How To Expand Your Reach When Searching for New Opportunities In The World of Finance and CPAs
At VALiNTRY, we love data and numbers because they tell amazing stories that provide actionable insights. When looking at search terms used around “CPA jobs” the most common added phrase was the term “near me”.
This data tells us people don’t just want to find incredible opportunities simply for the sake of career progression. It indicates that while some CPA and Financial job seekers are open to any opportunity, most would love a new role that doesn’t require uprooting their entire lives. In fact, this data tells us most would prefer to stay in a location where they’ve established roots, have family, or can live the lifestyle they love.
Is it realistic to expect a great job when you want “CPA Jobs Near Me?”
However, finding the right fit can be tricky. There are so many jobs that are never posted externally. These positions can be with big public accounting firms or in smaller shops in towns of all sizes across the United States. VALiNTRY Financial works with these firms and fill positions in places around the country. This can sometimes include relocation but often it just means a change in the job seeker’s daily commute.
With our current economic prosperity, historically low unemployment rate, and strong job growth across almost every sector, financial and CPA included, if you are even remotely considering searching for a new job, right now is one of the best times to take that next step in your career ladder.
Sure, there are many job boards online nowadays that you can simply go and search the type of job you’re looking for, in the location you want, with the salary you desire. But we can tell you from experience that simple searches are never the best way to find highly specialized opportunities like a new CPA job. And searching online for a job is not nearly as simple as it sounds. Many variables can influence your search results such as your zip code, exact title match, keywords, and more. Just like when you google a a great apple pie recipe, the choices are can be overwhelming, and may not produce the exact results you are looking for.
As you might expect, we recommend you work with a recruiter or headhunter to achieve your goals but, regardless of what approach you take, your expectation should always be to expand the reach of your resume and have the best opportunities delivered to you quickly. To ensure your expectations and goals are met, you should always be prepared and we can recommend five areas for you to start with before you search.
Dust off that old resume of yours and give it a facelift. Check all the factual information on it, add any new experience, awards, education or certifications you have. Once the information is up to date, consider hiring a professional resume writer to give it some extra polish or let one of our recruiters review it. In talking through your experience, both may have some well thought out additions that can make your resume stand out from the crowd. Keep in mind though, resume writers can be pricey and the right one is worth it but VALiNTRY Financial recruiters are available to assist you for free.
Once your resume has been freshened up, move on to your online presence. LinkedIn, Brand-me and several recruiting sites depend on the content from the resume you just completed. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, get one! Almost every hiring manager on the planet checks your LinkedIn profile before moving forward with an interview or hiring process.
There are several immediate items to check before you can be confident your profile is ready for the scrutiny of hiring leaders. Include any information from your resume that you have refreshed. Just like your resume, your education and certifications should be updated, as well as any awards you have recently received. Tags for your industry, as well as sections from your resume, should be included.
To add to your credentials, don’t be afraid to ask current and past colleagues to write a recommendation for you. You may be surprised by what they remember about working with you and can include to extol your talents. Many professionals we know actually prefer you provide them with a few talking points in advance to help them get started with their recommendation and to ensure they focus on the message you want to convey to others. This is your opportunity to truly craft the message that will help sell you as a great team member so don’t be shy!
As a final thought, consider contacting a local professional photographer for a new headshot. Make sure to check their body of work thoroughly. Prepare for your photoshoot appropriately by either hiring a stylist for your hair and make-up (yes, men wear it for photos) or taking special care to ensure your new headshot will be a professional representation of you. You don’t want your LinkedIn photo (or other social media photos) to inadvertently get in the way of your next career step.
NEED MORE IDEAS? A great article on some LinkedIn profiles and why they stand out can be found here:
Learn Something New
Think about what certifications or education you might be missing that would push you to be a greater hire than the next person. Do you have everything you need? Are there any additional industry-related certificates or credentials that you could add? Think beyond the standard CEUs for recertification, as many types could make you the standout resume and improve your hire-ability ranking. For example, Lean Six Sigma is not an obvious choice, but it lends credibility and adds some extra heft to your credentials especially if you want to focus on manufacturing or industrial accounting roles.
You could also take online university courses or gain additional certification in an area you feel would make you more specialized or even more rounded it will take extra time and research. The key is, as soon as you start a program or course, you can always list it as “In Progress” with an expected completion date on your resume in the meantime. This serves to not only show you are actively engaged in the industry, but it also shows you are working hard to improve yourself and stay on top of the financial industry’s many changes.
Meet New People
We also strongly encourage you to be active in your local financial networking groups. Although every meeting or event might not directly benefit you immediately , there is no limit to the long-term benefit you will see from networking and being involved with your peers. Though you may already belong to the national AICPA, consider other groups like the Society of CPAs or the American Institute of CPAs. You can also get more involved with these groups by participating in their conferences and local events. Registration fees too expensive? Volunteering to work these events usually means you get in for free and allows you to directly connect with the leadership of the local group to further deepen your connections.
Besides larger national groups, your local area may have some smaller groups that meet regularly. If you are not a member of any of your local clubs joined some and start attending networking events. These don’t all have to be financial, on the contrary, meeting other local businesses is a great way to get your name out as a potential hire. Large businesses generally have multiple divisions that you can apply for, and just knowing someone in any division can be very helpful when trying to get in the door.
Some groups you may want to look into include Toastmasters, local chambers of commerce or even accounting software advisory boards like the one at Intuit.
Be an Expert
One of the best ways to position yourself to be a star hire is by setting yourself apart from those in your field. One was to do that is to write articles in your field of expertise. These articles could take the form of a blog, a post on Facebook, or a letter to the audience. Whatever it is it should position you as an expert in your field to showcase your expertise and increase the exposure that you receive. A quick google search can show you if others in your specialized area are already writing, plus show you how you can differentiate yourself. Click this link to read more about becoming an expert in your field. < https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238404 >
A second way to improve your exposure is to become a mentor. Being a part of the AICPA mentor program can significantly raise your profile. Almost across the board, hiring directors will choose someone in a senior position who not only has experience in leadership but who is willing to share their expertise. Click here for details on their mentoring program <LINK HERE https://www.aicpa.org/career/mentoring.html >
Consider Hiring a Professional
Now that you have cleaned the house, increased your exposure, and positioned yourself as an expert, you are fully ready to take the last and final step.
At an entry-level position or mid-career, after the above four steps, your searches and networking may start bearing fruit immediately. However, don’t let that deter you from contacting a professional recruiter; specifically one that specializes in the financial sector! Interview recruiters like you would interview a first date. Find out what their experience is. Where have they made placements? Ask for testimonials. Also, have them walk you through the contacts they have within your local industry. Do they have any suggestions for resume or profile tweaks for the job that you are applying to? Any insight into the firm’s culture and expectations? Reputable recruiters will respect and appreciate this level of due diligence so don’t be shy!
If you are at a more senior level and you have not already partnered with a headhunter, you need to consider consulting one in your sector immediately. Query your industry peer network and you may hear of some good headhunters in your area. After going through the same interview process as outlined above, you should be confident in their ability to help you navigate the job search and hiring process from start to finish.
PRO TIP: Job seekers are NEVER expected to pay a reputable headhunter! (That’s the client’s job!) So don’t be duped into paying for something you shouldn’t.
The Search Can Begin
At this point, with all your ducks in a row and your boxes checked, your search will be much easier and more successful. If you set specific goals for each stage of your journey, and strategically set out to improve facets of your professional life, then you will dramatically improve your odds of reaching your career objectives.
If you are actively looking for a change, or are just curious about potential possibilities, we at VALiNTRYfinancial are here to help you. We are one of the top CPA staffing agencies in the U.S. and we pride ourselves on being more than just an accounting job board. Our team of experienced headhunters walk you through every step of the job search process from resume development, candidate marketing, interview prep, and offer negotiation with our personalized, individual attention, for CPA job seekers at all levels. With over 400 organizations under contract nationwide, including the Big 4, we can help you find your dream job! So what are you waiting for? Contact VALiNTRYfinancial today to get started!