The first rule of finding a job is do your due diligence – read up on the company or accounting firm to which you are sending a resume. Next, customize your resume to reflect the position, and then make sure your grammar and spelling are top-notch.
According to a recent Accountemps survey, one-third of finance executives said the biggest mistake people make is having generic application materials. Twenty-four percent said typos or poor grammar is the most frequent blunder, while 21 percent frown upon job candidates who focus on job duties and not accomplishments.
The worst faux pas during an interview, according to 27 percent of respondents, is having little or no knowledge about the firm, followed by applicants being unprepared to discuss their skills and experience (22 percent).
“Employers are looking for job candidates who provide the ‘wow factor’ and can immediately demonstrate the value they bring,” Bill Driscoll, district president for Accountemps, said in a written statement. “Sending a generic resume or showing up for the interview unprepared tells the hiring manager that the applicant has little interest in being hired.”
Typos and grammatical errors can also send employers a message that a job seeker lacks follow-through and attention to detail, according to Driscoll.
The following are eight of the biggest job search mistakes and how to avoid them:
1. Adding irrelevant information to a resume or application. Stick to only the facts employers are interested in: your credentials, experience, and accomplishments. Keep your resume and cover letter concise.
2. Skipping proofreading. Even one or two resume typos can eliminate a candidate from consideration. Don’t rely on spell-check. Review your materials thoroughly, and ask a confidant to read them, too.
3. Failing to prepare. Research the firm by exploring its website and searching for recent news articles. Incorporate what you learn into your cover letter and interview responses by making the connection between what the organization needs and what you offer.
4. Lying. Be honest. Fabricating or overstating your experience is never acceptable.
5. Having an unflattering online presence. Conduct an online audit of your social media pages and remove any posts that can be perceived as unprofessional or inappropriate.
6. Being caught off-guard during salary discussions. Learn about compensation ranges for jobs in accounting and finance. Understanding market trends will help you know what your skills and experience are worth.
7. Relying solely on technology. Look for other ways to find job openings. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and ask your contacts for introductions to new ones.
8. Going about your job search alone. Partner with a staffing firm and let it open doors for you. Be open to different types of positions, including temporary work.