As a recruiter, I have seen some good, some bad and some ugly CVs cross my desk. There are a couple of things which an accountancy CV should always contain and similarly, a few things which should never appear.
Below I will discuss in a number of points how you, as an accountant, can grab the attention of the prospective audience i.e. recruiters or HR professionals and secure yourself an interview.
The one thing you are looking to gain from your CV is an interview and hopefully, at the end of the process, a job. The first thing we should realise is that a HR professional or recruiter takes only 10-15 seconds to decide whether they are going to delve deeper into your CV and discover what you can offer.
So to grab their attention you should include a short summary of yourself which is essentially a description of what an employer would be getting if they hired you.
“A highly experienced ACA big 4 qualified accountant with 3 years PQE in a global FMCG multinational. Highly adaptable team member with strong communication skills. Looking for a role with a progressive multinational in a commercial finance capacity.”
As a finance professional, your qualifications and certificates are some of the first things employers or HR will look for on your CV. For this reason you need to put exact details of your education and how proficient you were in each area, for example: 1st time pass ACA.
The same goes with your degree or college achievements. You need to include the level of the qualification, the name of the degree and the name of the college not to mention the dates which you attended.
I would also include your leaving certificate points and results here to save the employer looking for them later in the process.
Experience and Achievements
When listing the companies you have worked for, my opinion is that you should use the same format every time. The experience should be listed from the most recent back to the beginning of your career. Each role must list the company name, dates employed, industry, monetary turnover and your position.
If you have worked in a number of roles in the one company, you need to clearly specify the continuity of your time there and the different positions you held.
For each role I would separately list your responsibilities and achievements and list them in the third person. Describe your responsibilities according to the requirements of the job specification you are applying for.
As an accountant or finance professional, the more senior you are, the more important your achievements become. Potential employers want to see where you have run projects, cut costs, improved processes and generally exceeded expectations.
IT and Software Skills
These are extremely important to have on your CV as a role with a prospective employer could depend on the systems exposure you have had. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times I have had to do a specific search for an accountancy package or system and began my search from there.
If you happen to be a super user of any system, again have it noted in black and white. It could be the difference in you or someone else getting the job, and I have seen it happen.
Skills and Hobbies
This area of an Accountancy CV is difficult to advise on. I would recommend that skills such as fluency in a language should always be included and even have their own section but if you would like to list them here that is also ok.
I would not recommend you put skills like “fastest pint drinker” on your CV but at the same time, an innocent skill or achievement like being a beauty pageant winner or Ireland’s strongest man can alienate you or intimidate the interviewer so always be careful in that regard.
The reality is, you will not do yourself any harm leaving hobbies off your CV altogether but this is something to take on a case by case basis and speak to your recruiter if you are unsure.
9 out of 10 recruiters will agree with me when I say that seeing a CV with a number of grammatical or spelling errors is a major annoyance.
The opinion is that if a candidate cannot take care while writing their CV, how much care and effort are they going to put into the role?
Your CV is a ticket to an interview and can get you in front of the right people so there are no excuses if you cannot do a simple spell check before you send it off.
Posted by Recruitment Consultant, Sigmar on 4 December 2017
3 Useful Ways to Organise Yourself & Get Things Done
3 Useful Ways to Organise Yourself & Get Things Done
Being organised is a very important skill and it’s one that anyone can learn. If you feel like you are overwhelmed in work, then you need to start being organised. Here are 3 useful ways you can start today. Start Your Day Right In work it can often happened that you are overrun with many different tasks and it can be difficult to know how to structure your day productively. Come in 15-30 minutes before you start work to organise yourself. Make sure your desk is tidy and you lay out all the tasks you need in a notebook or using an online tool such as Google Tasks or Google Calendar. Write a list of what you need to do today and a list of the deadlines you have for the week. Taking these 15 minutes to do this in the morning will make your day more productive and help you to get more done throughout the day. Prioritise Once you know what you want or need from your work day, the next step is to learn what tasks in your day are the most important. One of the key elements to being organised is being able to prioritise the important stuff and know what needs your time. A handy way to decide this is using the below table. For every task you need to complete, you should evaluate each one by placing it in the below table. You should never have more than two priorities that fall in the box of ‘urgent and important’. The rest fall under the other categories of ‘important and not urgent’, ‘urgent but not important’ and ‘not urgent and not important’. Always structure your time around the urgent and important things. Get inspired with this short film of a professor explaining to his class the importance of prioritising and using one's time wisely. Ask For Help Most days you will handle your workload just fine on your own but every now and again when you see your to-do list is particularly long sometimes the best (and only) way to get things done is to ask your boss or a colleague for help. If you have too many urgent and important items on your to-do list, you should go to your boss to look at delegating some of your workload or adjust deadlines. Missing a deadline is much worse than letting someone know in advance that you won’t be able to get something done.
5 Ways to Handle Constructive Criticism at Work
5 Ways to Handle Constructive Criticism at Work
While many like to believe we are great at our jobs, the truth is no one is perfect. In order to grow and improve we all need (and should welcome) constructive criticism. If you find yourself in a situation where your work is being critiqued, here is some advice on how you should approach the situation. 1. Don’t React Firstly, when receiving constructive criticism, do not react! This might be difficult because you may have spent a lot of time on a particular piece of work and felt quite proud of it, so the last thing you expected was to be told it’s not good enough. Sit back and collect the information you are being given and allow yourself the time to react appropriately. It’s crucial to let your boss give you their feedback. 2. Remember the Importance of Feedback Constructive criticism should never be taken personally. Feedback is so important for your learning and development. The person giving you the feedback is not out to get you, they are simply explaining how you can do better. 3 Ask Questions This is probably the most important thing for you personally. You need to ask as many questions as you need to fully understand where you have gone wrong and how you can do better going forward. This is the best way to avoid making the same mistake again. Learning how you can improve your work is the whole point of being given the constructive criticism. 4 Say Thank You You should always thank your boss for giving you feedback that you can learn from. It also lets your boss know that you’re open minded and willing to learn. Being grateful will encourage your boss to give you more feedback which will help you progress in your role. 5 Follow Up You may have agreed and accepted a solution during this conversation with your boss, but if it was a larger issue, you may wish to request a follow up meeting. This will give you time to process the feedback, get some advice from others and think about solutions for going forward. Constructive criticism can be the best way to learn our weaknesses in the workplace. Even though you may feel a little disheartened, try to remember the benefits this feedback will have for your role.
Why Job Seekers Should Use Recruiters
Why Job Seekers Should Use Recruiters
In this modern era of hyper-connectivity, with smart devices that are so smart you can be contacted through your wrist watch, is there value in using a third party to help you find a job or are you better off going it alone? Well, with the global market seemingly more turbulent than ever and every company sending out similar soundbites on why they are the best, it’s increasingly hard to know what path to choose as a jobseeker. Jobseekers have never had it better with companies creating novel ways to attract new talent. Whether it’s a mini-golf course on the roof, an onsite masseuse, gym membership or yoga classes, it shows companies are aware of employee turnover and that the job itself isn’t enough to attract and retain talent anymore. However, on the other side of things, a job for life is clearly a thing of the past for most of the labour market, unless you’re a health professional or a teacher. This means more diversity in a person’s career, certainly among millennials, under 25’s and graduates in particular. This also means more disruption in previously stable careers and the need to diversify people’s skills and keep an eye on the market. It’s a dynamic environment in recruitment with marketing and internal recruiters partnering to attract the best staff, so why use a recruiter? Industry Knowledge Most recruiters specialise in one niche of the market and as a result become market experts within their sector and can give you a complete roadmap to the lay of the land. Going it solo will mean that you will have to do your own research about each company you are applying for who will each have their own unique requirements. Your recruiter, however, will be able to provide you with a company background, describe the team structure, the key aspects of the role and what exact experience the hiring manager is looking for. A recruiter will help you decide whether the position is for you and keep you updated as things develop in the market you’re in. Recruitment agencies provide a completely cost-free service to jobseekers. They only charge the companies hiring, so why not have unlimited access to the inner workings of the company you’re applying to and assistance for free? Direct Line To The People In Power Recruiters have a direct line to HR directors and hiring managers. Why not make the most of this? With a direct line to the people in power, you get the inside information on what makes a company, a department or even a specific job so exciting. If you have high goals of progression or want to work on a set type of projects, you won’t find this information through a job advert and may not realise if you have made a mistake until you’re in the job. Another aspect a recruiter can help with is when it comes to negotiating salary, the recruiter will know exactly what can be negotiated and keep things on track. You can focus on performing in the interview and the recruiter can handle all the awkward/difficult conversations. Your Own Personal Advocate Who doesn’t want someone singing their praises? With a recruiter you have your own personal cheerleader getting face time with people in power and telling them in no uncertain terms that you were made for this job and could do it blindfolded like Sandra Bullock in Birdbox. In all seriousness, a recruiter is trained find out your best qualities in relation to the job and make sure you don’t get missed by the hiring company. They can also help with CV re-design and know the best ways to catch the eye of the employer. Also, as mentioned, people are jumping jobs a lot more now which has previously been a serious red flag for employers. However, your recruiter can help explain your motivations and elaborate on your CV in minute detail to get over the initial hurdle of pre-screening. Practice Makes Perfect Interviews are a minefield. Say the wrong thing or react the wrong way and you will be stuck in no man’s land with no way back. Nike have a motto “Think training’s hard? Try losing”. Every day a recruiter prepares people for interviews, so let the experts show you how to ace every interview. They have the practice that can make you perfect! They will already have given you the background to the job, the hiring managers and the company, so the next logical piece of the puzzle is on the interview process. Recruiters will have reams of documentation but will always tailor the preparation for interviews to each person to maximise the value. The difference between you and the next person competing for the job is usually a small margin. That could mean that advice from a recruiter, who has placed plenty of candidates in jobs, could be the reason you succeed in getting the role. The future is bright for job seekers with more opportunities than ever. Partner with a recruiter who knows the industry, the companies hiring and who can help make the jobs market easier to navigate.
How to Prepare for an Executive Level Interview
How to Prepare for an Executive Level Interview
Job interviews can be nerve wracking and good advice can be hard to come by when you’re applying for senior management roles. Our recruitment consultant, Louisa Poinboeuf has devised a list of tips for anyone interviewing for an executive level role. Guaranteed Interview Questions A job interview is designed to test you. You're asked questions about yourself and your experience and your response is supposed to show the interviewer how you can handle being put on the spot. However, this isn't always the case, because there are always guaranteed questions that you can expect which you can prepare for in advance. Tell Me About Yourself? This question can strike terror into the heart of even the most experienced person. It is designed to test your ability to handle an unstructured and possibly unexpected line of questioning. Your response will show the interviewer how articulate and self-assured you are. As with all interviews, preparation is key here, ensure that you have a 2-3 minute narrative prepared to demonstrate your strongest professional qualities. Start with your most recent and relevant employment and explain why you are well suited for the role. Practice this narrative. Try to avoid asking in the moment, “what do you want to know?”. Instead, when preparing, think of what the interviewer will be most interested to hear about and match your experience and qualifications to what the job specifications are. How Do You Explain your Job Success? Be honest without sounding arrogant. Use observations that other people have made about your work strengths or talents. Why Do You Want This Job? Be able to demonstrate why you have a genuine interest in applying to this company over any other company. What is it about them and this opportunity that grabbed your attention? What are your ambitions? What do you want from this role? What can you bring to the role? If taking on this role will involve you moving location, be able to demonstrate clearly why this is not an issue for you or your family (if relevant). It will always concern an employer if an applicant chooses to relocate to an area where they don’t have an established network of friends or family, so be prepared to explain your reasons for moving if this is relevant to you. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job? If there is any job hopping on your CV, have a very clear reason why you moved on from each role. It is expected that any strong Senior Executive would stay with a company for a number of years (minimum 3) before moving on. If this hasn’t happened be able to explain why. What Is Your Greatest Weakness? Prepare for this question. Demonstrate that you’re able to admit responsibility and accept criticism. Give an honest answer and be able to show the interviewer that you’ve learnt from experience and are still working on this weakness. What Do You Do Outside Of Work? Regardless of whether you are an intern or a CEO, every employer wants to know what type of personality they may be working with. You can tell them about any hobbies, interests, where you live, volunteering activities, what you like to read and whether you like to travel etc. If you can demonstrate that you live a good quality of life that is well balanced you will come across as a fit, healthy and happy candidate. Do Thorough Research Delve into the organisation’s goals, culture, strengths and weaknesses. You can utilise social media platforms like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. as well as the company’s official website. Consider conducting an in-depth SWOT analysis of the company. Be aware of recent press releases, news stories, annual reports and competitors (and what the competitors are doing). Research the current team and key stakeholders. Build Rapport Build a rapport with your interviewer and get your personality across. Personality fit with the organisation is key and how you communicate with recruiters and HR throughout a process will demonstrate how well you manage people. Stories And Examples Stories of your success and specific examples are key, these are what interviewers will remember most after an interview and are likely to be what is quoted most to the rest of the recruitment team. Have examples prepared that illustrate your strongest professional qualities e.g. leadership, business development, strategy etc. Tell Me About A Situation Where You Did Not Get Along With A Direct Manager Be honest! Everyone has had disagreements with a boss and saying otherwise would look suspicious. Be able to explain what your opinion was at the time and that you were also able to take a step back and consider the other person’s opinion. Tell Me About A Time You Failed Again, be honest! If you can’t give an example of this the interviewer might determine that you don’t have a high volume of experience. How did you recover from the failure? What was your decision-making process? What did you learn from this? What would you do differently now? Demonstrate that you’ve been able to turn this negative experience into a positive learning outcome. Ask questions The type of questions you ask will make you stand out from other applicants, do your homework and have interesting questions prepared e.g. ask why the previous employee moved on from this role. Just like any level interview, it's important to be yourself. Try to stay calm in the interview and be honest about your experience. At the end of the day, you know the answers to the questions because you'll be talking about yourself and once you know a bit about the company you should get on well. Good luck and if you have any questions, be sure to talk to your recruitment consultant.