You’ve been to school. You’ve earned your CPA designation. You have experience in public accounting and consulting at a successful firm. In addition to strong analytical skills, you also have technical experience with database management and big data analysis. You may even have soft skills, like customer service and management, and your resume is a work of art.
Well done on becoming a desirable candidate for that senior accountant job you’re hoping to land. You, and potentially dozens of other awesome accounting candidates, are now in direct competition for a very prestigious job. If you want to win that competition, you need to stand out. Here’s how:
- Earn extra credentials: You probably focused like a laser on just getting the credentials you needed for the accounting tasks you were assigned. Now that you’re the one assigning work, it’s good to flesh out your training so you understand what your team members are doing. If you’re a CPA, try getting a CCP and dabbling in credit. If your employer plans to expand, why not start the process ahead of time with some FRM training so they don’t have to hire a dedicated risk manager? There’s no such thing as too qualified.
- Go rogue (with experience): Have you ever run a business of your own? Do you have experience dealing with the IRS in the United States? Have you written a book about finance or accounting for the lay reader? What about organizing a science fiction convention for Nunavut Trekkies in Qikiqtarjuaq? All of these experiences translate (directly or otherwise) to the job of senior accountant, which is part number-cruncher and analyst, part manager, and part diplomat. Few of your fellow candidates have looked up from their books to do any of these things, and at the very least that convention makes a good opening conversation at the job interview.
- Work for free: If you’re having trouble scaring up the appropriately impressive work history, consider doing it for free. Charities all over Canada are starved for professional help, and they’re usually really flexible about whether you’re technically qualified to manage their finances. This is great experience doing the very job you’re applying to do for a salary, and there’s really no beating experience.
When you’re going for a senior accountant position, look for ways to set yourself apart. It could land you a dream job.