How to look for an accounting job, and what your interviewer wants to know, but can’t tell you…
If you are looking for an accounting job (or any job for that matter), the AAT have written a very insightful article on “What your interviewer wants to know, but can’t tell you”, and it is so true. To view the AAT’s article, click here
We are currently recruiting for an Admin Assistant (Apprentice) for Chloe, and have sifted through 64 CVs. What the AAT have said in their article is exactly what we will be looking for when we start interviewing – we hope the candidates will have prepared well and taken into account the points referred to in the AAT’s article.
Before it even gets to that stage though, it is vital to get your CV and covering letter right in order to have the best possible chance of getting a phone call inviting you in for an interview.
Here are a few pointers:
Spelling, grammar and format of your CV
Everyone knows that they should thoroughly proof check their CV (or better still, get a few other people to do it for you), yet it is amazing how many CVs continue to be riddled with mistakes. If you’re going for a job that includes ‘Excellent IT skills’ in the job role (as our advert did), why would you not go to some effort to produce a CV that is well formatted and modern looking i.e. not ‘Times New Roman’ in 12pt with inconsistent indents and line spacing etc.
Showing a bit of personality in the personal statement. Most of the personal statements (if indeed there was one), were so similar that they were hard to distinguish between. It was almost as if they had been copied and pasted!
A few of the CVs we received were tailored though – they personalised their covering letter and personal statement to tie in with our advert – guess which candidates have been called in for an interview?!
Key Skills and Attributes
What key skills and attributes are mentioned in the job description? Our job advert had a bit of ‘humour’ in the closing line. Only one applicant picked up on this and commented on it in the covering letter. Really try and dig into what the prospective employer is looking for and try to tailor your covering letter/CV accordingly.
Do use an appropriate email address – another nail in the coffin for some of the CVs we’ve received. So time to do away with fluffyprincess@ and jbloggs007@ – just use your own name.
Applicants are still not being careful enough about their Facebook posts – potential employers do look at these (as indeed we have). There can be some incredibly revealing information posted on there which rightly or wrongly can sway things unfavourably for you.
Gaps in your CV
If there is a time period where you haven’t been in work or training, you need to explain why (justify the reasons for the gap)
Poor GCSE/A’Level Grades
If you do not refer to the grades you achieved in your exams, the prospective employer will assume the worst. Put them in (however bad they are) but justify them – there could have been personal issues; you chose the wrong subject, any number of reasons.
If you are applying for a job and have the option of posting your CV/covering letter to the employer, hand write your covering letter (very neatly), including the envelope. Hand written letters are far more likely to get opened than typed letters.
Length of CV
The interviewer doesn’t have tons of time so restrict your CV to two sides of A4. If you only use one side you are losing the opportunity of providing more information about yourself.
What you should put on your CV
Think what the interviewer wants to read and put this first. After the short introductory personal statement and personal details, we like to see a summary of your academic and professional qualifications, most recent first. Then add your work experience. Don’t write your life history but identify the work skills relevant to the job you are applying for. This means that your CV may well change, depending on the type of job you are applying for.