Searching for a new job in the age of social distancing and working from home can feel like a daunting endeavor. Just 12 months ago, accounting and finance professionals enjoyed a very different job market, one with high demand for their skills and more open positions than companies could fill. Today, the opposite is true: there are fewer job openings and far more talented professionals on the market.
Yes, companies are continuing to hire, albeit cautiously, for both mission-critical roles and for new positions.Companies within certain industries have been thriving throughout the COVID-19 crisis. For example, companies with ties to healthcare, healthcare technology, and the manufacturing/distribution of essential items have seen significant increases in the demand for their products and services during this time and have been actively hiring and increasing headcount. We are also seeing companies that had implemented a hiring freeze back in March begin hiring again, although less aggressively than they had been prior to March. Across the board, companies are being highly selective,and with the currenttalent surplus, differentiation is vital to catching their attention. Your success hinges on your ability to stand out from the crowd.
Maximize your resume impact: What are your most notable accomplishments?
You may have heard the advice to “quantify and contextualize” information on your resume. This approach ensures that anyone who scans your resume can immediately identify your impact on an organization. Rather thansimply describing an accomplishment, you should provide specific detail that conveys its true impact. For example, if you saved your company money, you should be specific by providing the amount and benchmarking it against historical performance at your organization and/or within your industry. Following this approach, you’d turn a statement like “developed and implementeda new RFP process that lowered costs” into “developed and implemented a new procurement process that cut annual vendor costs by 34%, which had previously been increasing at a rate of 12% annually.”
A “made, saved, or achieved” approach complements the “quantify and contextualize” advice. Before including information on your resume, ask yourself, “Is this an example of how I made the company money, saved the company money, or drove process improvement resulting in measurably improved efficiencies?” Hiring managers are looking for candidates with a demonstrated track record of positively impacting the companies they have worked for – make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.
Nail the virtual interview:Practice your story using the STAR method.
It’s likely that some, or all, of your interviews will be conducted virtually. But whether you’re smiling at a computer camera or sitting 6 feet apart in a conference room, how you tell your story will be critical to delivering a compelling case for your candidacy. The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) is a structured approach that organizes your answers to common interview questions. Using STAR, you will describe the challenge, describe your responsibility, describe what you did, and quantify the outcome. The entire answer should be no more than 2-3 minutes. This approach keeps your responses focused and ensures that you communicate the most important details without getting sidetracked in a lengthy anecdote. And, like the “made, saved, achieved” approach to your resume, it keeps the focus on your demonstrated record of success– and the value you’ll bring as a new hire.
Making the Connection: How Recruiter Partnerships Can Help
With most industry conferences and in-person events on hiatus, networking is tricky right now. Virtual events are still happening, but it’s difficult to make the serendipitous connections that lead to new professional opportunities. Partnering with the right recruiter can make all the difference. In the absence of traditional networking opportunities, developing a partnership with the right recruiter is a great way to tap into opportunities in the market that are not posted online. A true consultative recruiting partner can market you directly to your target companies and open doors to which you may not otherwise have access.
I get to know you, your professional journey, and your goals. When I speak with a hiring manager, I can highlight those details that don’t make the resume, telling a complete story that conveys why you’re an exceptional fit for the company. Of course, I can only do this if you are an exceptional fit. Not everyone will be right for every role, and that’s to be expected. Part of my job is to help connect you with the right opportunities and ensure that when those come along, you truly stand out.