No doubt you’ve read lately about how the job market’s improving in a big way.
We’ve blogged about how accounting job listings have risen sharply, and for the first time since before the recession, we’re starting to see some candidates get multiple job offers.
While this is all absolutely true, perhaps it doesn’t seem so from where you sit. I speak with accounting professionals all day, every day (lucky you guys are so interesting!), and what I frequently hear is this:
‘I thought the job market was meant to be heating up. I keep hearing about how good accountants are massively in demand. Sounds like BS to me’.
The truth is, there are many people getting multiple job offers, and yet some really great candidates are struggling to get their first interview. Often these people are just as well-suited to the job. The difference is, the people getting across the line have that ‘X-Factor’ that isn’t necessarily related to experience or qualifications.
The good news? There’s nothing mysterious about what separates the people getting the jobs from those who aren’t. There are four basic qualities that anyone can apply to their job search to make it past the Simon Cowells of the recruitment world. I call them the ‘2 T’s and 2 P’s’.
Be TARGETED In Your Job Search
Research what roles you’re most suited to, and target them.
Too often I’ve seen financial accountants applying for accounts payable positions, or someone who’s decided to apply for every role they see listed on our job board. This rings instant alarm bells to a recruiter.
I think that often candidates simply see this as a way to make initial contact with an agency, but they’d be much better off just emailing or picking up the phone to explain who they are and what they’re looking for.
There’s no need to pounce on every job on display or apply for a role you’re not suited to just for the hell of it. It really damages your reputation. If you’re targeted in your search, we’ll know exactly what to keep an ear out for and can approach you when the right role comes along.
TAILOR Your CV
The CV’s that get me picking up the phone every time are tailored to the role in question, with specific examples that highlight why the person is suited to the role. Using bullet points with detailed, measurable, fact-based achievements is the best way to do this. If it’s not relevant, leave it out. Trying to use a catch-all CV that lists everything you’ve ever done is a quick way to ensure it gets deleted.
As a recruitment agency, we won’t be your future employer; but in order for me to put you forward for a role I need you to deal with me with the sort of professionalism you would with someone you were hoping to work for one day. Simple things really count; like keeping your phone handy, making the time to talk freely when I call and returning my emails promptly. Be organised and be prepared. It doesn’t look good if you arrive to your agency interview half an hour late and flustered, or half an hour early for that matter. The more professional you are, the more comfortable I’ll be representing you to our client.
Be a PERSON!
This is perhaps the most important factor in getting you across the line when you’re competing with people who you’re neck-and-neck with. Recruiters want to get to know you (and likewise, it’s nice when you want to get to know us – we’re a needy bunch who like to be liked). Ask me lots of questions about the role and the company, open up about yourself (within reason – there are some opinions that are perhaps best left for the pub), and talk about personal hobbies or networks.
The more open you are, the easier it is for us to find you the right job, with the right people, in the right environment.
If what you’re doing with your job search doesn’t seem to be working, it could just be that the right role hasn’t come up for you yet. But it’s worth taking an honest look at your approach to see if you’re letting yourself down in one of the ‘2 T’s and 2 P’s’. In this market, it could be the difference between having the X Factor or watching the fun from the sidelines.