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Tips for Accountancy students searching for a role in a post-pandemic era

Posted in Candidates

Posted by Jo Howell
Published on 24 May, 2021

Thankfully, job vacancies are finally back up to their highest level since the pandemic began last March. As the country begins on its road to recovery, business confidence is on the rise and the need to begin plugging skills gaps in order to fully regain losses created by the crisis is, once again, at the forefront of leaders’ minds.

However, getting back into the workplace won’t be easy and for some, it may feel almost impossible. Due to the pandemic, students have had their learning and opportunities placed on hold and getting back on track will be no easy feat because of how competitive the market is going to become.

So, how can Accountancy students get their foot in the door after such a turbulent year?

Look to secure work experience

Regardless of your chosen route into accountancy, you’ll need to acquire both recognised qualifications and relevant work experience within the first few years of your career. During the pandemic, obtaining the latter has been particularly challenging, with those lucky enough to have secured remote placements learning to adapt to a new, virtual world alongside even the most experienced accountants. 

Accountancy students should embrace every opportunity for hands-on learning in the workplace, whether that’s an internship, work experience or a long-term placement. When you feel it is safe to do so, take advantage of the chance to work in an office environment. Not only does this help you to visualise your future career path and build rapport with your socially distanced colleagues, but it also gives them chance to witness your enthusiasm and proactive attitude too.  

If you leave a lasting first impression, you’ll finish the placement with a growing professional network and – if you’ve played your cards right – a potential job opportunity. Stay in touch with your supervisor, engage with your colleagues on LinkedIn and remember to ask for feedback at the end of your placement. 

Be open-minded to temp work

While most businesses are looking to rebuild their teams in order to meet increased demands or workloads, a lot of them will still be struggling with the funds in order to pay full-time, permanent members of staff.

From November 2020 to January 2021, the number of people in temporary employment rose by 7.3 per cent compared to the year before. This spike can be explained by businesses needing to find a more cost-effective way to take on team members while they begin on the road to recovery. This way of working is expected to continue for quite a while until both business and consumer confidence stabilises.

So, as a newly graduated Accountant or as a student coming to the end of their education, if it is viable for you, be open-minded to temporary positions to help you gain experience and build up your CV.

Keep upskilling

COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the areas of accountancy which are the most agile and resilient. As a student, it’s wise to consider entering a more stable market, such as a business which primarily operates online or has a growing interest in e-commerce. In this new, virtual world, firms like this are the most likely to thrive. 

Browse some of the vacancies that accountancy practices are currently advertising. What specific skills are they asking for? By nature, accountancy is a profession that requires impeccable numeracy and analytical skills, but you’ll also need to showcase soft skills – such empathy, communication and customer service – if you are to successfully secure a role.  

Keep an eye out for new, technology-based skills too, as Cloud-based systems, data security tools, artificial intelligence and machine learning are all making their way into the world of accountancy. A solid grasp on the benefits, potential shortfalls and workings of these advanced systems will be crucial, setting you miles apart from the competition. 

If you’d like to see what Accountancy roles we have available or talk to one of recruitment experts about taking your next step, contact us here.

Recruitment Manager - Accountancy and Financial Services

Jo joined Cathedral Appointments in 2012 after over 20 years in recruitment spanning the whole of the UK - Aberdeen, Home Counties, Greater Manchester and the South West! She recruits for both Financial Services and Accountancy professionals and is known in the office for finding the needle in the haystack candidate where no one else can!

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Tips for Accountancy students searching for a role in a post-pandemic era

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