For every job advertised, there may be 50 to 100 other trainees fighting it out for the same role. As a result, it takes careful consideration to make sure you stand out from the pack. Likewise, recruiters want what you want – namely for you to land the role you want.
So start by thinking of ways to ensure you are working in harmony with your recruiter.
To begin with, consider how to make your CV stand out to enable you to hook a potential employer within seconds of picking it up. A recruiter will check over your CV, but it is important that you keep it as a work in progress and continue to update and improve it.
A personal statement at the beginning of your CV is crucial as this is your chance to highlight why you think you are right for the role you are looking for, but do avoid clichés and make sure it is genuine and personal to you.
Highlighting some key achievements can be a good way to avoid the typical clichés that many people have in their personal statements. You should also be prepared to explain any gaps in your CV where you were not working or studying.
‘Evidence of value added on their CVs will be a massive advantage, such as involvement in projects, joined committees and out-of-office interests,’ says Nikki Turberville from Michael Page Financial Services.
‘Recruiters and hiring managers also love to see results and education, so ensure you clearly highlight your academic excellence or relevant educational certificates, particularly when they have been listed as essential or desirable on the selection criteria.’
The most in-demand skills for trainees tend to be rather obvious. Aspiring professionals need to be hard-working, have a numerical and commercial understanding, as well as skills that are relevant for the current market.
Joss Collins, a financial services specialist at Venn Group, says: ‘They actually have to want to go down the accounting path. Gaining qualifications and finding the right employer can be challenging and it’s not for those who aren’t fully committed.
‘They need to possess a desire and willingness to learn new skills as well as a good level of technical knowledge, particularly with Excel. Finally, trainees need to be able to step away from the data and to communicate with professionals at all levels of the business in clear and understandable terms.’
If you are going to be a future leader, the earlier you start to develop these skills, the better. Other skills that recruiters will be looking for include attention to detail, commercial awareness and ability to work in a team.
‘Be prepared to highlight the skills and competencies that you have and research the organisations and jobs that you are best suited to, so that you have an idea about what it is you want to do,’ says Karen Young, a director at Hays.
‘You should be aware of what job you want, trying to be as specific as possible will help with the process.
‘You should have a clear understanding of your career aims and objectives and your motivations to leave your current role and be able to confidently communicate these to a recruiter. This information will provide the recruiter with better insight into what it is they can do to help you secure the job that is best suited for you.’
Increasingly important is social media. Any social media platforms you use should be correct and up to date – in particular your LinkedIn profile, which should reflect the information you have on your CV.
This article originally appeared in Student Accountant magazine.