Having an education in accounting can open up many doors of opportunity, giving accountants greater career paths from which to choose, especially with the decision of becoming a CPA. However, the question then becomes—how do you distinguish yourself from other applicants in a market where many people are competing for the same accounting jobs and positions?
Below are 5 ways to stand out to firm recruiters and become a more attractive applicant in the accounting job market.
1. Be a leader and show initiative.
Being a leader and showing initiative depend on each other. Leadership can be manifested with solid initiative, and good leaders consistently take initiative.
Prove your worth by anticipating what needs to be done, and influence others to follow your example. When problems arise, be enterprising enough to make quick and efficient decisions toward a resolution. Good leadership can take you a long way in any work environment.
– Kate Wilson, Women on Business
2. Work well on a team.
It’s important that you know how to work well with people from all different backgrounds. If you’re a bit more open-minded and team-oriented, you’ll be more successful dealing with customers, clients, coworkers, and anyone else you may encounter in a professional setting.
3. Soft skills are key.
Always be polite. Anticipate questions. Read people and learn how to specifically tailor communications to your audience. Know that an initial read may change and that you’ll have to adapt accordingly. This includes being able to listen and comprehend what is being said. Some people are great at being able to recall what was said in a meeting, but they don’t always understand, nor do they think to ask questions for clarification. Aim to be a step ahead, but don’t stumble if you fall a step behind.
– Lisa Chau and Mike Jewsbury, US News 7 World Report
Building up a professional network is great, whether you’re thinking about future job prospects, wanting to learn from those who have gone before you, or if you just enjoy meeting new people.
If there aren’t any networking events in your area that you can attend, try reaching out to people who have worked at your company for a while to see if you can buy them lunch or a coffee and ask them about their careers. Or, contact people who are around your age or who are working in similar positions at other companies to see if they’re interested in getting together to chat about any work-related challenges you’re all facing.
5. Become a CPA.
The decision to become a CPA isn’t always an easy one. There may be some initial anxiety due to all the processes and procedures required to take the CPA Exam and apply for CPA licensure. But we can tell you from first-hand experience that the time and money you’ll invest into the CPA designation is well worth it.
The CPA credential carries enormous weight in the business and financial worlds. CPAs are considered trusted advisors and are viewed as having obtained a high level of success. Also, the CPA title separates you from others and allows you to count yourself as a member among one of the most highly respected and prestigious professions.
This article originally appeared on the Roger CPA Review blog.