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Get Up, Stand Out (in the Job Market)

August 5, 2009

Job advice is universal – as everyone who is out there pounding the pavement faces the same thing – rejection.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants offers this advice from university graduates, a recruiting firm and ACCA’s head of education. Read on:

•    “When applying for graduate jobs, try to think of examples of non-academic roles you have performed, such as holiday jobs, work placements and even committee roles for university clubs and societies. This will show you can adapt to different situations outside education.”

•    “In your cover letter talk about what you are good at, what your strengths and relevant experiences are. Highlight the transferable skills you have, and explain why you would be good for that particular role. Don’t describe your weaknesses or tell them why you are not suitable for the job - at this stage you want to give the employer every reason to invite you for an interview.”

•    “Having a blog, a Facebook account and a Twitter account can definitely give you an advantage. Blogs and ‘tweets’ about your chosen field help you to get noticed, and can also help to build your professional reputation. Facebook is an excellent networking tool. If you set-up or join groups you will find it easy to meet and correspond with like-minded people. One thing to remember though, your prospective employers will look at your blog, tweets and Facebook page, so make sure you keep it professional.”

•     “Most companies now use the competency-based method of interviewing, the idea being that past performance is seen as the best indicator of future success. Although your relevant work experience may be limited, you will need to provide examples of your competencies. For example, if testing your team ethic, you might be asked, ‘Tell me about a situation where you have been part of a group working toward a specific goal. What was your role in the group?’ The key is to describe the situation, outline the tasks and any challenges involved, the actions you took, and importantly, don’t forget to discuss the outcomes achieved.”

•     “When you apply for a position, make sure you edit your CV specifically for that role. And when you write your cover letter, write it in response to the advert, don’t send the same cover letter to everyone. If you do, they will know it is a generic letter and will be a lot less likely to respond.”

For additional graduate advice, visit or for more information and to access the latest accountancy and finance jobs, please visit

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