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5 tips for landing your dream accounting job

Learn five key tips from a talent acquisition recruiter for EY.

Recruiters are always searching for talented accounting and finance professionals. You can make it easier for them to find you by building your online presence to include key information that employers search for, according to Isis Montes De Oca, a talent acquisition recruiter for EY.

In Montes De Oca’s experience, you can increase your odds of landing your dream job by doing five key things: building your online presence, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, having someone review your resume, doing your research, and preparing for the interview process.

Build your online presence

When building your online presence, start by updating your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters regularly search LinkedIn for potential job candidates, so mention all relevant skills and experience on your page. Your “About” section is a great place to enter any keywords recruiters are likely to use in their search.

Montes De Oca recruits exclusively for audit, which she says can be very “black and white” in its required skills and experience. The specificity of some accounting roles means it’s important to include relevant details on both your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable

Talking to strangers can be awkward and stressful, but many people land jobs through networking alone.

“One of the biggest challenges to networking is getting out of your shell, because it can be very intimidating to reach out to somebody you don't know, but the results from doing so can be exponential,” Montes De Oca said.

She recommends getting comfortable reaching out to people at organizations you’re interested in and asking whether they have a few minutes to chat about their company.

“You have to have that openness to put yourself out there and be curious enough to learn about the other person,” she said.

Have someone review your resume

Montes De Oca has looked at thousands of resumes, so she is often asked what separates the good from the bad.

She says a resume should be no more than one page, easy to read, and include all essential information, especially contact information.

She recommends having someone review your resume before you apply for jobs. Your reviewer might catch mistakes or help make improvements. If you’re a student, seek on-campus resources to help craft your resume.

When asked if she recommends including a cover letter, Montes De Oca said a cover letter can be a blessing or a curse.

“If you're going to do a cover letter, it's very important that it's well-written and includes additional information that might not be on your resume,” she said.

Do your research on the company

Once you land an interview, you should prepare by researching the company and the person who will be conducting the interview, if you know who that will be.

Peruse the company’s website, search to see if they have been in the news lately and check their social media pages to get an idea of the projects or initiatives they are working on.

If you know who will be conducting the interview, find them on LinkedIn or the company website to learn more about their role and gather clues about the traits they might be looking for in a potential employee.

Researching the company can also help you figure out what questions to ask during the interview.

“You should be curious and ask a lot of questions because you're interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing you,” Montes De Oca said.

Prepare for multiple interview scenarios

Interviews are not always as straightforward as they once were, according to Montes De Oca.

Depending on the company culture, some interviews may be conversational, and others may be more structured. She recommends preparing for both scenarios, then following the interviewer’s lead.

In any scenario, there may be questions about your resume, so be prepared to back up what you wrote, Montes De Oca said.

It can help to conduct a “mock interview” with a trusted friend in advance so you can craft responses that highlight your relevant experience and demonstrate your suitability for the role.

She recommends preparing examples of how you would use your relevant skills and experience in your day-to-day life if you were to land the job.

Although many interviews are conducted virtually now, most of the same best practices apply.

“Everything is basically the same, minus the handshake,” Montes De Oca said. “Try to keep eye contact with the person, be professional and on time.”

For more tips on landing your dream accounting role, watch our webinar on building your personal brand. And become an AICPA student affiliate member to receive even more career resources.

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