How to Set Yourself Apart When Applying for Accounting Jobs

Guest blog by Tom Bilby, The Accountancy Partnership

Is the mere thought of job hunting after university sending you into a spin? It can be hard to get a foot in the door at first, especially with an influx of competition from other candidates who have all graduated at the same time.

That’s why it’s so important to come armed with an action plan, and some genuine reasons why you’re the best candidate. To help you avoid the clichéd answers when the interviewer asks what sets you apart, we’ve written some tips on what stands out from our side of the interview table.

 Work experience

Let’s start with the obvious one. The best way you can stand out is with a solid foundation of work experience when you come to apply for jobs.

OK, we admit that if you’ve spent your entire life in education until now, this is often easier said than done. Remember though, bonus points might be awarded if your work experience is industry related, but to be honest, it doesn’t matter. Having any type of work experience at all is a plus, so don’t wait for the perfect work experience opportunity. What we want to see is that you already know what it is like to work with other people, both as your colleagues and as your clients. But yeah, ok, if you can get an internship or some work experience at an accountancy firm, then this will put you to the top of our candidate list!

Prove you’ve done your research

Having a good understanding of what being an accountant entails is one (big) thing. The interviewer will also be wondering what you know about the industry as a whole. And what do you know about our firm/practice/organization? 

Lots of candidates reserve their studying for the technical day-to-day role of an accountant. The candidates that stand out are the ones who can also demonstrate a good grasp of the industry. Get an idea for who the competitors might be, and upcoming changes in the industry such as tax or business legislation. It proves you’re committed to this field beyond the classroom. When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, this is your time to show off your knowledge, interest in the company and industry as a whole.
To increase your chances of being called for an interview, demonstrate this knowledge in your covering letter. And always include a covering letter.

Hobbies and interests

A lot of people will say this section of a CV is a waste of space. We say different. When we hire people, we’re doing just that – hiring people. It doesn’t have to be filled with daring deeds and abundant charitable work. We just want to see that there are things which interest and engage you.

If you like to sit and read, tell us about the books you love. If you volunteer for a charity, tell us about a project you worked on. Climbed a mountain? You get the picture. Keep it brief, but let us see your personality and passion.

These are just a few examples of ways you can stand out in the job market. If you get turned down, ask for feedback in case it’s something you can work on. Good luck!

Article by The Accountancy Partnership –