Whatever the reason you’ve decided to relocate, once you decide to move, it is important that you check out the area: housing, culture, schools, public transportation, commute times—and job opportunities. Because of the storied talent shortage, most accountants will have a relatively easy time finding employment in their new city. Still, having a roadmap for your job search will help ensure you find a position that will be a good fit for your personal needs and talents.
Here are six tips for finding a firm that will be a good fit:
1. Do a self-assessment. What kind of firm do you want to work for: large or small; traditional or cutting edge; fast-paced or laid back culture; opportunity for learning and advancement; firms where you know someone? Do you want to move within a certain time frame or are you flexible? Once this list is ready, refine it by ranking your preferences in order of their priority.
2. Evaluate the firms in your desired city. Make a list of the firms in the area. As you do, think about the things that matter to you: Are you looking for firms that have been named a “Best Place to Work”? Do any of the firms have a culture or a leadership team you’ve heard about and admire? Once you’ve finished, evaluate the firms on your list against your personal benchmarks and rank them in order of your preference.
3. Social media—personal presence checkup. When you post, whatever the platform, be aware of the words and phrases you are using. Social media often is the first place recruiters look. Review all online channels to be sure there are no photos that can prove embarrassing or comments that can adversely affect you. Think of how you can explain any you can’t delete in case they come up at an interview. Keep controversial opinions about religion and politics off your pages. They can be a red flag for firms checking whether you are a good cultural fit.
4. Social media—networking. Networking on social media is an essential part of your job search. Especially since you are moving to a new community, it is important to get to know other accountants in your new city. LinkedIn can help you connect with others in the profession who can then help you meet the people you need to know at your target firms.
Facebook and Twitter are less formal than LinkedIn and can give potential employers some insight into who you are as a person. Social media can also be a valuable tool for you to gain insight into a potential employer.
5. Recruiters, headhunters and industry-specific job sites. These three resources can be helpful in connecting you with your next position. In the accounting world, there are many recruiters and headhunters. You may even have been contacted by one of them. Online resources such as Accountingfly and broad-based sites like Indeed.com are good places to look for jobs. Don’t forget to monitor the career sites of the top firms on your target list. Open positions are posted there as well.
6. Interview and Relocation Expenses. It is sometimes difficult to interview at firms in another city. Apps like Skype, FaceTime and Viber make it easier, but sometimes in person meetings are required. And that brings up the sensitive topic of who will pay the cost of the trip and the cost of relocation. It doesn’t hurt to ask whether your expenses will be paid, but most employers will get around paying by saying “give us a call when you’re in the area and we’ll set up an interview.” Relocation expenses are negotiable, but as a rule, job seekers who initiate contact with his/her new employer should be prepared to shoulder these expenses.