Each year, more than 200,000 Canadians graduate from college. As a finance or accounting major, you have an advantage over most of these other fresh entries into the labor market. You have a sought-after set of skills that will allow you to get a head start on your career.
Still, you face serious competition. As a new graduate, you won’t have the experience or the connections enjoyed by more established professionals in your industry. Even people only a few years older than you will hold the edge for most entry-level positions.
That means you need to take steps to get noticed early in your career. No, TikTok stunts don’t count. Instead, you need to find ways to separate your resume from those of your fellow graduates.
Here are some constructive ways to get yourself noticed as you launch your post-university career in accounting:
4 Tips For Recently Graduated Canadian Accountants
Build Your Resume
As you leave university, you likely won’t have much to list in your work history. Instead, you’ll need to find other ways to fill out your resume.
Look for times you excelled, even if the event doesn’t relate directly to accounting. Think about academic awards you’ve won or times you took leadership positions (president of the accounting club, for instance). These will help set you apart.
At the same time, add other experience to your resume as well. This could include extracurricular activities or volunteer work. As you gain a more robust work history, these items might fall off your resume. But, for now, they provide some points of differentiation.
Expand Your Network
You’ve probably heard that career development depends a lot on your connections. The proper introduction can open doors for the rest of your career.
Of course, just out of university, you won’t have a deep reservoir of contacts. Do what you can to change that. Even as you look for a position, work to expand your network.
Here are a few steps you can take to jumpstart your professional contacts:
- Stay in Contact with Classmates
- Talk to Your Professors
- Make Connections on Social Media
- Attend Job Fairs and Conferences
Think About Additional Certifications
We know. You thought you were done with school. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your feelings on the matter), education represents a lifetime pursuit for accounting and finance professionals.
There is always more to know. You can learn new details or a fresh way to apply your knowledge. At the same time, laws and standards surrounding accounting change over time. You’ll have to keep up.
At this point, you might consider pursuing additional certifications. Some of the specialty accounting designations require professional experience. But even if you don’t qualify right now, you can start working towards these career boosters.
Among these, the most important is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. Following a reorganization within the professional organizations, this has become the primary designation for accountants. It can unlock significant opportunities.
That said, there are some other potential certifications you can consider. These relate to niche areas within the accounting profession. With them, you can show your abilities in some highly profitable areas of the industry:
- Chartered Management Accountant (CMA)
- Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF)
- Certified Professional Bookkeeper (CPB)
Consider Part-Time/Freelance Assignments
Coming out of school, you might not be first in line for premium jobs. Even at the lowest rung of the corporate ladder, you’ll face candidates with more experience. As such, you need to stay flexible in your approach.
Your goal at this point should be to fill out your resume. Take what you can get. This includes part-time or freelance assignments. At the same time, keep searching for better opportunities. As you fill out your work history, those full-time jobs will become easier to obtain.
Looking to Land a Job at One Of Ontario’s Top Accounting Firms?
Ready to begin building your post-university career? A top recruiter, like Elby Professional Services, provides the perfect start.
Contact Elby today to find the perfect placement to drive your professional development.