Job-searching technique needs honest appraisal

Question: I am a former auditor looking for a job in the accounting market. I have been struggling to land a job since I returned from traveling in September (a much-needed recharge before looking for employment). In general, accountants from large audit firms have no problems obtaining jobs with commercial companies. Many of my former colleagues have already landed new positions, including the ones who took traveling breaks as I did.

I have good references and receive positive feedback from interviewers. However, I am usually edged out by candidates with more experience. Now that it has been several months, I look less marketable to prospective employers. I am starting to apply for other job titles, but I have not had success.

I am considering relocating or pursuing a post-graduate degree even though I am not enthusiastic about it since I’m already a qualified accountant. Alternatively, I could return to auditing despite the fact that my original reason for leaving was to achieve a better work-life balance. Any advice?

P.K. New Zealand

Answer: Before you relocate your entire household, enroll in post-graduate school or do anything else that you don’t really want to do, I suggest that you take an honest look at your job-hunting techniques. Scrutinize every detail. I have a feeling that a couple of minor changes will make a big difference in your career.

You clearly have the experience and credentials to transition from auditing to corporate accounting. You are focused and diligent. You even have strong references and a record of solid feedback from interviewers. So, why do you keep losing jobs to more accomplished candidates? No matter what potential employers or colleagues have told you, it is not because of a lack of experience. I assure you.

Think about it. If experience were the most important qualification for employment, all available positions would go to the oldest, most seasoned workers. An entire generation of young professionals would be clamoring for paychecks. This is not the case.

Hiring managers consider a range of factors when evaluating job applicants. They look at technical or specialized skills. Education. Personality. Ability to save money, streamline operations or improve processes. Knowledge of legal affairs or compliance issues. The list goes on. Yes, experience matters. But if people keep saying that you don’t have enough experience — and you continue to believe them — you are letting countless opportunities slip away.

Why are you are missing out on jobs? Because you don’t convince employers that you are the ideal candidate. It’s that simple.

Employers are extremely pragmatic. They tend to hire the person who provides the best return on investment, someone who is worth a lot more than the number on his or her paycheck. Figure out how your auditing expertise will benefit the company. Determine precisely how your personality, talents and communication style can help the organization achieve its goals. Then, conduct your interviews in a way that makes employers realize — without a doubt — that you are the perfect candidate for the job.

It’s up to you to demonstrate that your unique perspective and career history will drive company success. If you prove your case, you’ll get through the door.

Eve Nicholas:

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