When it comes to landing a new job, accountants and finance professionals could all benefit from thinking more like marketers or sales people. Even those at the very top of their field may feel that their softer skills like communication and building rapport may be lacking, leading to a confidence crisis when it comes to the all-important ‘sales pitch’ at interview stage.
While you might be technically brilliant, you may struggle to stand out from the crowd if you focus only on your technical skills in your accounting and finance job-search. Showing your versatility and diverse skill-set can really help you stand-out from the crowd.
To help differentiate themselves, finance and accounting professionals must be able to articulate what makes them excellent. To do this, you must be able to identify 4 or 5 key areas that are unique to them and will impress their audience. We recommend focusing on leadership, business partnering/stakeholder management and your ability to drive change. Read on to learn all the essential steps you need to take to ace your accounting and finance job-search.
Get the ‘basics’ right
- Update your CV. Make it the best possible reflection of you, your technical attributes, your personal qualities and most importantly your achievements. Make sure you convey the legacies you have built/left behind in previous roles.
- Give your LinkedIn profile an overhaul. Investing some time tweaking your credentials can really make a difference to your accounting and finance job-search.
- Create a Personal Development Plan. Having a clearly written plan of strengths, weaknesses and intended direction is a great motivator.
“Consider what kind of leadership style and culture is needed to enable you to thrive in your role. This will help elevate your career to greater heights.”
Raise your profile
- Update or fine-tune your personal brand.
- Invest time and energy in extending your networks (both your social and professional community). Even a handful of close contacts can support you and act as your advocates across your accounting and finance job-search journey. Connect with people who share your values and will happily recommend you internally when an opportunity arises.
- Connect with a high-quality recruitment consultant, who can connect you with top employers and tap into the hidden job market. A consultant you “trust” who understands your offering and will back you with their clients if there is resistance.
“Work with a recruitment consultant who has extensive experience in the market, therefore understands the cultures existing across different companies and making them best placed to find the right ‘cultural fit’ for you.”
Focus on the ‘soft’ sell
- Selling your soft skills is just as important as demonstrating your technical abilities. Once selected on a short list, you can assume technically all of you are excellent and it becomes a level playing field. The soft skills become the point of differentiation.
- Desirable ‘soft’ skills include leadership experience, the ability to influence people, a high-level of emotional intelligence (EQ) and excellent communication skills.
- Provide concrete examples of your ‘soft’ skills, e.g. “In my previous role I not only took care of monthly reporting, I led an automation project and helped secure funding for…”
“We are entering the ‘Golden Era’ for accountants where the CFO and CEO relationship is critical to form and execute successful strategies. Influencing, engaging, building deep relationships especially with non-finance stakeholders is key with the ultimate goal of finance is to become the “trusted advisor”.
Practice makes polished
- Discuss your key selling points with one of Moir Group’s recruitment consultants– they will help to guide you and your approach to specific roles during your accounting and finance job-search.
- Practice your ‘elevator pitch’. Clearly understand what your “value proposition” is and also know what you need from them in order to be at your best. Refer back to your Personal Development Plan here.
- Do an interview trial-run with a friend or professional contact and ask for honest feedback.
Think outside the box
- You may consider taking a contract position as a stop-gap, or as a way of transitioning into a permanent role.
- Be agile and open to all opportunities. “You don’t know what you don’t know”.
After interviewing one of our candidates in 2020, the client offered her an entirely different, permanent role that was better suited. It was a great outcome for all.
- Pro-bono work may help lift your spirits, make new contacts and keep your experience relevant.
Don’t let the job-search get you down
And finally, it’s important to remember that rejection comes with the territory when embarking on your accounting and finance job-search. Feeling defeated is, of course, a normal part of the job-search process but it’s important to maintain your perspective and take time to look after your physical and mental health. It is a numbers game, the more you persist and stay positive, the better your chances will be to secure your next role.
Working on your personal brand by following some of the steps we have outlined will keep you focussed, motivated and ready to ‘sell yourself’ as effectively as possible.
We can help.
At Moir Group, we believe that a satisfying job means a fulfilling life. Our consultants take a hands-on approach with candidates, offering advice and support to set you up for success in your accounting and finance job-search.
If you would like help in finding the right accounting and finance role, get in touch.