How to Get that Dream Accounting Job

These are unprecedented times we are living in with COVID-19 and many people’s job situations are changing, as a result. Given the crazy environment we are in I thought I could use it as an opportunity to write a couple of blog posts over the next two weeks, which hopefully prove useful to any of you job seekers out there.

After finishing tertiary studies, getting a degree and completing the first 1-2 years of full-time work in a graduate role, many new accountants are in a position to take the next step in their career.

So how do you approach your job search? It can seem daunting, and bring back memories of that initial job search, which, for many was a long and competitive process, being up against hundreds of graduates for each and every role, Once you have got this first role under your belt the landscape changes and the market is very much in the favour of the candidate.

As an accountant, your career options are strong. In New Zealand in 2019, accountants were listed as a profession on the skill shortages list. Accounting is also one of the top 20 jobs in New Zealand.

Being an accountant gives you many career options  across almost every industry you can think of. So it may even become a little overwhelming that at this point in your career there are many options and directions that an individual can take.

Where do you start? Despite the options available to you, going straight for a highly paid accounting job isn’t always easy, nor is it the path that will be the right decision long term. Many find that identifying and playing to their passions and strengths will lead them to a more fulfilling place long term.


Here are the steps to take to get you to land that accounting job you feel passionate about, while also climbing the career ladder towards success.


1. Think about what motivates you

When you’re ready to make the move, an important question to ask yourself is “what do I actually care about?”

This broad question can be difficult to answer, particularly when it comes to work. Think about what gets you excited – as they say, ‘find something you love to do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life’.

We see it all too often, candidates who are looking for a new role as they are stuck in a job that they initially took because of the salary package. They quickly learnt that they weren’t as money motivated as they thought and are now an active candidate seeking a role that they can see themselves in long term, leaving them satisfied and feeling like they have made a real difference.

For some, their passion might be animals and the environment, or working for a Not For Profit; others gain motivation from the fast world of consumer goods; for others it’s fashion. There is no wrong answer. Think about what sectors are out there and pick one or two that you can get excited about working in, and making a difference in – whatever that might mean for you.


2. Learn all you can about your chosen sector

Start to learn all you can about the sector. Who are the big players? Who are the leaders in their fields? What are their backgrounds and how did they get there? Learn all you can about them and their businesses.

Network. Are there networking events dedicated to these sectors? For example, many not-for-profits will host fundraising events – can you attend these? If you’re interested in fashion, can you get tickets to fashion events? Many firms have “Business After 5” networking events, can you set aside some time to attend these? Are there any Meetups in the industry? These are a great way to meet people doing what you want to do and learn from them. Do your research and start showing up.

Volunteer. Start working in the industry now as a volunteer or on a pro-bono basis. Want to work for a not-for-profit? Do some volunteer work for them. For those interested in working in fashion – volunteer at events. This is not about doing a token effort and then getting a job, nor is it about working for free while someone else makes a profit, it’s about getting involved in the industry now because you care about it and want to be involved. The bonus is that you will be in a strong position to do paid work in that industry in the future. Do what you can to demonstrate your passion and willingness to help this sector grow and you might be surprised about what doors this opens for you in the future.

While volunteering and networking are not necessarily sure-fire ways to land that dream accounting job, putting your name out there and building these relationships can really assist you in the long run. Get to know at least a few people in the sector you want to work in, as proving your worth can definitely help you get your foot in the door – or at the very least know the right people if any opportunities do arise. It will definitely put you ahead of anyone with the otherwise same skill set applying for jobs without putting in the same effort.


3. Work with a recruiter. 

Word of mouth is, and always will be king. Putting in the effort will help you put the right things on your CV and speaking to a recruiter who has the contacts and industry know-how can be the difference between you getting your dream job or not. Recruiters are so helpful in getting that CV in front of the right people. Instead of just being another CV and cover letter that has applied to a company’s ad, recruiters use their consulting skills to ‘sell you in’ to the decision makers and can be the difference between you getting that initial interview or missing out altogether. Recruiters also often know about roles that aren’t being advertised elsewhere, so you are increasing your chances of getting a role by working with recruiters during your job search.


Published by Blake Mather


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