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5 Tips for Applying to your First Accounting Job

As graduation approaches, the thought of getting a job in accounting can be intimidating. Accounting firms often look for individuals with experience, so getting started in this field can be difficult. Before you dust off your resume and hit the pavement, make sure to follow these tips for landing your dream job.

1. Personalize Your Resume

Every company has a unique culture and vision that they want to uphold. When hiring an accountant, they will look for applicants who fit in with the company culture. As you apply for jobs, make sure that your resume is tailored for the specific job and company that you want to work for. Even if you have limited experience, you can draw on your education and special projects in school to improve your resume. Leadership roles and positions with responsibility will help you show that you would be an excellent employee, even if these positions are not directly related to accounting. Every resume, cover letter and career statement should be customized for each position that you apply for.

2. Obtain a Graduate Degree

If you have an undergraduate degree in accounting and still cannot get a job, it may be time to consider a graduate degree. Companies are more likely to hire an individual with more education or more experience, so this move can help you to get your first position. Fortunately, there are many online accounting programs that can help you get a higher level of education without the inflexibility of an on-campus option. You can work at an internship and gain experience in the field while you pursue your next degree.

Resource: If I Already Have My Bachelor’s in Accounting, is a Master’s in Accounting Worth It?

3. Be Persistent

There are some firms who expect applicants to call them back. They want to hear from the applicant because it shows that you genuinely care about the job position. At the very least, calling the firm will help to differentiate you from every other applicant. Be polite when you call because pushiness will only make the company less inclined to hire you.

4. Pass the CPA Exam

There are people employed as accountants and bookkeepers who have never received their CPA certification. If you get certified as a CPA, you will have a better resume than these individuals. Take time to study for the exam because many people fail on their first attempt. Do not put off this exam for later because it will only become harder to pass over time.

5. Network Constantly

Before you begin any job search, start by networking with potential employers, co-workers and industry leaders. Often, accounting jobs are given to someone the recruiter or an employee knows. By networking, you will be able to find out which positions are open before they are advertised. You can begin networking on-campus through career fairs, internships and professional organizations. The important thing is to begin networking right away because you never know which connection will help you to land a job.

With persistence and the right approach, you can land your first accounting job. While you are still in school, work on getting internships and networking with people in the industry. Afterward, make sure to customize your resume and take your CPA exam before you apply. If you do not receive a job offer from your first interview, do not panic. Applying for jobs is a numbers game. With every job that you apply for, you are increasing your chances of getting hired.