Employment gaps are a natural part of any career that many are bound to go through at one point or another.
Whether you took some time off to tend to urgent matters or whether you were simply laid off or looking to rediscover yourself, knowing why and how to explain this time lapse is an important part of resume writing that most haven’t fully grasped.
So what is the best way to deal with gaps in your resume? Here are a few pointers to ensure you know how to effectively fill the cracks:
First things first – is it prudent to mention an employment gap?
Well, it depends on the circumstances. For instance, if you have been employed since the absence occurred then you can leave this information off your CV.
If, on the other hand, it comes prior to a potential job offer, then concealing it might not bode too well with your to-be employers. All in all, you have no obligation to outline all your experience in its entirety particularly if you have a depth of experience spanning years.
This by no means insinuates that you should lie about your employment gap- or any other detail on your resume for that matter- far from it; you should be as truthful as possible.
Lying on your CV is a ticking time bomb that is set to explode in your face at the most inopportune moment because employers more often than not will verify the credibility of your work history sooner or later.
How to Butter up Employment Gaps to Make Them Less Conspicuous
1) Be general with the dates
If you were in a position extending several years and had a brief gap lasting just a few months, then listing dates generally provides a nice way to white out the blanks.
You can, for example, say you held a position from this year to that year- e.g. 2017-present- instead of from this month to that e.g. June 2016- May 2018. The latter way of stating dates makes employment gaps stand out so it is a definite no-no.
However, job applications will require more detail than that and so will face-to-face interviews. Therefore, you should always have accurate answers at the ready just in case the line of questioning comes up.
2) Use appropriate resume formats
There are a couple of ways you can make employment gaps fade into the background by making them unrecognizable amidst a sea of more outstanding formats.
For one, you could steer clear of bold texts for such dates and use plain text instead. Alternatively, you could also use a smaller font than that of the accompanying text.
When writing an opening statement summing up your career achievements, be sure to concentrate on the what, where, and how rather than the when. These little format and design nitty-gritty can make a world of difference.
3) Leave out a job or two from your CV
It has become somewhat acceptable to omit a job or two (experience) especially if you have been working for a long time.
The general rule of thumb is up to 15 years for professional or managerial positions and five less than that figure for other positions.
4) Highlight what you achieved during the employment gap
Did you spend your break kicking up your feet on the sofa or were you actively involved in some consultative or freelance work?
If the latter is the case then outlining your achievements during this period can tilt things in your favor. List any experience gained as you would any other work or education milestone.
The cover letter is a great place to explain your absence but you need not let your employer know about it until it’s absolutely necessary.
How to handle employment gaps in an interview
Blanking out employment gaps on paper is one thing but navigating the subject in an actual sit-down with your employer is another and can prove to be a tricky minefield.
But it doesn’t have to be if you are honest and direct. Explain the reason for your absence, whether voluntary or otherwise, and make sure to reaffirm that the matter you left to handle has been fully resolved and that you are ready to work.
If a workforce contraction was why you were laid off, support your termination with documented evidence of competency in the form of recommendations from satisfied customers, colleagues, and supervisors.
Dwell on the positive and steer clear of any mudslinging of your previous employer or workmates.
If a new job requires a different set of skills from the ones you have, turn your current expertise into strengths that make you the right man for the job.
And that’s just about it when it comes to employment gaps so there is nothing else left to say but good luck!
It’s always flattering to be wanted. And that holds true in job searches as much as anything.
Who doesn’t dream of sending out a resume and getting a call in hours?
Wouldn’t that be the ideal?
Well, it would seem that way. After all, it would surely mean that what we offer is desirable, important, and unique.
Why else would they be so eager, right?
Being hired quickly can indeed be a sign of that. But more often it’s a sign of some more insidious things about a company or job.
Here are some of the key downsides of rapid-fire hiring.
The employer may not have given enough thought to the position
Some companies value decisiveness and speed over careful planning and methodical processes. That can have its advantages at times, but it can also drive hiring managers to make rash, impulsive decisions.
Maybe someone in the department panicked because there was a sudden rush in business.
What happens after things slow down?
Will there still be work for you?
Just as bad, maybe the demand will be there, but no one at the company took the time to figure out what would be the best combination of job responsibilities to satisfy that need.
They may have no idea what they’re looking for in you.
The previous employee may have fled in desperation
The company may also be in a hurry to bring you into an interview because the person who previously held the position was driven insane by the company and gnawed his leg off just to get out of the trap.
Thus, the company has to scramble to get another poor sap in there to replace him. Don’t be a sucker. Find out why the position is open.
And when doing so, look for the usual signs of manure being slung about the room – stories that don’t add up, shifting eyes, evaded questions.
Company may be too short staffed to cover when people leave
Even if the person gave perfectly adequate notice of leaving, maybe the company was already teetering precariously on the edge of being way under staffed.
Perhaps this one person leaving was enough to push the department into complete chaos because it has nowhere near enough people to pick up the slack.
And that’s a situation you probably don’t want any part of – unless they’re openly looking for someone to rebuild the department, you’re up for the task, and they’re paying what it’s worth.
You may indeed be that desirable
Finally, you shouldn’t rule out that maybe you really are such a hotshot that an employer might scramble to get you before someone else does. Hey, don’t sell yourself short – it could very well true.
Granted, it’s less likely than the other scenario. But don’t get too cynical. The world is full of wild and wonderful moments and this could be one of them.
The real key in considering this is to weigh the eager company that called you the next day versus how much other action your resume is getting. Is this the only company that’s in a rush to bring you in?
If so, get the warning flags up.
Don’t rule these guys out automatically.
Just be prepared to ask the important questions along the way. Healthy skepticism can save you years of heartache.
With over 8 million occupants, New York City is by far the largest city in America. Serving this massive population is a slew of businesses offering countless employment opportunities for finance professionals. As a result, New York City is one of the best places to find an accounting job, and in this accounting career guide, we’ll show you how to snag that dream job.
A large number of major corporations make the city their home, including major players in the finance, media, and entertainment worlds. There are an abundance of opportunities for professionals at all levels and specialties, including bookkeeping, accounts payable, and staff accountant roles.
Who’s Hiring For Accounting?
It’s a city that never sleeps, and that saying also applies to the numerous businesses that call New York City home. Many of these businesses require large accounting staffs that can work 365 days of the year to keep up with all the commercial activity.
Furthermore, various well-off people who dwell in NYC additionally require master bookkeeping firms to deal with their accounts.
While the real firms are situated in Manhattan, there are also many firms hiring in the nearby boroughs. Brooklyn’s quickly developing fame has prompted an expansion in openings for work in the range, so don’t avoid this district from your pursuit of employment.
What’s the Accounting Salary in the Big Apple?
The typical cost for basic items in NYC is very high, so it really is great that accounting occupations pay handsomely in the city. Expect a normal pay of about $80,000 for someone experienced. This is well over the national average salary for the field, which is around $65,000. Senior accountants and managers can command over $100,000 per year.
Those with aptitude in a specific zone of bookkeeping, for example, reviewing or universal assessment, could get paid more by functioning as an expert to organizations or bookkeeping firms.
How to Apply for Accounting Jobs in NYC?
It is actually very simple to apply for accounting jobs. You just need to find open positions on a job board like Indeed or LinkedIn. Then send the hiring companies your resume letter online, containing all your past work and education experiences as well as an explanation of why you are qualified for the job. Then presto! You are hired.
If only it were that easy! New York is filled with many qualified candidates so expect lots of competition for those accounting jobs. Read up here on how to build up and enhance your credentials. It really does help if you can network via LinkedIn.
Try networking with past colleagues, or reaching out to old college buddies. Your natural market is the best way to get an “in’ into an organization.
Finally, one of the best ways is to use Vested. We match talented finance and accounting professionals with the fastest growing startups. It’s very simple. Just click the button “Sign Up” and link to your LinkedIn profile.
You’ll need to fill out a few small details about yourself, like your goals, needs and expectations. List your accomplishments and past work history and then we do the rest. Using our connection at startups, we’ll match the right role for your skills and career goals.
Immediate Openings in Accounting
According to our database of hiring companies, the top two positions that have openings are Accounts Payable Clerk and Staff Accountant.
The duties related to the job of an Accounts Payable specialist vary from organization to organization. You will be a vital member of the team that has the task of maintaining accounting operations for a particular department in the organization. To achieve success as an Accounts Payable Clerk, it’s key to understand job expectations and what it takes to exceed them.
Here is a basic job description for this accounting role:
Financial analysis and office administration
Checking and Verifying receipts and monies owed to vendors
Create invoices and vouchers
Filing, typing and posting ledgers
Make sure the debits and credits tie out
Variable costs are assigned to right cost centers and applied to the appropriate legal entities
Maintain accurate records of employee pay
Manages the record keeping and maintenance of invoices, receipts and other vendor documents
Balance records with respect to accounts receivables and payables
Manage the reimbursement and tracking process for travel and entertainment expenses
Be the “go-to person” for updating bank records and daily cash positions.
Accounts Payable Clerk Salary
According toGlassdoor, the national average for an AP Clerk is $31,587. In New York City, the salary for accounts payable clerk jobs is closer to $40,000. This is based on various openings from startups that have signed up atVested’s Employer Services.
Moreover, startups are lean on traditional benefits like matching 401K. However, they make it up in year-round casual dress codes, foosball tables, beer in the fridge, and high visibility. Startups are lean in general so it’s easier to rise up the ranks from an Accounts Payable Clerk to a Staff Accountant.
If the startup gets big enough or even goes public in 5-7 years, someone who started out as an Accounts Payable Clerk could easily be a candidate for a Controller job. This is the beauty of working for a startup: achieve success early and you will be recognized.
How to Achieve Success as an AP Specialist
We’ve done a recent survey of our startup clients, and we asked them what it takes for an Accounts Payable Clerk to succeed in this unique world.
Here are the highlights from that survey:
Constantly improve accounting skills and get more exposure in the accounting world
Review own work during month end to free up time for the senior accountant and/or the accounting manager to do more analysis
Make sure all accruals are defect free and hitting the right accounts so that there is no clean-up work to be done after
Make sure the accounting schedules tie out and see if there are ways they can be improved
Ensure the accounting team has an efficient and accurate Cash Process
Maintain constant and open dialogue with banks, and/or third-parties who specialize in cash processes (i.e.Stripe)
Analyze historic daily balances in Stripe to ensure we are forecasting correct
Perform a daily rec for stripe so that we have daily balances moving forward
Implement an AP automation software to drive efficiency and accuracy
Setup and manage the AP automation software that makes obtaining invoice approvals easier
Implement a process where invoice would be uploaded automatically into Netsuite
Improve AP aging process and work with department heads and the C-level executives to get pre-approval on fixed recurring monthly invoices. (Ex. Office supplies, Internet, travel & entertainment, office snacks, rent and utilities)
Constantly Improve finance skills and get more exposure to modeling
Work 1 on 1 with senior accountants and/or accounting manager to improve modeling skills
Take on small ad hoc projects to figure out what skills need to be improved
Ensure which important metrics are needed for forecasting
Partner up to ensure we have a smooth budget process.
Most of these things are typical expectations for an Accounts Payable Clerk. The main difference between working for a large corporation and a startup is the amount of work, and the ability to prioritize and knock out tasks.
According to the startups we’ve surveyed, this ability to multi-task and manage uncertainty is the number one skill to achieve job success as an Accounts Payable Clerk.
Staff Accountant Role
Although the staff accountant is one level higher than the Accounts Payable clerk, the job requirements are very similar. Most startups, or any business looking to hire a staff accountant, often require the following things:
The ability to analyze information from the general ledger
Prepare internal and external financial statement for the organization
Prepare payments for accrued expenses, and manage disbursements
Assist the Accounts Payable Clerk in reconciling accounts
Answer questions related to finance and accounting by analyzing information and conducting research
Solid understanding of math to calculate depreciation and cash flow impact of accruals
Comfortable with Excel modelling to help the Finance team with budgeting and forecasting exercises.
Skill and Educational Requirements for a Staff Accountant
This is where the Staff Accountant is slightly different from an Accounts Payable Clerk. Most businesses prefer their Staff Accountants to have a bachelor’s degree, which usually takes four years to complete. While in university, the Staff Accountant should have taken all the accounting courses, business courses, management courses, information technology courses, and ethics courses.
The curriculum might also include courses regarding macroeconomics, business communications, computer applications, statistics, and accounting information systems (which is one of the most important for the future according).
Furthermore, hiring firms require their Staff Accountants to have 2-3 years of prior accounting experience, preferably with one of the Big Four accounting firms (i.e. KPMG, E&Y). Finally, a Staff Accountant would need a CPA to work full time in a finance team at any business, including a startup.
The experience and educational requirements are different for Clerks because these roles require an Associate’s degree. It is not uncommon for Accounts Payable Clerks to work full-time and study after hours to acquire the necessary credits to sit for the CPA exam. Passing the CPA Exam is necessary if an Accounts Payable Clerk wants to get promoted to a Staff Accountant role.
Finally, Staff Accountants are expected to fulfill theCPE requirements to maintain their CPA license. The requirements are different from state to state. For example in New York, a CPA would need to do the following to maintain their license:
Complete a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education in any of the recognized courses
Complete a minimum of 24 hours in a concentrated subject area. Approved topics include but not limited to accounting, auditing, taxation, advisory services and specialized knowledge regarding accounting in a specific industry (i.e. real estate, patent)
If an organization’s accounting department is big enough, then it could provide courses to help it’s in-house CPAs complete these requirements. However, in the case of most startups, they don’t have sufficient cash to pay for the continuing education of their staff. Hence, Staff Accountants need to fulfill the CPE requirements on their own.
Achieving Success as a Staff Accountant in a Startup
We’ve surveyed our clients about how a Staff Accountant can work effectively in their unique work environment. Here are the highlights of the survey:
Staff Accountants are expected to perform a detailed review of the financial statements and monthly variances; create value through deep analytical knowledge on accounting processes; and identify any errors and adjustments that need to be made
Perform a detailed review of monthly variances to ensure no accruals/reversals/bills are missed during close
Ensure accounting processes comply with GAAP
Analyze expenses by department on a vendor level
Meet with department heads to review monthly expenses to ensure all accruals, reversals and bills have been recorded
Create a monthly variance analysis in each schedule to understand expenses in detail
Set-up, own and drive an efficient process for balance sheet accounts to ensure accuracy in reporting
Analyze and review balance sheet accounts by journal entry since inception to identify any process errors and adjustments
Lead the communication to develop a new process for recording these accounts
Develop a more analytical knowledge about these accounts to provide deep insights on how to create an efficient process for accurate reporting
Determine the amount that is reasonable to write-off based on the analysis that is performed
Improving the Budget Versus Actuals (BVA) process
Identify fail points and opportunities on processes before business owners do
Drive process to ensure business leaders are prepared in the monthly meetings by reviewing and confirming the expenses prior to closing the books
Perform detailed analysis and having explanations on large or inconsistent variances
Create an environment of “no surprises.”
Finally, the HR departments at most startups emphasized that “emotional intelligence” or EQ is more important than technical skills. Startups are a fast paced environment, and the Staff Accountant would need to be comfortable working independently.
Startups don’t have a large finance or accounting department, and the staff do not sit behind walled off cubicles.
It’s usually an open office setting with high visibility. So a Staff Accountant at a startup should be comfortable with all types of people (from an engineer requesting T&E reimbursement to the CEO asking about daily cash positions) to come to his or her desk.
The Staff Accountant role involves handling these ad-hoc requests efficiently and effectively, while still leaving sufficient time to complete his or her other regular tasks.
Some of the roles that firms are looking to fill:
Senior Financial Analyst
Director of Accounting
Vice President of Accounting
Chief Financial Officer (many startups prefer Big 5 credentials)
How to Get that Accounting Role
As we discussed in this article, figures quite often add power and believability to what you highlight on your resume, particularly when you are applying for accounting work.
Lots of employers like to see impressive numbers on your resume. Working on the budget for the lightbulb division in General Electric is not as impressive as managing a $50 million budget at a tire factory.
Yes, GE has the brand name, but stating your role doesn’t provide context. However, if you show on your resume, that you managed a $50 million capital budget for a company that has $75 million of gross revenues – then it’s a powerful story. It shows that you were important enough in the organization to manage a budget that is 2/3 of their entire annual gross revenues.
Be Prepared to Explain Your Credentials
Yes, there’s a limit to this. Something may look incredible on a resume, however consider how it will sound when somebody gets some information about it in the meeting. For instance saying that you “expanded organization benefits by 200%” opens yourself up to questions including “what particularly did you do to build benefits?”
On the off chance that you don’t have a nitty gritty system and operational guide for how you accomplished this, your interviewer will stay extremely suspicious of your prospects.
The Mental Game
Regardless of how great your pursuit of employment methodology, there’s continually going to be disappointment and dismissal. It’s inescapable. In any pursuit of employment, you can’t get to that “Yes, you’re hired” without loads of “No, we’re not interested” reactions.
Thus, it’s urgent that you get practical about the path towards landing a position and have the correct attitude to deal with setbacks. Without the capacity to drive forward, you won’t get very far. They say it’s a dog eat dog world in New York, and it’s especially true when it comes to finding the very best accounting jobs in the mecca of finance.
As we discuss here, it’s important to have a winning and sturdy mindset to deal with the ups and downs of finding that dream accounting role:
#1: Relish the Challenge of Finding the Right Accounting Job
The normal time it takes to find another employment is a month and a half. There’s a great deal to do when attempting to find your next employment opportunity, from researching the role and company to interviewing. Finally, there’s the soul searching part. This is probably the most important. We spend a lot of time at work so we must constantly evaluate why we’re doing this and why we should care.
#2: The Recruiting Game is just Statistics
It’s anything but difficult to romanticize one specific opening for work as “the one.” This happens regularly when you have one process going and all your eggs are in one basket. Perhaps, you’ve had an eye for that dream internal auditor role at a hot startup, and you’re focused only on that one role.
You open yourself up to major disappointment if it doesn’t pan out. It’s much better to spread yourself wide. Apply to various positions. Meet lots of people. It’s not rare that you interview for a Staff Accounting role and they give you a more managerial role because your specialty is needed in the organization.
#3 Power Through Tough Times and Keep Learning
You’ll likely go through various cycles of applying and not getting a response. Then when you finally get a response, the interview doesn’t go well. It’s a frustrating process that you have to compete with so many qualified accounting professionals in NYC, but it’s the recruiting game in the big city. Instead of being frustrated, keep your head up, keep networking and keep working on your resume and interviewing skills.
#4: Stay Positive!
Whenever you advance through the interview process, ensure that you record these wins in a diary that archives your triumphs and lessons learned as you experience this trip. It will come in handy when you feel stale or when you experience the hardships of finding that dream accounting job.
Attempt to recall that enormous victories are just the result of numerous littler triumphs included!
Interviewing for An Accounting Position
Here we have a more extensive review of how to prepare for your interviews:
What are your qualities?
What are your shortcomings?
Why are you intrigued by working for us?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
What would you be able to offer us that another person can’t?
What are three things your previous supervisor might want you to enhance?
Educate me regarding an achievement you are most pleased with.
Enlighten me regarding a period you committed an error.
What is the ideal job for you?
What might you fulfill in the initial 30/60/90 days at work?
So be ready to answer any of these basic inquiries questions. Be honest and succinct but don’t sound monotone. Memorize a general script that answers each and every question, but don’t just regurgitate what you memorized.
Learn to vary your tone and overall emotion so it looks and feels natural. The meeting ought to be a discussion that ideally finishes up with you being offered the occupation you had always wanted.
Finally, when it comes to interviews practice, practice, practice.
If you are 2-3 years out of college or from your MBA school, it could be possible to set up mock interviews with the Career Center at your alma mater. This is often free for alumni so why not take advantage?
In today’s world, interviews can be done via Google Hangouts, via person or by phone. You have to be comfortable to showcase yourself and your skills in all mediums of communication.
If you find yourself stumbling in a video interview, then use the career center of your old university. Ask someone there to interview you via Google hangouts. If it’s in person interview that requires improvement, why not visit your old campus?
Another easy way to practice interviewing is with friends and family. It’s a comfortable way to practice answering questions. One caveat – friends and family are the worst critics. They will highlight the strengths but tend to overlook your weaknesses. Just keep this in mind when using friends and family to interview.
Then there’s scheduling informational interviews through your LinkedIn network. This does two things. First, you get to practice your interview skills with someone in your industry and get honest feedback. Second, you can strengthen your relationships with existing business contacts by reaching out to them.
If you can schedule interviews or meetings with people outside your network, then that’s even better. This helps you build your network, and perhaps, that person can pass on your resume to his or her company’s human resources department.
Courtesy Still Counts
Finally, we get to the often asked question of do I need to follow-up after an interview. It never hurts to thank your interviewers for their time. Usually, this is best done right after the interview. A short email of two to three sentences should suffice and make sure to use their business email.
As for further follow-ups, it’s good to check up a week from your interview, unless they explicitly tell you to wait for a specific time period. Again, a short polite email should suffice, and if it’s two weeks, then I’d pick up the phone and call.
You’ve Got the Accounting Job
First, congratulations once you land that dream accounting role. Anyone that has gone through a job search – any job search – in New York City can tell you how hard the process can be.
Make sure to submit your two weeks’ notice, and share your LinkedIn contacts with close colleagues at your soon-to-be employer. Although you are going to another position, it’s always good to stay in good graces with your old employer. You never know when you might be on the hunt again for another accounting job in New York City.
The Controller plays a key leadership role in the accounting and finance department. To become a controller, you’ll need a strong knowledge of accounting principles and procedures, can whip up and share reports with ease, and have the organizational skills to oversee the operations of the accounting department. In large companies, controllers often report to the CFO and manage a number of key accounting staff. Controllers in smaller companies might report directly to the CEO and have a significantly smaller staff to oversee.
Financial Controller Responsibilities:
Create accurate financial statements, including income statements, Balance Sheets, and Statement of Cash Flows
Own the monthly close process, including journal entries and reconciling various accounts
Assist in external audits of financial statements with third party accounting firms
Drive insights by researching and interpreting trends in financial data
Develop the annual budget process and any interim forecasting changes
Support business leaders in completing special projects, ad-hoc reporting, and strategic analysis as requested
Work closely with in-house engineering teams or external consultants to implement financial systems such as NetSuite, SAP, Concur or Expensify
Financial Controller Qualifications:
BS/BA & MBA in Finance, Accounting, Economics
10+ years of professional experience in accounting
Experience raising venture capital equity and venture debt
Relevant understanding and experience with US GAAP
High degree of organization, initiative, attention to detail, and ability to manage deadlines
Excellent communication skills
Enterprise-level software planning systems
Big 4 accounting experience
Financial Controller Salary
Financial Controller Salary New York Average: $140,000
Interested in Controller jobs? Vested is the first finance and accounting hiring marketplace that brings the jobs to you! Check out our unique platform in the short video below.
Are you ready to become a Financial Controller? Join Vested and let companies apply to you.
What Do Financial Controllers Do?
You know the basic responsibilities that being a Controller entails, but what will you really be doing on a day-to-day basis in this role? While specific Controller duties depend on the size and needs of each company, this position will likely involve the following tasks.
Financial Reporting & Auditing
Controllers are not only responsible for monitoring a company’s overall finances, but they are also relied on to establish and enforce internal reporting controls. Often, Controllers work with external auditors to ensure the use of proper reporting standards.
Controllers prepare budgets through collecting, analyzing and consolidating financial data. In this role, a Controller’s main priority is to summarize trends, keep an eye on variances and look into budget deficiencies.
Monitoring Tax Legislation
Businesses rely on Controllers to monitor upcoming legislation that could affect operations and how the company is taxed. The Controller needs to ensure that all necessary licenses, permits and operating procedures are obtained and followed.
Hiring & Managing Staff
Controllers are usually department leaders, meaning they are likely part of the recruiting, hiring, and training process for new accounting team members. The Controller is responsible for everything that goes into managing a team, including motivating, developing and disciplining staff.
Implementation of Financial Systems
Controllers are often the company lead as systems are being implemented at a company. It takes more than just the technological know-how to implement effective financial systems. It also requires a deep understanding of all aspects of finance function and the business itself. This is where the Controller is expected to play a large role. They are generally expected to develop policies and procedures and define roles and responsibilities for an effective implementation.
Career Training & Education
Controllers are expected to continue enhancing their finance, leadership, and industry knowledge throughout their careers. Maintaining certificates and attending trainings should be considered job priorities.
Common Finance Controller Interview Questions
Controllers are looked to for their budgeting expertise, ability to interpret financial data, attention to detail, and leadership skills. Prepare to showcase your knowledge and experience in these areas during an interview. Use these common Controller interview questions to help you land your next job.
What do you consider the most important factors to take into account when developing a financial strategy?
Tell me about a time you identified a financial opportunity in your company.
What types of reports and presentations have you developed for executive managers in the past?
Tell me about a time when your opinion was challenged in a team setting.
What kind of reporting software are you familiar with?
How have you helped junior-level staff grow their careers?
What is your approach to hiring financial staff?
Tell me about a time you had to persuade an executive team to make an important financial decision.
How do you monitor and evaluate your team’s performance?
How do you resolve conflicts that arise from stakeholder pushback?
Tell me about a time you had to motivate your team to complete a complex project under a tight deadline.
What are some financial strengths and weaknesses of our industry?
How have you increased revenues for previous companies you’ve worked for?
What is the most challenging financial project you’ve worked on and how did you go about completing it?
Tell me about a time when you improved the efficiency of reporting financial information or the quality of financial reports.
How do you introduce new technology to your team?
Are you experienced in setting up internal reporting controls? If so, give an example of an accounting or financial reporting control you implemented.
How do you relay complex financial information to team members outside of the finance department?
How have you reduced expenses for previous companies you’ve worked for?
What educational steps have you taken toward advancing your career?
How to become a Controller
Maybe you have the necessary education, certificates, and accounting experience to take on a Controller role, but do you have what it takes to succeed in this position? While accounting roles are typically well-suited for organized, factual, detail-oriented individuals, Controller positions require the ability to dive deeper into the numbers and act as both a financial interpreter and guide for executive teams.
If you’re considering a Controller job, work on obtaining the soft skills needed to be effective in the role. Here are five qualities employers desire in a Controller:
As financial team managers, Controllers need to be able to lead effectively. Not only does this mean directing team tasks and goals, but it also requires the ability to motivate and develop the finance professionals they manage. Successful teams are led by those who understand how to manage both projects and people.
A Financial Controller needs to be both a reactive and proactive problem solver. They need to be able to detect budget discrepancies and deficiencies and work to fix them. Controllers should also be focused on making improvements in reporting and the general financial direction of the business.
Controllers need to have a strong work ethic and the drive to help the business succeed, even if it means going above and beyond what is asked of them. A Controller should be innovative and eager to make changes that will lead to financial success.
The Financial Controller is responsible for interpreting dense information and communicating it in a way team members across departments can understand. This means possessing the ability to give reports and forecasts in non-technical terms. A Controller should also be able to build a strong relationship and communicate effectively with the CFO and other department leaders.
Controllers should be innately curious and excited to advance their education. This includes maintaining industry certificates as well as improving leadership and management skills. Financial Controllers should become excited at the idea of enhancing any skillset that will make them better at what they do.
There are many paths to become a controller. At Vested, we’re here to help you choose the right one.
This guide to Financial Controller was created by the Vested team. If you are interested in a Controller role, please join us to get matched with opportunities at one of our partner companies.
The Accounting Manager plays an important role not only in managing the accounting team, but also in owning the month-end close process. Accounting Managers oversee and maintain financial records, prepare and publish a number of documents, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets and sales reports, and prepare schedules for year end taxes. Often, Accounting Managers report directly to the company’s CFO or Financial Controller and manage a number of Staff Accountants.
Accounting Manager Responsibilities
Manage the month-end close process, including the review of journal entries, account reconciliations, and supporting schedules
Perform financial statement analyses and work closely with business partners to explain fluctuations to support business decisions
Lead accounting projects, including the design and implementation of key finance systems, internal controls, global close efficiency, audit readiness, and management reporting
Manage outsourced vendors and find opportunities to outsource activities or processes
Support business leaders in completing special projects, ad-hoc reporting, and strategic analysis as requested
Mentor, teach, and review the work of other members of the accounting team
Accounting Manager Qualifications
BS/BA in Finance, Accounting, Economics, or similar (MBA is a plus)
5+ years of experience professional experience in accounting
Advanced Excel (V-Lookup and Pivot Tables)
High degree of organization, initiative, attention to detail, and flexibility to accommodate deadlines
Excellent communication skills
Enterprise-level software planning systems
Accounting Manager Salary
Accounting Manager Salary New York Average: $100,000
Interested in Accounting Manager jobs? Vested is the first finance and accounting hiring marketplace that brings the jobs to you! Check out our unique platform in the short video below.
Are you ready to become a world-class Accounting Manager? Join Vested and let companies apply to you.
Accounting Manager Job Description: What Does an Accounting Manager Do?
The Accounting Manager is responsible for a number of tasks related to tracking a company’s money. An Accounting Manager should be detail-oriented, familiar with tax regulations and able to effectively communicate with employees and upper-level management. Take a look at some of the tasks Accounting Managers are responsible for.
Managing Accounting Functions
Accounting Managers oversee the accounting functions of a company; this is no surprise. These functions can include ledger maintenance, revenue and asset accounting, accounts payable and accounts receivable. The Accounting Manager is also responsible for managing reporting, such as sales and inventory reports, balance sheets and profit and loss statements.
Preparing Tax Documents
In addition to accounting functions, Accounting Managers are looked to for overseeing the preparation of tax documents, especially for year-end taxes. They often prepare schedules and file for state and federal taxes.
Managing Accounting Staff
Accounting Managers are the leaders of the Accounting Department. This means they are responsible for ensuring department goals are met and projects are completed while adhering to approved budgets. Managing the department goes hand-in-hand with managing individual accounting employees, such as Staff Accountants. Accounting Managers act as mentors and managers, ensuring that their employees are completing tasks and performing well.
Analyzing Finances and Improving Systems
Accounting Managers aren’t only expected to make sure accounting functions are completed, they also need to make sure processes in the department are efficient and beneficial to the company. Having the ability to analyze finances and make improvements to processes is key. Since Account Managers often work with the CFO and other company leaders, they should be able to communicate complex ideas in a clear, efficient manner.
Managing Company Audits
Planning and completing company audits is another process Accounting Managers are expected to take on. This includes identifying internal process risks, evaluating operating controls and practices, and documenting audit results. Once the audit is complete, Accounting Managers create reports and present recommendations for improvement to top-level managers.
5 Accounting Manager Interview Questions & Answers to Prep You for the Interview
Interviews have a tendency to be nerve-wracking and uncomfortable. But being well-prepared builds confidence and makes the whole interviewing process a little less stressful. Take a look at these five Accounting Manager interview questions and how to go about answering them.
Describe an accounting process you’ve developed or improved.
Why it’s asked: As an Accounting Manager, you’re expected to continue developing and improving processes rather than just working within them. Hiring Managers need to see that you’re forward-thinking and innovative.
How to answer: Practice describing a specific process you’ve developed or improved in a clear, succinct way. Highlight key takeaways without diving too far into unnecessary details or company-specific jargon. If you don’t have experience in this area, talk about what you like about the processes you’ve used or how you would change them if given the opportunity.
How do you minimize the risk for errors?
Why it’s asked: Accounting mistakes can be detrimental to a company. It’s important to know what steps you take to ensure accuracy.
How to answer: Talk through the steps you take before submitting reports and other accounting documents. This likely will include checking your work or having a checks and balances system with your team. You can also describe a time when you caught an error before submitting work.
Tell me about a time when you had to explain a complex accounting situation to someone without an accounting background.
Why it’s asked: Accounting Managers need to be able to explain department issues or goals to company leaders and managers from different departments. You’ll need to be able to make your point in a way that people across departments can understand.
How to answer: Within your answer, be sure to emphasize your communication skills along with your ability to be a team player. You could explain a situation in which there was an accounting issue involving a different department and how you went about contacting that department manager to resolve it. You could also talk about a time when you had to convince an executive, emphasizing any reports or graphs used to state your case.
What do you consider the biggest challenge facing the accounting profession?
Why it’s asked: Hiring Managers want to know if you are able to see the big picture rather than just the small details of your job. This role requires someone who can take initiative to make changes and have the foresight to overcome obstacles.
How to answer: There is no right answer, here. The point is to make sure you are engaged in your profession. As long as you are up-to-date on current industry events, you should be able to give a well-thought-out answer.
How do you monitor the performance of your team?
Why it’s asked: Accounting Managers need to be able to manage employees just as well as they can manage processes. You need to be able to demonstrate your value as a leader.
How to answer: Talk through management methods you use to ensure that department goals are met. Describe how you motivate your team and how you manage difficult conversations with individuals who give low performances.
How to be an Effective Accounting Manager
Positioning yourself in higher-level accounting roles will result in you managing more responsibilities and more people. If you’re new to a management position, understanding how to get the most out of those working under you can take time. Even veteran managers need to step back and evaluate their managing styles on occasion.
Wondering how to best manage your team? Take a look at these tips on how to be an effective manager.
Make Objectives Clear
Creating specific goals for your employees and making these goals clear will help guide the focus of your team. Objectives should be measurable and tailored to each employee, giving them direction without the need to micro-manage. Defining goals at the beginning of the year gives both you and your employees business objectives to work toward and talking points during team meetings and check-ins.
Set High Expectations
Demand excellence of your employees by setting high, yet attainable, standards. This doesn’t mean you need to be overly harsh or strict; simply treat your employees with respect and encourage them to only turn in their best work. Setting high expectations shows your team that you think highly of them and the work they are capable of producing. Refusing to accept less than an employee’s best fosters a work environment that takes pride in good work and pushes toward self-improvement.
Communicating regularly with your team can (and should) be done without checking work or micromanaging tasks. Simply making it known that you’re available to talk about objectives, roadblocks or new ideas is enough to create a positive, open work environment. Being upfront about things that might be difficult to discuss, such as compensation, layoffs, interpersonal issues, and other internal conflicts can also build trust and ease any discomfort that comes with manager-employee relationships. Giving both positive and negative constructive feedback is another way to keep communication lines open with your team.
Make Time for Your Objectives
While managing a team can take a lot of time and effort, it isn’t the only responsibility managers have. Be sure to take the necessary time to complete your own work and meet goals set for yourself. It’s easy to adopt a reactive work style as a manager and take care of issues or asks as they arise. Prevent this by blocking off time each week during which you can focus on work without being disturbed. Prioritizing and delegating work can also help you make time for your own projects.
Be Open to New Ideas
Encourage your team to come to you with new ideas, and when they do, listen. Don’t get stuck in the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset; the most effective managers are flexible and on the lookout for new opportunities.
Act as a Mentor
Some of the best managers are those who can see their employees beyond current roles. As a manager, you should be mindful of the fact that your Staff Accountant might not want to stay in that position forever. Take an interest in your employees’ career aspirations and direct them on how to get there. If possible, assign tasks and objectives that align with their career goals. Encourage them to attend trainings or attain certificates that can benefit their futures. Taking an interest in the development of team members builds trust and motivates them to do quality work.
This guide to Accounting Manager was created by the Vested team. If you are interested in an Accounting Management role, please join us to get matched with opportunities at one of our partner companies.
FP&A jobs, finance manager jobs and careers in the business sector offer big paychecks, but most of these high profile financial positions carry a big responsibility. Finance professionals help steer the company with the right plans and forecasts. They serve as the captains of the corporate ship that drive the American economy. Because of their importance, employers will pay top dollar for the best and brightest minds in finance.
If you’re in the hunt for entry level finance jobs or you’re interested in making a career switch to finance, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. Although a career in accounting and a career in finance can be similar, the functions and expectations are still different.
This article covers an overview of the qualifications, requirements and the various roles you can look for in finance. Once you are equipped with necessary knowledge about the various types of careers in finance, you can then confidently submit your resume and credentials to:
To excel in the finance career path, it helps to have the many professional certifications and to pass the finance-centric exams. You can secure an entry-level job in the finance sector with an undergraduate for the post of an advisor or consultant.
But the basic qualification for advancement is a graduate degree or a Master in Business Administration (MBA).
It helps to pursue a bachelor’s degree or an MBA concentration in finance that will let you learn financial theory, and participate in projects or case studies.
The main components of any finance related course includes the basics:
Marketing ROI Analysis
Budgeting & Forecasting Variance Analysis
The most in-demand professionals have Master’s degree in finance or an MBA. The course contents can consist of:
International Financial Markets
Advanced Financial Management
Applied Portfolio Theory
Small Business Finance
Macroeconomics & the Global Economy
Financial Buyouts & Acquisitions
Private Equity & Venture Capital
Typically, a master’s course builds upon your undergraduate studies. Hence, schools often label them as “advanced.” For further info on finance courses at a graduate level, take a look at Wharton‘s course catalog.
Furthermore, many financial organizations prefer candidates with professional certifications in finance. To add value to your resume you can pursue a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CFP (Certified Financial Planner). The certification will enhance your financial skills needed at various levels of employment.
Many financial services like selling stocks or bonds require you to obtain the license from authorized agencies like Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The most common of the financial licenses are series 7 and series 63. You can go for these licenses while doing the job since these are not pre-requisites to get a job but rather these licenses are legally required to provide certain client services.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the financial sector is bound to increase by 8% by 2024. In the last year, the mean salary of the financial specialist was $66,530 whereas the median annual wage of other occupations was only $37,040.
The major hubs for financial jobs in the world are the cities which are regarded as financial cities. Some of the global financial hubs are New York, Dubai, Shanghai, Mumbai, London and much more. There has been a trend of better job opportunities in developing countries and this trend will not move down in the future too. You can find jobs in the financial sector in a branch office or corporate offices in any city of the world.
Best Job Sources
If you are still in your college pursuing your studies, campus placement is the best option to enter into finance sector since many companies prefer to pick their candidates from the college whom they can train to fit their organizational structure. If you have passed out of school or college, you can post your resume on one of the best job search sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, and much more. You can also find job openings on financial institution sites like CFA, Bloomberg or EFinancial.
Other trending job-finding resources are the social media platforms. LinkedIn is the best platform for professionals to find the jobs of their interest and stature. You have to create your profile just like a resume and post your qualification and experience. Once you finish that, you can expand your network by sending requests to other LinkedIn users in financial fields. Many companies post their job openings on their LinkedIn business pages, such as the Vested Linkedin page. So creating a LinkedIn profile is one of the best steps to take for a good job offer.
Finally, Recruiting 2.0 has arrived! In the “old” days, you would go online and submit your resumes to the job boards. Then you wait. But in today’s world, recruiting platforms, like Vested, allow you to post your resume and credentials in a private database. Using a proprietary algorithm, Vested’s platform will then match you to accounting and finance jobs from a slew of companies in the United States. Vested does all the work for you!
All you have to do is polish up on your interviewing skills by reading up on our career and interview guides.
Finance Firms that Offer Job Opportunities
The types of careers in finance are not limited if you meet the qualifications and skills required. The job aspirants looking for careers in finance can find jobs in various types of financial institutions:
Commercial banks provide one of the largest opportunities for banking aspirants. These banks provide banking services like loans to individuals, small and large scale corporates and enterprises. If you are interested in a career as a teller, credit card banking, leasing or international finance, then the commercial banking sector can offer you exciting roles. You can work as credit Analyst, loan officer, branch manager, trust officer or as a mortgage banker.
This is a specialized division of many commercial banks. The Investment banks deal with corporates and government bodies and help them in the sale of securities, raising money, mergers and acquisitions and all the assistance for any kind of large financial transaction.
Some of the leading names of investment banks are JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.
These are the typical finance roles in investment banking:
Some money management firms operate with little limitations and higher risks. Hedge funds are open to only accredited investors who are ready to invest huge amounts for a minimum lockup-period. Clients can withdraw the funds after fixed period at certain intervals.
To amplify the ROI, hedge funds are invested in stocks, real estate, derivatives, mutual funds or land on the long term. As a Hedge funds manager, you can earn a minimum of 2% on assets value and twenty percent of the profit each year. Other financial roles in hedge funds can be as a security analyst or a trader.
Private Equity Firms
Unlike Hedge funds which deal in public securities, the private equity firms invest the funds of investors in private companies. In the case of a buyout of a public company, it de-lists the public equity and make it private.
The private equity firms then improve the operations and profitability of the newly private company. After a few years, the private equity firm then does an IPO of the private company to sell their shares to the public at a higher price.
Private equity also includes venture capital. In venture capital, firms invest money in early stage companies who have the potential to make it big. Venture Capital firms, like Accel, Greylock Partners and Meritech, invested in a then obscure company called Facebook back 2006. They cashed out with a huge return when Facebook went public in 2012.
Jobs at private equity firms are highly competitive. Often, former investment bankers with advanced degrees in finance and business can secure a job at these firms. Without these pre-requisite qualifications, one would have a difficult time breaking into the private equity industry.
S&P 500 Companies
All the S&P 500 companies, whether they are in the telecom business, consumer electronics or any other business type, require an army of FP&A Analysts to join their FP&A teams at corporate levels.
Because of their size and the breadth and nature of their business, S&P 500 firms need finance analysts at all levels in every part of the world. These companies need FP&A analysts to prepare annual budgets, periodic budget forecasts, financial modelling and internal reporting of vital business metrics.
Finance job titles at these firms can include:
Directors of Finance
Chief Financial Officer
Lists of Careers in Finance
If you feel excited about sale and purchase of shares, commodities, bonds or currencies, and help the investors to earn money due to market surge, go for a career in financial trading. The trading jobs are at the same time challenging considering the regular government regulatory changes. You can apply for the trading job in financial institutions like hedge funds and commercial banks.
You can apply as an assistant trader after doing graduation but the best way to enter trading is to clear the series 7 and 63 exams. MBA’s are also preferred in trading line. Any certification or degree in mathematics or statistics is also seen as a plus in trading sector. As a fresh graduate you may land a junior post but with experience, you will get an allocation of higher capital as you gain the confidence of your seniors.
Trading jobs at hedge funds are the top choice in the financial sector. You can work under a portfolio manager to buy or sell the securities. If you have the discretion to deal with the securities, then you have a good chance of making a good money. If you think you are one of the best hedge funds traders, you can start your own hedge fund as well.
In trading finance careers, salary is on higher side but at the same time, the jobs are stressful. You need to on your toes and sense rightly the future market movements. Before you apply for a trading job you must be aware that you will manage the huge sum of money on daily basis and should be ready to face the wrath of employers in case of failure.
For a successful career path in trading, you should have mathematics background since you need to do calculations based upon the market conditions. You have to make quick decisions since the trading market is a volatile industry. It is not just a 9 to 5 job since you will need to follow the market trends even during off hours.
If you see yourself serving a big company, institution or government then option for Investment banking and enrolling in a suitable graduation and post-graduation course is the best decision. Well, to begin with, Investment banking is all about helping your hiring company in managing their capital with the suitable strategies and plans. Depending on the size of your company you may be serving for the whole company as an expert or specialize in one area to provide expert advice.
Investment banking professionals are offered jobs in multinational commercial or investment banks. The job scenario is quite bright if you have studied this professional degree as you have the option to apply in big global banks as well as national, regional or local banks. Other avenues are asset management corporate, equity firms or business enterprise dealing with capital management. Some big organizations with the in-house department for evaluation of strategic opportunities like corporate mergers and expansion.
Being an Investment Banker you will be responsible for providing strategic opinion and guidance to your employer company for a merger or taking over another company. The strong financial modeling acumen will come in handy along with the extreme confidence of communication with senior level management professionals and business owners.
The second primary role you will play in your company will be to guide and strategize to raise the capital for your company or your client. For this, you need to hone skills like underwrite debt and equity by analyzing the industry you are working for. This responsibility will also be an important aspect if you are providing consultation to a government organization.
Another area of expertise for an investment banker is in private equity which more or less is a specialization of medium to small firms. These people identify and strategize to invest in large and reputed firms with an aim of huge profits. This is the most stressful but most well-paying job in the field of investment banking. As you grow in this profession you will be wealthier than ever. If your profession is your life, then you may end up in owning a private equity firm of your own.
Another area is Venture capital wherein the responsibility on you lies to look for some small, new but promising companies. If you have an inkling to follow the latest and innovative technologies and know how to take calculated risks, then this is the job for you. It can be a very challenging profession but like private equity, if your homework is perfect no one can stop you from getting listed in the wealthiest of people.
Here you can be master of your own job since this is the job where you and only you can be communicating the financial analysis as per your perspective. The analysis can be on national financial prospects, business opportunity for companies and other similar areas where your expertise and experience is the driving factor.
A financial analyst usually is an individual who may work as a consultant, writer, academician, educator or reviewer who has acumen to study, analyze and comment on the economical or financial aspects of a company, institute, government or country. A financial analyst enjoys studying financial data, understanding the trends and presenting his views while observing the financial markets closely.
If you dream to be a financial analyst then you have to play the roles of an economist, a strategist or a predictor. As an economist, your employer, readers or students may look forward to your shrewdness in analyzing the financial market data and the underlying trends in predicting the future financial conditions. You can land up in a lucrative job in government’s planning department, commercial banks, investment banks, asset managing companies and academic organization.
An economist employed at banks or corporate earn very well whereas those in educational institutes or government sector may not get good compensation for their efforts. Those in academia definitely get huge satisfaction with the respect and reputation they earn with their knowledge and experience. Freedom of working as freelancers and consultants gives you much better prospects.
The strategists study the economy and financial markets to offer strategic consultation and guidance to the companies and institutes. Banks and finance management companies are the most probable employers for strategists. Chief Investment Strategist is one of the highest paying titles for successful strategists becoming the public persona of a corporate. The strategists do get better pay-packs than the economist.
The predictors are the best pals for government organizations and large corporations. They are meant to predict the future financial status with the help of mathematical models that means that the focus is in research and development rather than purely financial analysis of the stock market. Finance management companies, equity firms or banks look for predictors with mathematical or statistical experience in the field of economics and finance. You have to be a person who loves to work with number crunching with the help of models using computing software.
Everyone in today’s world wishes to earn more by investing least. It is all about what you have included in your investment portfolio. As a portfolio managing professional you will look into the need of your clients and guide them to invest into different shares and schemes. All this is possible if you have a keen knowledge of stock market and understanding of the trends. Along with that, your clients will entrust you with the responsibility of achieving their desired investment targets in the specified duration.
The trick of the trade is to know your client well and convince him about the certainty with which you have researched. The best part or you can also say that the worst part is that for you as a consultant, each client is different. One portfolio will not suit multiple clients. You have to focus on each one’s needs and limitations.
To get a job as portfolio manager you will be looking ahead for finance management companies and hedge fund institutions. Other options could be such as sovereign wealth planners, pension funds consultant firms or insurance business. For this lucrative job, you must own a four-year college degree and then an experience of working as an investment analyst. With sufficient years of employment as a portfolio manager, you can have a firm of your own to get a well-paying clientele.
Responsibilities of a portfolio manager include creation and management of client portfolios. Depending upon the firm you will be employed with, you have to either manage separate accounts for client’s account type and investments or pooled accounts catering to the investment needs of multiple clients in aggregation. The second type of arrangement is easier to manage but it may not be suitable for some clients who need special treatment of their money.
One of the desirable characteristics of a portfolio manager in addition to expert market analysis is the ability to strike a good relationship with the clients through different kind of contact options. You can opt for growing as a portfolio manager specializing in a single asset category or multi-asset category. In both cases, you have to be a good researcher. This job like many other finance careers can be very stressful with a need to spend long hours with clients. Competition is extremely high in this career, but once you establish yourself, it can bring you satisfying returns.
Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) Jobs
Unlike other jobs discussed till now, the Financial Planning & Analysis is strictly in-house job. By hiring you as a Financial Planning and Analysis manager or professional, a company will be relying on you to help their senior management to get analytical information of company’s finance. With this information, operational, financial, and strategic decisions are taken with an eye on maximizing profits and minimizing the expenses.
Your responsibilities will primarily include budgeting, defining and monitoring cash flow and implementing other analytical tools to measure the financial performance of the company. A qualified financial professional must display traits like analytical, focused, inquiring, thorough understanding of internal financial status of the company and comprehensive knowledge of his job.
To reach up to the stage of an FP&A manager or director, usually a beginner has to spend a good amount of years on some organizational accounting position at medium ranks. It will help him in understanding the nuances of financial planning, budgeting and cash flow. A basic graduate degree in commerce or finance is required but a master’s degree can help in starting off at a higher grade. The experience and learning while on job is the most important aspect to grow as a FP&A professional. This job is considered to be good in terms of salary considering the manageable work pressure and a relatively secure job than others discussed earlier.
Final Words on Careers in Finance
No doubt, FP&A jobs, finance manager jobs and careers in finance offer lucrative perks but there is stiff competition to get a job. Besides the required qualifications, you should also have a passion to keep pace with volatile financial markets and financial regulations.
Whether you’re a seasoned finance professional or a recent graduate looking for entry level finance jobs, make sure to read career and interview guides to stay up-to-date with the financial industry, as well as getting your daily dose of the Financial Times and Economist.
Finally sign up HERE to be considered for the very best career opportunities in finance.
Politicians have mastered the art of presenting information in a way that is most flattering to their point-of-view. This is especially true when numbers are involved — see President Trump talking about his inauguration attendance figures or the GOP Congress discussing the costs of the ACHA.
Numbers are cherry picked to emphasize their argument. While we would argue that it’s best to not emulate the worst traits of our politicians, they do offer some insight into how numbers can be used to enhance your prospects as a job candidate.
Finding the Hidden Numbers
Figures almost always add power and credibility to what you claim on your resume, especially when you are applying for a finance job. Let’s say you worked on a special project or initiative such as implementing a new Accounts Payable software.
Make sure you quantify the return on investment (ROI) by thinking of the software investment (monthly cost) vs. time it saved your company multiplied by the rate per hour. What about other costs such as missed invoices and late fees? Add those to the figure and you’ll probably come up with a pretty impressive figure for your resume. You can do this same process for anything, no matter how mundane it may seem.
Put it Into Ballpark Figures
As finance professionals, we often think that the more detailed a figure is the better it looks on our resume. That being said, often times we can’t always determine a precise amount, so go with a ballpark estimate.
Most hiring managers will be ok with a safe, lower estimate and state it in terms like, “Approximately $5,000 annually.” This gives your prospective hiring manager a sense of the magnitude of the impact that you had on your prior organization.
Avoid the Ridiculous
Yes, there’s a limit to all this. Something may look great on a resume, but think of how it will sound when someone asks about it in the interview. For example mentioning that you “increased company profits by 200%” opens yourself up to questions including “what specifically did you do to increase profits?”
If you don’t have a detailed strategy and operational roadmap for how you achieved this, your prospective interviewer will remain very skeptical of your prospects. Make sure that you always filter your claims through a common sense filter.
When to Leave the Numbers Off
Sometimes it’s best to leave the numbers off a particular resume entry. This is especially true when you’re talking about a relatively small amount. For instance, if by your calculations your efforts increased the average $2,000 sale by $10 over the course of a year, it’s going to be difficult to make that sound impressive (even though such a gain can indeed make a difference). In that sort of case, you’re better off putting it into terms like, “Increased average sales figures in key product line.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Look carefully at your resume and apply these methods to add power and boost its strength. You may be surprised at just how much your accomplishments can be enhanced with such techniques. Then the figure you’ll be pondering most is your resume’s enhanced success rate.
No matter how good your job search strategy, there’s always going to be failure and rejection. It’s inevitable. In any job search, you just can’t get to that glorious “Yes, you’re hired” without lots of “No, we’re not interested” responses.
For that reason it’s crucial that you get realistic about the process of getting a job and set the right mindset to handle setbacks. Without the ability to persevere, you won’t be able to power through the challenge inherent in the process of landing your dream job. Don’t fret though, we have some practical thoughts on how to develop the growth mindset for not only your job search but also for your career and personal life:
#1: Embrace the Challenge of a Job Search
The average time it takes to land a new job is 6-weeks; add several weeks to that figure for more specialized work or more senior positions like Director or VP. There’s a lot to do when trying to land your next job, from research, networking, interviews, and a lot of soul-searching. Don’t shortcut any of these items in the hopes that the pain and frustration of looking for a job will go away. Have some faith that if you can commit to approaching this journey with an inspired mindset, hard work, and commitment, it’s impossible not to be successful.
#2: Remember That Finding a Job is a Numbers Game
It’s easy to romanticize one particular job opportunity as “the one”. This happens often when you have one process going and all your eggs are in one basket. Nothing feels worse than engaging in one process, and then finding out that company isn’t interested in you. You will constantly feel like you are starting from scratch. You should definitely be excited to apply to your dream company – particularly if you have some connections there, but realize that your burning desires and the company’s pressing needs don’t always align. Don’t take it personally but it’s a good reminder to have a few processes going at once. Odds are they all move at different paces so you won’t have to start from scratch if one particular door closes.
#3 Persist in the Face of Setbacks and Learn from Them
Bottom-line, it’s easy to get caught up when you get rejected especially when you are deep into an interview process. It’s ok to feel bad about these scenarios (we’re all human after all) but only to a point because then it becomes self-defeating. Make sure that you are able to pull the plane that’s your emotional well-being up and course correct as needed.
Just accept that things won’t always go your way and that this has no reflection on you as a person. Sometimes companies are looking for a specialized skill-set or the job opening gets postponed. Don’t shy away from asking difficult questions to the company as well.
Try and get candid feedback as to why they passed on your candidacy. While rare, there might be some valuable feedback that you can use for your next interview.
Remind yourself that you’ll always have to get through a certain number of failures before getting to success in your job search. Think of the classic Winston Churchill saying: “When going through hell, keep going!”
#4: Stay Positive!
While this is often easier said than done; we have some practical thoughts on how to accomplish this. It’s easy to forget about all the good things that have happened in a job search such as you making it to the case round of interviews or the meeting with the company founder.
Make sure that you write these wins down in a journal that documents your successes and lessons learned as you go through this journey. It will come in very handy when you feel stagnant or when you go through the job search process again.
Try to remember that big successes are nothing more than the product of many smaller successes added together!
#5: Find Lessons and Inspiration in the Success of Others
This might be the most difficult for you as most people are not taught to think/feel this way. However, here’s a quote that really embodies the mindset: “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”
Remember, you are just starting your journey and there’s no need to envy your peers that are in positions that you are seeking.
What if you stopped the comparison game altogether? What if the success of others had nothing to do with us, and our own success had nothing to do with anyone else? Why do we need to waste so much of our precious time competing with the people around us and focusing on how we “measure up” to them?
Remember, there are lessons to be learned but to get them takes some humility to ask.
Use these strategies to create the mindset that you need to persevere during your job search for the best outcome. Let us know if you have any questions.
For many of us, the day has come where we’ve walked in to see the boss, only to find out that your position has been terminated. No matter how long you’ve been at the company, it’s going to be a bit of a shock to your system. While you are looking to move your career forward with a new company, it won’t take much to get you into a depressive slump as you spend hours on the computer, looking for another job. It’s hard work, without a doubt.
Here is some advice on what to do when our company leaves you in the cold:
Give yourself space and time to calm down
After you’ve lost a position, you need to take time to calm down from your anger and frustration and figure out what you want to do with your life. For most of us, we are angry and bitter about being let go, so give yourself space and time to get over that. Make sure you keep your current job status to yourself and a few trusted people so that you have someone to rant to.
Put together a good “exit story”
When you’ve taken that important time to calm down, you can start putting yourself together and move towards your next career. The first step: create an exit story. This is something that you would work out with your previous employer in terms of the reason that you left the company, but also with yourself. Develop an honest but positive response to the following question:
“Why ’did you leave your job?”
Take the time to make the right exit story that works for you, and focus on what you’re going to do next.
Prioritize your goals
You can’t move forward until you’ve identified your goals. Is it to be your own boss? Is it to have a certain job title? Is it to work for a certain company?
Take this time and figure out what those goals are. Once you’ve narrowed down your career goals, it’s time for action. You’ll also find that you will be more energized about the job hunt, too, because it will get you excited about what it is you are working towards.
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” — Yogi Berra
Have a “to do” list and stick to it
You need to make sure that you put together an itemized list of the things that you need to focus on. This needs to be a detailed list with deadlines for each one (apply for 2 jobs a week, for example). And stick to it!
Crossing things off your list keeps you on the right path (getting a new job), and it’s very satisfying feeling, knowing you’re on a steady course to a better career.
Additionally, make sure you take a few days off here and there from job hunting. There is such a thing as burning yourself out, and you need to take time to step back, admire your progress, and re-energize yourself. Time in between jobs is all about self-reflection: who you are, who you want to be. and how can I get what I want.
Go to LinkedIn, and find professionals, working in an area that you’re interested in. Contact them and set-up “informational interviews.” You shouldn’t ask for a job in these meetings, but it’s a chance to connect with an “influencer” who can introduce you to other influencers. These other influencers could be people who are hiring or simply an HR contact at his or her current firm.
Set-up an account with Quora. Answer questions on Quora, and show your expertise. Dozens of people ask questions everyday. Prove that you’re good at what they do, and connect with Quora users.
Write on Medium. Make videos on Youtube. If you have time, create an on-line course and start selling it on Coursehorse.com. As you become more active online, people will start coming to you.
Bottom-Line: Get active in your search
Use technology to help you search
The world is changing now, so make sure that you change with it. Make sure that you hunt for your future career using social media, especially LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not only great for social networking, but it’s a great job board.
You can also search through jobs using online websites such as Kijiji, Indeed, Monster, etc. When you use these search engines, you’ll find that you are going to see more than you would have by doing it the old fashioned way.
Finally, if you’re looking into joining the startup industry, you should look into Hired.com or Vested. Hired.com does an excellent job in placing engineering candidates to technology firms, and here at Vested we focuse on connecting accounting/finance professionals to technology startups.
“Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” — Steve Jobs (2005)
We won’t be like Steve Jobs. However, we can all learn from Jobs’ experience. Losing one’s job is a low point in one’s career. Rather than wallowing in the pits of despair, Jobs became more active. He used the time in between jobs, as a time for self-reflection and introspection. Then he put a plan in place, and started Pixar (creator of Toy Story movies) and NeXT (bought by Apple).
If you recently lost your job, take the time to reflect on your career. Assess your goals and take action.