The Class of 2016 is graduating into the best job market in years, especially for accounting and finance majors. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that in 2015, students earning degrees in finance and accounting were among those fields of study most likely to have landed a job after college.
It’s a job seekers market in the accounting and finance fields, but that doesn’t mean landing a job – especially a dream job – is easy. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your odds, so read on for tips on how to land your dream job right after college.
Develop Your Network
The old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has persisted through the years because there’s truth in it. Skills are important, but developing relationships with people who want to help you succeed can open doors that would otherwise remain closed.
Throughout your college career, you’ve developed relationships with professors, employers, advisers and other students that can be invaluable during your job hunt and beyond. Set up a LinkedIn profile connect with the people you’ve met along the way.
Don’t limit your networking to social media. Attending the networking events of professional societies is a great way to meet local professionals and community leaders and expand your network outside of the college community. These groups love having students attend lunches and social events and will be happy to help make introductions. A large, active network (both online and off) will serve you well throughout your career.
The next step to finding your dream job is knowing what that dream job is. Make a list of positions and employers that interest you. Now that you have a robust and active network, check out their connections on LinkedIn. If your connections know someone at your dream company or doing your dream job, ask for an introduction or send a request to connect on LinkedIn. Don’t just send the canned invitation, personalize it to let them know you have a mutual connection and why you admire their career.
Once you’ve made a connection, ask for an informational interview. Informational interviews can help solidify connections and give you better insight into the career and company you want to pursue. Always follow up with a handwritten thank you note.
Do research that goes beyond just checking out the company’s website. See if former employees have posted reviews on sites like glassdoor.com or vault.com. Look for mentions in the media and follow them on social media to get a feel for the company culture.
Build Your Resume
College is a great time to start collecting relevant work experience, volunteer opportunities, and internships. Even if every job isn’t directly related to the career you’re pursuing after school, you’re gaining skills and experience in customer service, technology, and teamwork that can translate in some way.
Craft a resume that doesn’t just focus on descriptions of your daily duties. Think about what you achieved and focus on that, using quantifiable achievements whenever possible. Customize your resume and cover letter to each employer by keeping a master list of all of your relevant projects and experiences. The master list makes customizing your resume a breeze when you can just copy and paste the most relevant experiences for each position.
Work With a Recruiter
Recruiters are pros at connecting applicants with employers. They can help you craft the perfect resume and provide insight on the kinds of skills, experience, or intangible qualities that certain employers value.
They also have connections with a wide range of employers and other professionals. Some of the best jobs are never listed on a job board because they’re filled through word of mouth long before the job is posted. Talk to a recruiter about where you want to work. They’ll often be able to reach out to their contacts at that company to sing your praises and get your resume in front of decision makers.
It’s never too early to start building the connections and experiences that will eventually lead you to your dream job. To let us help, contact your local Accounting Principals branch.