How to get the finance and accounting job you want, and navigate a tough market

If your finance and accounting job search is going slower than you’d like, follow Jim Smith’s top career advice tips to get the job you want.

Don’t get frustrated

Hiring managers and recruiters are receiving unprecedented levels of applications. Inevitably, many finance professionals and accountants are getting frustrated at the lack of contact through the job hunting process. Be prepared for bumps in the road – the process may suddenly go quiet, hiring managers can do u-turns. That’s not your fault.

Firstly, let go of the frustration and focus on your unique strengths. Take the positives out of any process that has not quite happened. If you were shortlisted for this interview, it means you have skills that are wanted by hiring managers. You’ll get the next one!

Don’t apply for everything

More than ever, hiring managers are looking for candidates with industry-specific skill sets. For example, if the role is in retail and you don’t have outstanding Hyperion skills, you’re probably wasting your time applying for that role. It may sound counterintuitive but narrowing your focus will help you land the job you want.

Also, don’t feel the need to apply for ‘junior’ roles beneath your experience level. Even though you have all the skills needed, think of the hiring manager and their level. They’re probably more junior than you and may therefore potentially feel threatened by your senior experience – so the role won’t be the right match for either of you.

Don’t be afraid to network to get the finance and accounting job you want

If you’ve been made redundant or are simply burnt out, don’t let misplaced embarrassment hold you back. Reach out to people you’ve worked with in the past, your friends/family network, as well as good recruiters. Tell them briefly what you’re looking for and clearly ask for introductions/recommendations and most importantly – follow up.

Qualify the recruiters you decide to work with

Ask questions to ascertain if the recruiter understands what you do and how well they know the finance and accounting job market. Then engage with recruiters who will give you the most credibility with hiring managers – go with your gut. A good recruiter should take the time to listen to what you want and give you honest advice on the market and what they’re seeing.

I’d also recommend asking how many other recruitment consultancies are working on roles you’re interested in and find out how many other people are going for an interview. If the recruiter is the ‘sole agent’ you’ll stand a much better chance. Ask what the likely turnaround time is too so you can better manage your expectations. In essence, I would recommend qualifying your recruiter, you’ll soon know who has your best interests at heart. Keep in touch with these recruiters.

Beware of unscrupulous agents

Recruitment agents will often pick up leads from talking to candidates. If it’s not someone you speak to regularly, be careful about sharing who you are interviewing with. There are some recruiters who will simply send their current candidates for the role you’re interviewing for, lessening your chance of success.

Ask a good recruiter to proactively market you to their client base

It’s still the case that many jobs are not advertised. A lot of opportunities arise from putting the right CV in front of a hiring manager based on personal knowledge of the client and job seeker.

This bespoke approach is something SRM specialises in and I’ve recently been proactively partnering with strong candidates from across industries, targeting specific organisations. This is very well received and my aim is to create opportunities and build long term relationships.

Seek advice from a recruiter who cares about people

We can’t place everyone we speak to but we can give you real advice on how to enhance your Linkedin profile, how to set up job searches on or improve your CV. If we can’t help you, we’ll most likely be able to put you in touch with someone who can. Importantly, if we say we’ll call you back we will.

If you need help to get the finance and accounting job you want in the northern home counties or career planning and advice, do give me a call on + 44 (0) 7375 409 089, connect with me on Linkedin or email me at

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