputable financial websites and newsletters are also good sources to help you sound like an intelligent, informed business person at your next interview.

4. Prepare to think critically

Many companies have shifted away from standard questions to asking more behavioral interview questions. The questions are asked in a way to predict your future success based on your past performance. They can be harder to prepare for since they make you think critically, but if you take some time before the interview to reflect on your previous successes, you’ll feel at ease and have concrete examples when others will crack under the pressure.

Think through specific situations, and consider: What have you accomplished? How did you accomplish it? What was the outcome? What might you have done differently? Of course, you’ll want to prepare to answer common interview questions, too.

Consider working with Robert Half, a proven leader in helping candidates like you find rewarding accounting career opportunities.

Editor's note: A version of this post originally appeared onThisWayToCPA.com and is reprinted with permission of the American Institute of CPAs.