COLLEGE TIPS: Getting your degree is one thing and putting it to use is another. You have heard there is a high demand for finance and accounting professionals, but how do you get that edge you need to land an entry-level position? Here’s how:
1.) What to include in a resume: Because recent grads typically lack work experience, hiring managers may look for examples of campus leadership. Involvement in student organizations, volunteer experience or other interests outside of class could demonstrate leadership qualities. Be sure to include relevant internships and proficiency with software or other tools, as well as special skills such as fluency in a foreign language. Did you earn any awards, qualify for the Dean’s List or take honors classes? Tell about some of your achievements or special projects. Employers know these readily translate to success in the work environment. If you have past performance evaluations that score or rank you in various areas, you may want to bring these to an interview to show what former supervisors thought of your work habits.
2.) Dress for success: This is not the best time to express your individual sense of style. To be taken seriously in an interview, your clothing must be businesslike and professional. You want to be remembered for what you can accomplish, not for dressing inappropriately.
3.) Do your homework: Research the company before you complete an application or send your resumé. In order to make your resumé keyword-friendly, use the same action words that appear in the job description for a specific position opening. That will help your resume rise to the top of the consideration pile, rather than being sent to a folder with hundreds of general application resumes.
4.) Prepare to answer tough questions: The most common and perhaps the most difficult question you can expect in an interview is, “Tell me about yourself.” The best answer is a 30 to 60 second “elevator pitch” that summarizes who you are, what type of job you are seeking and what skills you have. You may want to include information about your major and any pertinent jobs or internships you have had. Just keep it brief and interesting – and remember to practice it out loud until you can recite your pitch without any hesitation.
5.) Project confidence: When meeting anyone, use a firm, confident handshake as you introduce yourself and use appropriate eye contact. When starting your career, first impressions that convey a sense of ease, self confidence and professionalism are especially important.
6.) Follow-up with a thank you letter: Very few candidates actually take the time to send a thank you letter after an interview and this is an opportunity to stand out from that crowd. A handwritten note, sent within 24 hours of the meeting is best, but email is fine if they indicate that they expect to make a decision quickly. Thank the interviewer for his or her time and include one or two meaningful details from your conversation. Hiring managers will be meeting with numerous candidates, so personalizing your message can be the difference between securing a new job or continuing your search.
7.) Why use a recruiter in your search? Recruiters have established relationships that will open the door to companies and their hiring managers. Many companies reach out to recruiters to help fill open positions before posting them publicly. When you work with Hunter Hamilton, our team can give you insight into various opportunities. We will guide you in positioning your education, leadership and experience gained while you were in school, to attract the attention of hiring managers. And, when we find an opportunity for you, we’ll help answer questions such as:
- How long has this job been open and why? How many other people are interviewing for this position?
- How many other people are interviewing for this position?
- What tips do I need for the interview?
- What makes me a good fit for the job?
- What is the company’s culture and would I fit well?
- What makes an employee succeed at this company?
Work with Hunter Hamilton and we’ll help you find an opportunity to develop your finance and accounting skills on important projects with great companies in your area. Because we take care of the hassle of job seeking, you can focus on advancing your career.