Top 5 Checklist for Successful Job Hunting

It’s tough out there. Job hunting is almost a full time job in itself. Resumes, LinkedIn profiles, recruiters and job boards all need juggling and managing.

It’s tough out there. Job hunting is almost a full time job in itself. Resumes, LinkedIn profiles, recruiters and job boards all need juggling and managing.

So we’re making it easy for you. Our top five checklist for landing that next job will get you well on your way to job hunting nirvana.

1. What’s in a resume?

Your resume is the foundation upon which all job hunting is built. Recruiters probably scan your resume for less than a minute to decide on your suitability. That sucks we know, but it’s the same for everyone. So make it easy for them:  

  • Formatting formatting formatting. Bullet points are your friend here. Make it easy to scan and draw out some key points about you; recruiters won’t change anytime soon so work with them not against them.  

  • Be contactable. Via cell and email. Set up a new email address for job hunting, makes it easier for you to keep track of all those job alerts, applications and job offers. And please make sure the email address you choose is at least semi professional sounding.

  • Keywords. Use them in the body of your resume. Identify key terms relevant to your skills and experience (or desired job) and use them to help your resume to pop up during online searches.

  • Education. Hopefully you have some. But it goes last not first now you’re a grown up with work experience.

  • Career objective statements Do you need them? Our advice is there are a couple of reasons to use them; when you’re relocating or when the job you’re going for is a change of career path. “I’m an auditor but want to be an analyst at a fund” type thing. Otherwise save your breath and the space.

  • Proofread and spell check. Do we really need to say this? Yeah I guess we do.

 

2. LinkedIn for accountants

It keeps changing and improving so your use of it should too. Obviously you need a profile on there, but once that’s done, bear these things in mind:

  • Your profile is a searchable version of your resume. Be honest and genuine but put some thought into it too. This is not MySpace 2003.

  • Keywords. All text in your profile can act as a searchable keyword. Audited fixed income trading at Bank of America or experienced with 10-Ks? Get it in there.

  • Don’t ignore the skills list. It’s an SEO thing but all you really need to know is that it helps search engines to deliver your resume onto the screen of a recruiter and not someone elses.  Get your colleagues and contacts to endorse you wherever you can, this also supports SEO.

 

3. Networking your ass off

It’s for everyone, college students, public or private, there should be a will and a way for you all. It’s just the way bit that needs tailoring:

  • On campus? Go to several events.This is a numbers game for you.The more times you show your face, the better. A good campus recruiter is keeping a tally of who comes to every event.  Use the time at social events to get to know the people from the firm. Are they alums? When did they graduate? Learn about them and do your best to get their contact information.

  • In Public? Network internally and externally. Join interest groups in your firm, get involved in social events or campus recruiting, get your face known and remembered (for the right reasons). Attend CPE sessions and industry events outside of your firm. It is a small world and the six degrees of separation theory always applies.

  • Somewhere else? You don’t get out of it. Social media exists for a reason, use it. LinkedIn is your best starting point. See more on LinkedIn.

 

4. Cover letters – do I have to?

So you’ve got the job to apply for. Do you send a cover letter with your resume? Sometimes you do sometimes you don’t. It’s a tricky one, but here’s when we think they are important:

  • When the job is a stretch for you. Include how you’ll step up to the job and the skills and experience you do have that is relevant and transferable.

  • If they are requested. We guess you don’t really have a choice here. But beware of those job ads that also state specifically to not send a cover letter. Ignore them at your peril.

What to include in a cover letter? Follow these guidelines:

  • Start at the beginning. Make your opening gambit about expressing your interest in the specific job and or company.

  • Sell yourself. Be crystal clear in demonstrating how you are qualified for the role. Practise this on paper, screen or wherever until you can do it succinctly and clearly before submitting it. Waffle will not do you any favors.

  • Get personal. Don’t be boring, show you have some understanding of the company, their culture and personality. Try to connect with the reader that you don’t yet know by mentioning something relevant that you might have seen on their website. Fit is everything.

  • Proofread. Spelling, grammar, layout etc. Again do we really need to say this? Yeah I guess we do.

 

5. Smashing the interview

Ok so this is it. You’ve got a shot at your dream job. There are so many things that could go wrong. But you’ve got a polished resume, have created a well worded cover letter and networked your ass off. Now is the time to bring it all together in person:

  • First interviews are like first dates. Both parties know a little about each other and are open to finding out more. To avoid any awkward silences make sure;

    • You know who you’re talking to. Poke around on LinkedIn, you’ll be surprised who you might both know as in six degrees of separation. It will give you insight and stuff to talk about if needed.

    • You research the company. The industry its in, their latest announcements and news. Look at Google News over the past 6 months and find articles they’re mentioned in, setting up a Google Alert is easy and will send relevant articles straight to you.

  • Get your questions ready. Not having questions prepared for the end of the interview can be a complete deal breaker. Why? Because people are sensitive. Your interviewer wants you to ask about their company.

  • And it follows to know your answers. Your strengths and weaknesses usually comes up but so does the alarmingly open to interpretation “tell me about yourself”. Be prepared, have a response ready that reflects your personality and your career aspirations but bear in mind they are trying to get some insight into you as real life human being here, not just you as an auditing supremo.

 

With recruiting season just around the corner, now is the time to start putting some time and effort aside to brush up your tools and skills. Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at individual tasks and how you make it quicker, simpler and more effective to get them right, starting next time with our Guide to Creating your own Personal Brand.

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

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