With over ten years focusing on recruiting professionals under the finance and accounting umbrella, I have heard this question a lot, “How do I expand my network and what can I improve on to get ahead in my career?” Do you want to have your resume stick out from the rest when applying for your next job? Do you want to be able to crush your next interview? How do you do that? Outside of the obvious, which is getting more certifications and education, here are a few ways, and I’ve outlined them below:
- Volunteer/Take on a Board Seat: Seek out new learning opportunities to sharpen your skills and always find ways to give back and contribute in other areas. Don’t get too comfortable behind your computer screen crunching numbers. Get out there, network, and find ways to give back outside of your 9 to 5. Look into extracurricular volunteer opportunities, such as becoming a treasurer for a small business in your community or taking a board seat for a growing company. Use this site to locate an open board position
- Network with your counterparts: Here are a few ways in Washington, D.C. and nationally to get involved – GWSCPA, AICPA, Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, Association for Corporate Growth
- Diversify your work experience: Accountants work across many fields and focuses. If you have experience in different sectors, industries, Fortune 500 to small business, audit or consulting, or all the above, you will bring knowledge into your position that can only be acquired through experience. And employers want that.
- Communication skills: A lot of times you are head down crunching numbers throughout the day with little to no interaction. When you get your chance to speak, it’s very important that you are able to boil the numbers down in a way that is digestible. You might know the solution, and are able to identify the problem, but if you can’t articulate that to a business owner or board member, they lose faith in your abilities. This comes with time, and its a very important trait to work on improving, especially if you want to move up in your career.
- Strength in tough situations: Numbers are king, especially when pertaining to money. When something goes wrong, accountants often get caught in the cross-hairs and are blamed for mistakes that are not necessarily their fault. Your ability to stay calm and rationally explain an upsetting situation gains people’s trust.
- Hard work: Put in the hours, work nights and weekends, go above and beyond to make sure your client or employer is happy. Especially early on in your career, now is the time to put in the hard work to give you a wide array of options down the road.
Lastly, make sure you align yourself with a recruiter/search firm/agency that knows the market, your worth, and your growth potential.
What makes us stand out, and what the District Partners difference is – is that we’re able to look beyond a candidate’s resume and seek out the soft skills that make all the difference.
Reach out to us here to see how we can help in your career.
authored by Josh Fisher, founder of District Partners LLC