Once you’ve made the decision to leave a job, it can often be the shot of adrenaline that’s needed to restart your career. Initially, there is often the temptation to immediately apply for multiple opportunities that catch your eye. However, before you hit submit on any application, there are three key things you absolutely must consider first to improve your chances of success within the Sydney accounting job market.
1. Figure Out Exactly What You Want in Your Next Role
If you don’t know what target you’re shooting for, you’ll never know where to aim. After making the decision to leave your current job, before you do anything it is important to determine what you actually want in your next accounting role. You don’t want to end up in a position where you have left one job you don’t enjoy for another one leaving you with the same feelings; this will take its toll on you personally as well as reflecting poorly on your resume.
The best place to start when establishing what you want, is to think about the reasons you’re leaving your current workplace. Ask yourself what was the final straw that made you want to hand in your resignation, and what the underlying issues behind that were. Was there something wrong in the way the company operated in general, a lack of personal development, or were you relatively happy and the issue was more to do with interpersonal conflict?
Thoughtfully considering each of these questions will provide you with a clearer picture of what you want and ensure you spend your time and energy applying for roles that support your motivators and career objectives. If you go into the job search process filled with blind optimism, there is a high chance that you could end up applying and potentially getting, (we’ve seen it happen!) roles that will give you the same frustrations as your previous one did. A little bit of planning as outlined above, can have a huge impact on the direction you take.
2. Carry Out an Audit of Your Online Personal Brand
The importance of presenting yourself professionally at interview stage is well known because we are all told that first impressions matter. However, what about the impression you give before you get to the interview? I’m talking about your online personal brand. An accounting employer considering your suitability will more than likely look you up online before inviting you in for a meeting. This is exactly why carrying out an online audit of your personal brand is so important.
As well as your LinkedIn profile, many employers will research you on Google, Facebook, and other social media networks. If a hiring manager found you online, would you be comfortable with what they found? Before submitting any applications, double check that your social media profiles have the appropriate privacy settings on, and the information that is searchable is information you’re happy for a potential employer to see.
LinkedIn also allows recruiters to search for suitable candidates based on their LinkedIn profile, so having relevant, up-to-date information displayed on your profile is extremely important for you in terms of being found for job opportunities that you would have otherwise never known existed. On the flipside, this also means that you need to ensure your LinkedIn profile is always “employer-ready” and will work for you during your job search.
Take time to analyse and update your profile before applying for a role. Is it representative of your achievements and career goals? Ensure your personal summary outlines your career objectives and highlights your best attributes. Also make use of the space underneath each entry in your job history to expand on your role, your responsibilities, oversight and finally your achievements.
Naturally, when making changes to your LinkedIn profile, you do not want to make the ultimate mistake of alerting your managers that you are looking for a new role. LinkedIn has a function where you can show that you are open to new opportunities without alerting your current employer. Simply go into your Privacy tab and then switch on “Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities”. While this is invisible to your employer in theory, in practice there is no guarantee that they can’t find out, so use this function judiciously.
To further improve your online personal brand, you may want to consider writing some articles relevant to the accounting industry, accounting trends, your accomplishments and the lessons you learned in the process of achieving them, or other professional opinion pieces. It’s often not as difficult as it may seem to get yourself published in a professional industry publication, with many being happy to have a conversation if you have a credible background and something interesting to say.
Building an online presence as an industry thought leader can add a lot of extra weight to your application and help you to become more reputable and prominent in your industry. Plus, the more you provide fresh, professionally-relevant content for Google to serve up to potential employers, the better.
3. Spend Time Updating Your CV
Before applying for any accounting jobs, you need to look at your CV with fresh eyes. If it’s simply a list of the previous roles and responsibilities you’ve held, along with your certifications and education, it’s time for an update! Just because your CV worked last time you applied for a job three years ago doesn’t guarantee success now.
Your CV is your sales pitch. You don’t have long to stand out from other candidates, so you need to make the effort to impress and really promote your skills and explain why you think you’re the best fit for the position you are applying for. Give real-life examples of how you’ve put your accounting skills and knowledge into practice, and explain how you’ve been able to make valuable contributions to the companies where you’ve worked. Highlight your accomplishments. A great way to summarise your accomplishments while highlighting your skills is to use the S.T.A.R. model – SITUATION (what was the issue or problem?); TASK (what tasks were you responsible for/what tasks did you need to do to deal with the issue?); ACTION (be more specific about the different processes, methods etc., you used to carry out your tasks); RESULT (what was the outcome?).
When preparing your CV and cover letter, tailor it to the role you’re applying. This may take a little more time but it also gives you the opportunity to explain to the employer exactly why you are the best person for the role. As I’ve already said, your CV is your sales pitch. So what are your unique selling points? Know your worth and ensure you let potential employers know the value you can bring. Also, a tailored cover letter will be appreciated by employers, as it shows you’ve got a genuine interest in the role and have taken the time to personalise the application.
If you’re considering your next accounting role, get in contact with one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants today. We’re always happy to provide our expertise.
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