Preparing for Your First Job

The job market has been very competitive and entry-level jobs, even for the accounting major, are scarce. So how do you maintain an edge over your peers? One way is to get experience in the field, even if it means finding temporary work or volunteering while job searching. The practical work experience you gain by working in the field will help build your résumé. If you have the time and money, begin to study for the CPA Exam. Employers value the credentials this designation brings. If you have the interest in technology, learn new skills in this area. Many firms are starting to go computerized, with existing employees lacking the skills. In addition, the accountant profession requires a team player, with good interpersonal and communication skills. Take marketing classes and sharpen your presentation skills to help broaden your career opportunities.

Accounting is an ethical career, relying on accuracy and facts.

Starting off your career, make sure you maintain a strong morale and work ethic. These traits will be valued by the firm you work for. Most employers require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree for a job; however, many seek individuals with a master’s. Continue to update your skills by taking courses at school or receiving a certification. Up-to-date knowledge in the industry will always place your résumé on top of the rest. Join trade organizations or associations, like AICPA. Members of trade organizations have a solid networking base, access to relevant industry resources, training seminars, workshops, and conferences. Lastly, be prepared for industry trends and become skilled in that area. Knowledge of management accounting is in demand, tax and health care fields are changing, and professionals knowledgeable in Sarbanes-Oxley, IFBS, and technical fields are hard to find. If you want to find a job over others, look at anticipated changes in your industry and become familiar with the topic.