Tips from Accounting Recruiters: Landing Your First Accounting Job

Entering the workforce for the first time can be challenging. Not only are you transitioning out of a university environment, you’re trying to land your first job. As finance and accounting recruiters in the GTA, we’ve noted that certain behaviours and personality traits among new graduates predispose them to success.

Accounting or Analysis?
There’s no point in applying to every job with “accounting” in the title.  You need to do some self-reflection first.  Do your prefer nuts and bolts accounting or analysis?  Answering this question is the first step in deciding which type of accounting job to apply for.  By deciding on a path, you’ll make far more efficient use of your time and likely have greater success.

Define the Industry and Organization
What industry do you want to work in?  It can be challenging to change industries (not that you can’t do it) so consider your choice carefully.  Think, as well, if your personality and general working style are better suited to a large or small organization.

Pros of a small organization:

  • Small organizations offer opportunities for cross-functional learning
  • Greater chance to interact with senior leadership more frequently
  • Fast-paced

Cons of a small organization:

  • Fewer resources – both human capital and financial
  • Lower salaries
  • Possibly less stability and formal training opportunities

Pros of a large organization:

  • Stability
  • More formal training opportunities
  • Greater financial compensation
  • More clearly defined roles

Cons of a large organization:

  • Can feel rigid
  • Cross-functional opportunities can be limited
  • Access to senior leadership not as frequent

If you crave a fast-paced, evolving environment, where you may wear a different hat each week, then a small start-up might be the direction to take your career.  If, however, you prefer stability and structure, with a certain degree of predictable routine, then choose to work for a larger organization.

Be Strategic
Your first job will probably not be your dream job.  What it will be, however, is a stepping stone to future opportunities.  Successful job hunters plan a few moves in advance.  So don’t turn down that first opportunity because you’re waiting for the perfect role in the ideal organization.  You might miss out on the key relationship or mentor that will take you to the next step.

Resource: Read this blog for career planning tips.

Follow the Learning
A big payday can be tempting when you’ve lived on Kraft Dinner for four years, but be careful about choosing money over learning.  Focus on which opportunity will offer you the greatest chance to build your skill set and advance.

Resource: This resource will help you decide between two accounting job offers.

Market Yourself
There are a number of ways to market yourself:

  • LinkedIn – One of the first places that employers go to find new talent is LinkedIn.  This blog, “How to Use LinkedIn to Attract Toronto Recruiters” is a valuable resource in your job search process.
  • Consider contract work – Contract work allows you to build your skill set, enhance your network and position yourself for a full-time role.
  • Networking events – Nothing replaces the value of face-to-face networking. Make sure you perfect your elevator pitch.

Key Takeaways
With the right strategic approach you can land your first accounting job.  Consider whether straight up accounting or a more analytical approach appeals to you.  Identify which industry and size of organization offers you the greatest chance for professional growth.  Market yourself both online and in person.  And always, if you can, follow the learning.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.