As the summer months get fully into swing, the university terms come to an end, which means only one thing. Exam results! This is closely followed by many graduates start in the hunt for their first job and future career. By this point many know the path that they want to go down but this still leaves so many options in terms of a career path. “Where do I want to work?” “What type of business do I want to work for?” “What does my dream job look like?”
On top of the many choices and options available to post graduates there is also the daunting realisation of this being a highly competitive job market where the best jobs will go the candidates who have considered, prepared and planned there first career move.
With this is mind I decided to interview our very own financial recruitment expert, Mitchell Thompson who has a wealth of experience in being the very starting point in people’s career in accountancy. Mitchell, who has specialised in recruiting the midlands top talent for many years now, is wholly committed to making sure that both candidate and client are understood and catered for with an honest, transparent and ethical approach.
At this very important time of year, Mitchell talks to us about the importance of financial selection and how important it is to get it right when it comes to putting yourself out there as a candidate. He talks about the biggest do’s and don’ts when it comes to applications, CV’s & interviews and how, in this competitive market, you can really stand out from the crowd.
“So, Mitchell, you have been in recruitment for a number of years now in and around Birmingham, Can you give us a brief overview of the accounts job market in the Midlands”
This is the best accountancy job market I have seen for a number of years, it is ever improving since the recession. Every business needs to produce accounts in some form therefore there will always be a requirement for Accountants. At the moment I would say the market for new accountants / post grads is exceptionally good, and consistently improving.
“You deal with accounts professionals at every level from clerical to director on a daily basis, what advice can you offer to new graduates who are looking to start a career within finance?”
My advice is to think about it, really think about what sort of business you want to work for and why. When making applications to jobs do not simply blanket your CV all over the web, consider carefully every application, covering letter and CV on an individual basis – they should reflect why you are relevant for the particular role you are applying to. There is a lot of merit in using perhaps just one or maybe two agencies to advise you initially on how you get the job you want.
“Following on from this, Can you tell us what you might look for or feel is particularly important in a CV for someone looking to join this sector?”
This is a tricky one because every CV is different and they only give you a small insight into the person behind the paper. For a post graduate student, it is attractive to have a good placement year as part of the CV. It’s obviously not essential but following years of study; to have some experience in the field will always be a positive. If you cannot get a placement year any relevant voluntary or extra curricular workings will also add value.
“How important would you say grades are then when it comes to getting a good job in the financial sector?”
Grades are important; especially within the top firms however there is room to manoeuvre if you do not quite attain the grades you want. The ever growing accountancy market is made up of many reputable employers who are considerate of the fact that not everyone gets the academic results they set out for, you will just need to have that extra something to enable you to beat the competition.
“What can graduates do then to stand out from the crowd and have that extra special something?”
Something extra special is pretty much exactly what will make a CV stand out; interesting extra curricular activities, achievements and further personal development are always impressive. It is always refreshing to see an individual who not only says that they are motivated and ambitious but also shows this in what they have done.
“When candidates get their CV noticed, the next step is interview, can you share with us some top tips on interviewing and any big “no no’s” that we need to be aware of? “
I think to start with you need to get all the basics right, this might seem obvious but most people will be destined to fail before they even step into the interview. So be on time, dress smartly, make sure you have researched the company in appropriate depth, know why you might want to work for them and why your application is relevant.
If you are going to multiple interviews you need to make sure you prepare for each one separately and demonstrate why you would be an asset to their business, all businesses are different and all jobs want different types of candidate – your preparation needs to be appreciative of that.
” Thanks Mitchell, that’s some really useful tips – to summarise then, can you let us know your top 3 pieces of advise for our new 2015 graduates looking to get into accountancy ?”
Don’t rush, put a lot of time into thinking about the jobs your are applying to and why you are relevant.
Be prepared at every stage, this a highly competitive market where the best jobs go to the most prepared and considered individuals.
Your CV is the first impression and employer gets of you, make sure it is immaculate and contains as much relevant detail as possible.
– Emma George –