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Power Up Your Job Search: It´s all about who and what you know.

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Power Up Your Job Search: It´s all about who and what you know.

  2. 2. /02 Whether you’ve just graduated with a business degree or are a mid-career professional looking to advance, when it comes to searching for a job in the accounting and finance industries, you need to have a strategy. Remember, it’s not always the most qualified candidate who gets the job; often it’s the person who’s most prepared. That means you need to maximize ALL of your resources. This involves knowing which individuals in your networks can assist you, or provide new introductions to those who can. It also means gathering what information you can to conduct a more effective job search and using the cumulative information at your disposal early and often in order to know the finance job market and put yourself out there as a top-notch candidate. INTRODUCTION KEY HIGHLIGHTS In this ebook, you’ll learn how to: • find out about accounting and finance career opportunities • use your personal and social networks to your advantage • build a rapport with key people involved in the hiring process • maximize the interview process
  4. 4. Your recruiter or agent at a staffing company can be your single most important ally in your job search. A recruiter usually hears about openings before they’re posted on job boards and often even knows about opportunities that aren’t advertised at all. Moreover, as your job search advocate, your recruiter is professionally invested in you getting a job where you’re happy and will flourish. Making the most of the relationship When meeting with a recruiter, conduct yourself just as professionally as you would with an employer. Dress and behave appropriately, and make sure that your résumé, reference list, and personal website are complete and current. Explain what type of position you’re looking for, as well as what your salary requirements are. Discuss any needs and preferences you have, such as: • specific area of expertise or interest • full-time vs. part time work • flex work or remote work options • company size and structure PART I: WORKING WITH RECRUITERS /04
  5. 5. /05 A RECRUITER WHO KNOWS ABOUT JOB OPENINGS BEFORE THEY’RE POSTED AND ACTS AS YOUR JOB SEARCH ADVOCATE CAN BE YOUR SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ALLY. PART I: WORKING WITH RECRUITERS Don’t be afraid to speak about your long-term career objectives, since your recruiter can work with you over time to help you advance. The more open you are about your professional aspirations, the better equipped your recruiter will be to help you. After your initial meeting, be sure to follow up with a thank you email. Be patient, and always return calls or emails promptly and professionally. If, during your daily job searches, you find an interesting position or company, let your recruiter know. He or she might be able to get you in the door faster than an online application. At the same time, if you line up interviews by yourself, it’s also advisable to inform your recruiter, who might be able to introduce you to comparable employers with similar positions. Last, but by no means least, always stay in touch with your recruiter. Be sure to share any developments in your life that impact you professionally, and maintain an open dialog about your progress. Because when managed correctly, your relationship with your recruiter can be one that lasts far beyond a single job and can eventually help you reach your career goals.
  7. 7. Your personal network can be a valuable source of information and contacts during your job search. Your family, friends, and colleagues are all potential sources of job leads. Furthermore, they might also know others who could have information about opportunities. In short, there’s an ever-widening circle of possible job leads and introductions available for you to tap into. Approaching your contacts To determine whom to approach about your job search, set aside a couple of hours to make a list of your core network of friends and current colleagues, as well as a list of more casual acquaintances and past colleagues. Next, assess which of those individuals might have information or know somebody with information about organizations and positions that interest you. Then reach out to all of those people. If, after making your list, you conclude you don’t have many contacts who could help you, attend some local industry events or job fairs. Being in a room with hundreds of other accounting and finance professionals greatly enhances your chances of hearing about job leads or meeting individuals who can introduce you to hiring managers. PART II: UTILIZING YOUR PERSONAL NETWORK /07
  8. 8. In order to avoid setting off alarm bells with your current employer, mention that you’re interested in making a career move and would like your job search to remain confidential. You could say something like, “Professional growth is important to me and opportunities are limited at my current organization. That is why I am confidentially looking for opportunities at companies that share this priority for their employees”. Do you have any information about positions at your organization, or would any of your contacts know about job openings or companies that are hiring?” The most fruitful business relationships are those that are beneficial to both parties, so make sure your discussion isn’t a one-way street. Make it easy for others to want to help you by always being ready to reciprocate with information or favors. If anybody gives you a lead, thank him or her politely, and follow up in a timely and professional manner. PART II: UTILIZING YOUR PERSONAL NETWORK /08 MAKE IT EASY FOR OTHERS TO WANT TO HELP YOU BY ALWAYS BEING READY TO RECIPROCATE WITH INFORMATION OR FAVORS.
  10. 10. /10 Social media is a powerful resource for your job search. Three important sites for networking during your job search are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Let’s take a closer look at each. LinkedIn To make the most of LinkedIn, ensure your profile is current and highlights your skills and experience. It’s also a good idea to ask references to write recommendations for you. Then review your network to see which contacts could offer assistance in your job search. Think of people who work at the companies that interest you, or who are members of finance groups such as Accounting and Finance Professionals, Finance Club, and Finance Industry Professionals Worldwide. Look for contacts in professional organizations such as the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), and the Society of Financial Service Professionals (FSP). Since most LinkedIn users have between 100 and 600 contacts, the best way to find helpful contacts is to perform a search for specific companies, groups, or professional associations, then see which of your contacts appear in the search results. After that, you can reach out to each with a personal message about your job search and how they could help. PART III: WORKING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK
  11. 11. /11 LinkedIn also features a job board. You can search by keywords, job title, or company name, and specify the locations you’re interested in. Note that your job activity doesn’t appear on your activity feed—it’s completely private. It’s important to know what does and doesn’t appear on your LinkedIn profile, especially if you’re employed and searching for another job. There are two types of activity updates: • The activity broadcast, which shows when you’re updating your profile, following organizations or companies, or making recommendations. If you’re tweaking your headline, adding new information to your profile, or following companies to hear about openings, it’s best to set your activity broadcast to “private.” • The activity feed, which shows your updates, likes, and shares. If you’re looking to establish yourself as an expert by posting articles and participating in discussions, it’s advisable to choose a setting that offers you a wide audience, such as “network” and “everybody.” PART III: WORKING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK
  12. 12. /12 Facebook Though Facebook can be useful to hear about job openings on company pages, the main thing to keep in mind is that employers will look at your profile if they’re interested in you. Make sure your page looks entirely professional by only including information you’d feel comfortable discussing in a job interview. Twitter Twitter is a great way to hear about opportunities from companies and recruiters. In addition, you can use Twitter to establish yourself as an expert by promoting your own blog posts, as well as highlighting content that pertains to your field. PART III: WORKING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK FIND HELPFUL CONTACTS ON LINKEDIN BY SEARCHING FOR SPECIFIC COMPANIES, GROUPS, OR PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS, THEN SEEING WHICH OF YOUR CONTACTS APPEAR IN THE SEARCH RESULTS.
  13. 13. /13 PART IV: JOB POSTINGS
  14. 14. Though there are a number of large, aggregator job boards out there, many companies prefer not to use them due to the overwhelming number of responses they receive. At the same time, as a job seeker on these large job boards, you can find yourself sifting through a huge number of postings, only to apply for a job along with hundreds of other candidates without any certainty that your résumé will stand out. Fortunately, there are other sources of job postings that can be more useful to accounting and finance professionals: • The aggregator website Indeed.com can be a useful source of job postings. You can search by keyword or job title, and filter by distance, salary estimate, company, location, job type, and employer or recruiter. You can even read reviews about the listed employers. • Some professional organizations such as the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) and The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) have job postings on their websites. PART IV: JOB POSTINGS /14
  15. 15. • Most online and print newspapers offer regional job postings. This is especially useful to find postings with small to mid-sized local companies who don’t want to spend a lot of money on an aggregate site, but who want to reach a large candidate pool. • Your local Chamber of Commerce might offer job postings online. It’s also a good idea to check here for local networking events where you might discover information about job leads. /15PART IV: JOB POSTINGS MANY COMPANIES PREFER NOT TO USE LARGE AGGREGATE JOB BOARDS DUE TO THE OVERWHELMING NUMBER OF RESPONSES THEY RECEIVE, SO IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHERE OTHER ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE JOB POSTINGS CAN BE FOUND.
  17. 17. /17PART V: REQUESTING AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW WITH A COMPANY If there’s a specific organization that interests you, request an informational interview with a Corporate recruiter or person responsible for talent acquisition at the company. An informational interview allows you to learn more about an organization’s structure and work environment, as well as what it offers in terms of career development. It also offers you the opportunity to introduce yourself and showcase your qualifications. Prepare for the interview by researching the company and making a list of questions you want to ask. Consider points that are specific to the position that interests you, the work environment, and the company, such as: • What are the results the company wants to achieve from this position? • What is somebody in this role expected to deliver? • Are there any additional skills you can acquire to be more successful in this position? • What’s the work environment like? • Are there opportunities to learn/train on the job? • Does the company provide clear career paths and career advancement assistance? • What are the policies in regard to flex work and/or telecommuting?
  18. 18. /18 IF A COMPANY REPRESENTATIVE TAKES THE TIME TO SPEAK WITH YOU IN AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW, BRING YOUR A-GAME. THERE’S ALWAYS THE CHANCE IT COULD RESULT IN A JOB LEAD—OR EVEN AN OFFER. PART V: REQUESTING AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW WITH A COMPANY Though an informational interview is intended to be an introductory meeting, there’s always the possibility it will result in a job lead or even a job offer, so always bring your A-game. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself and your career objectives, because if the company’s taking the time to speak with you, they could be interested in hiring you. If, on the other hand, the interview doesn’t immediately result in a job lead, follow up to thank the company representative for his or her time and ask to receive periodic updates about job opportunities.
  20. 20. /20PART VI: RESEARCHING THE ORGANIZATION AND HIRING MANAGER Once you’ve been invited to a job interview, it’s time to research the company and the hiring manager who’ll be interviewing you. The more you know about each, the better your chances of making yourself memorable during the interview. The company Research the organization by doing the following: • Learn about the company’s mission, history and recent developments on its website. You can find this information on the “About Us,” “Mission,” and “News” pages. Organizations that are publicly traded publish their annual reports, which also provide a good overview of developments. • Perform a Google news search on the organization. This will give you insights into the most important developments from both the industry and the public’s perspective. Simultaneously, it can reveal what challenges the organization faces and who its competitors are. Pay special attention to any mention of reorganization as a result of new regulations, as well as new products and services offered thanks to increased digitalization of the industry.
  21. 21. /21PART VI: RESEARCHING THE ORGANIZATION AND HIRING MANAGER • Look for additional information on LinkedIn, Hoovers, and Yahoo Business. • If you have any contacts who work at or do business with the organization, speak with them about the organizational structure and work environment. This will give you a frame of reference against which to discuss your own career plans during the interview. Be clear in what you have done for companies in the past. When describing your current or past positions, ask which positions or departments/projects are similar in their company. Companies can be structured differently, but finding relevant / comparative situations will make the appeal greater.
  22. 22. /22 THE MORE YOU KNOW ABOUT A POTENTIAL EMPLOYER AND THE HIRING MANAGER, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF MAKING YOURSELF MEMORABLE DURING THE INTERVIEW. PART VI: RESEARCHING THE ORGANIZATION AND HIRING MANAGER Hiring manager It’s advisable to research the hiring manager in order to establish a rapport you can build upon from the start of the interview: • Read the hiring manager’s profile on the organization’s website. Granted, a large institution probably won’t feature employees’ bios, but oftentimes, regional branches do. • Review the same manager’s profile on LinkedIn. Look for things like the same alma maters and the same group or professional memberships. Pay special attention to information that indicates you share professional interests. For example, if you’re a financial analyst and the hiring manager has published an article on using a specific algorithm to predict trends in the oil and natural gas industry, make sure to study the article so you can use it as a conversation starter. • Check LinkedIn to see if any of your contacts know the hiring manager. If you have a good rapport with those contacts, perhaps they can provide insight or put in a good word for you.
  24. 24. /24PART VII: PRACTICING THE INTERVIEW Now that you have a good overview of a potential employer and have prepared one or two icebreakers to establish a rapport with the hiring manager, it’s time to practice the interview. There are two things to pay attention to: relentlessly preparing answers to standard interview questions and illustrating how you can satisfy every line on the job description. Standard interview questions A hiring manager will ask work-related and behavioral questions. You should prepare clear and concise responses that you can elaborate on, if necessary. Work-related questions pertain to how you work, what your career aspirations are, and what you’re looking for in a position. Here are some examples: • What’s the most important thing you look for in a position? • Do you function well in a team? • What attracts you to this role and this company? • What are your long-term career goals? • How would your co-workers describe you?
  25. 25. /25PART VII: PRACTICING THE INTERVIEW Behavioral—or situational—questions are intended to give the hiring manager an idea of your performance. These questions should always be answered by describing a situation, explaining what processes you applied to handle it, and state the outcome. The outcome doesn’t have to be positive so long as you can explain how you addressed the situation, what you learned from it, and how you’d do things differently next time. Examples of behavioral questions are: • Tell me about a recent work challenge you had to overcome. • Explain to me how you handle conflict in the workplace. • Describe a time you had to lead an interdepartmental team. • Explain to me how you assess the value of a process in the workplace. • Tell me about a mistake you made and how you learned from it. THERE ARE TWO THINGS TO REMEMBER: 1.) RELENTLESSLY PREPARE 2.) ILLUSTRATE HOW YOU CAN DO THE JOB.
  26. 26. /26PART VII: PRACTICING THE INTERVIEW Satisfying every line on the job description Though the hiring manager has likely checked your qualifications and experience against the job description, you should be prepared to speak about your responsibilities in previous roles to prove you’re equipped to do the job. Spend some time thinking about how your accumulated experience, not just your job-specific experience, can demonstrate you are fit for the role. If you’re lean in certain technical or industry-specific areas, show how your other experience compensates. For example, if one of the requirements is to have held a financial management role for three years but you only did so for two, you can always highlight your years as the treasurer of your sports club. It is ok to not have expereince in everything on the job description. Try to find tie-ins to closely related positions or projects you’ve done in the past and relate them to deficiencies. If necessary, bring up a time where you were a novice in an area and learned it quickly. SPEND SOME TIME THINKING ABOUT HOW YOUR ACCUMULATED EXPERIENCE, NOT JUST YOUR JOB-SPECIFIC EXPERIENCE, CAN DEMONSTRATE YOU ARE FIT FOR THE ROLE.
  28. 28. /28PART VIII: SHOWING HOW YOU ADD VALUE Hiring managers see many eligible candidates over the course of an interview process. But what they’re really looking for are financial professionals who differentiate themselves by demonstrating how they can add value to an organization. That’s why it’s crucial to show you can be proactive with your knowledge and skills on behalf of the organization’s interests. Use the information you learned about the company to determine the biggest challenges it faces right now. Then determine how you can make a difference based on your qualities. For example, if you have experience in managing contingent workers and the company’s in the middle of a reorganization that will restructure its workforce, highlight your experience and tell the hiring manager how your knowledge can be of use in coordinating the switch to a more contingent- based workforce. Or if you’re a loan specialist with experience in regulatory matters and the company’s adapting to new regulations, explain how your compliance knowledge can help the transition run more smoothly. In short, organizations are looking for professionals who can offer solutions to the problems they’re facing. So before your interview, spend some time thinking about how your specific skills and experience can help this particular employer, and prepare some examples to illustrate your points. QUALIFY AND QUANTIFY YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. SHOW HOW YOU ADDED VALUE, SAVED TIME, CREATED EFFICIENCIES, OR DROVE BOTTOM LINE RESULTS IN YOUR PREVIOUS POSITIONS.
  29. 29. /29CONCLUSION Regardless of where you are in your career, looking for a job in the accounting and finance sector involves maximizing all of your resources. Use them wisely by working with your recruiter, mining your networks, and utilizing the information at your disposal quickly and appropriately to prepare properly for an interview. That way, you stand a greater chance of landing the job of your dreams in the finance industry.
  30. 30. SOURCES: http://www.careercast.com/career-news/underestimated-importance-personal-networking http://www.cmu.edu/career/college-specific-resources/college-specific-documents/cfa-documents/job-search-strategies-checklist.pdf http://hrweb.berkeley.edu/learning/career-development/career-management/job-search/informational-interviewing http://www.indeed.com http://www.hoovers.com https://www.linkedin.com http://news.yahoo.com/business/ /30
  31. 31. /31/31 Kelly puts a new employee to work every 33 seconds, and every four minutes one gets hired directly by a Kelly customer. Search for jobs on our Kelly Career Network ® , or visit www.kellyservices.us/financecareers to get started today.
  32. 32. EXIT This information may not be published, broadcast, sold, or otherwise distributed without prior written permission from the authorized party. All trademarks are property of their respective owners. An Equal Opportunity Employer. © 2014 Kelly Services, Inc. ABOUT KELLY SERVICES® Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA, KELYB) is a leader in providing workforce solutions. Kelly® offers a comprehensive array of outsourcing and consulting services as well as world-class staffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct-hire basis. Serving clients around the globe, Kelly provided employment to approximately 540,000 employees in 2013. Revenue in 2013 was $5.4 billion. Visit kellyservices.com and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Download WorkWire™ , a free iPad® app by Kelly Services. ABOUT THE AUTHOR DOUGLAS ARMS is vice president for Americas Finance Center of Excellence at Kelly Services, Inc. He is responsible for the strategic planning, brand management, thought leadership and profitable growth for the professional workforce solutions provided in the finance and accounting specialty in North America. For close to two decades, he has held various senior leadership positions with major national and international staffing firms, most recently holding positions such as senior vice president and chief talent officer. Douglas is a graduate of the Montclair State University located in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. In addition, his training includes coursework at the Institute of Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland and his MBA which is currently being completed at Saint Leo University.