7 job hunting tips you didn’t learn at uni

7 job hunting tips you didn’t learn at uni

Nearing the end of your studies? That means it’s time to put down your accounting textbooks and start hunting for your first job. But not just any job.

You want a role that will nurture your growth – in all aspects of your life. But how do you find it? 

By thinking a little differently. And going beyond the standard advice you receive from your university lecturers.

With these tips, you’ll give yourself the best chance of securing your dream graduate role.

1. Cast your job hunt net beyond the Big 4

You’ve likely heard extensively about the Big Four accounting firms. They’re often put on a pedestal and every budding accountant yearns to work with them.

And we’re not surprised. They’re highly impressive workplaces.

But working in a big firm isn’t for everyone. In fact, mid-tier and small accounting firms can be a lot more satisfying. With greater client diversity and hands-on learning opportunities, smaller firms can offer graduates a career starting block that’s hard to beat.

So be sure keep an open mind when applying for positions.

2. Value life outside the office walls

When looking for a job, our professional values tend to be at the forefront of our minds.

But what about our personal values? These are just as important – if not more.

Perhaps you value an active life. Or perhaps you need extra time for your family and relationships.

Whatever it is, you should assess job opportunities with this in mind. Because when your personal life suffers, it will affect your professional life too.

Some questions to consider when looking at prospective employers:

  • Do they offer flexible work hours?
  • Would I be expected to work overtime regularly?
  • Do I like their team culture and what they stand for?

3. Visualise your career with a LinkedIn snoop

Not sure where you see yourself in 10 years? Or perhaps you do know – but have no idea how you’re going to get there?

Why not have a poke around LinkedIn? Find someone with a job you could see yourself in, and trace back through their professional history.

Their journey might surprise and inspire you. After all, career paths are rarely linear.

4. While you’re at it, give yourself a digital stalk

You’ve got your detective hat on, so why not give yourself a digital stalk while you’re at it?

Google yourself and check all your social media pages. And think, if my prospective employer searched me online, how will I present?

It’s always a smart idea to turn up the dial on your privacy settings. But it’s also wise to simply avoid posting about your boozy nights out and using inappropriate language.

Remember: you never know whose screen you’ll appear on.

5. Show a little personality in your cover letter

Yes, cover letters need to be professional. You need to ensure your grammar and punctuation and spelling are impeccable.

But that doesn’t mean they need to be boring. Or that they need to hide who you are. Consider adding an opening anecdote to set the scene or a short story to showcase your strengths and experience.

The hiring manager trolling through cover letter after cover letter is sure to perk up with an attention-grabbing (but professional) quip.  

6. Send an enthusiastic post-interview thank-you email

Small effort. Big impact. 

Don’t underestimate the power of a post-interview thank-you email.

Besides showing that you’ve got good manners (thank you, mum), it also shows prospective employers you are excited about the role. And it demonstrates your attention to detail.

It all adds up. And it could make all the difference between you and the next top candidate.

7. And whatever you do, don’t burn bridges

If you don’t get the job, give yourself a pat on the back, breathe and move on.

Most importantly, do not lash out at the firm or badmouth them on social media or cut all ties with them. Rather, send an email thanking them for the opportunity – and your willingness to reopen the conversation down the track.

Be gracious. Be resilient. And continue to be courteous and respectful.

Because the industry is smaller than you think. And you never know when you’ll cross paths again.

After more job-hunting guidance? Then check out our eGuide: How to Land Your Ideal Graduate Role. Download eGuide now.