hit the ground running.

  • finding jobs
  • May 03, 2017

Here's another reason to throw your college mortar board in the air: 2017 is the best job market in years for the anticipated 1.9 million graduating students, and this is especially true for college graduates in finance and accounting.

Employers anticipate hiring 5 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2017 than they hired from the Class of 2016. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Graduates 2017 Job Outlook finds that just over 98 percent of employers plan to hire candidates with bachelor’s degrees this year. NACE data also shows that finance and accounting majors are expected to be among the top-paid Class of 2017 graduates – finance ($55,609 a year) and accounting ($54,838 a year). More good news for new accounting grads is that baby boomers are retiring in larger numbers. As baby boomers decide to exit the workforce, jobs are opening up in financial services, according to Monster's Financial Services Market Watch. Some businesses will also promote within, creating a vacuum of entry-level positions. As retirements increase, there’s more need for people with degrees to join the company.

what employers want

So, what are employers looking for in new finance and accounting professionals? The most successful candidates are those who have the basics of accounting down. Experience with general accounting principles and processes provides a solid career foundation for new accountants, including those who decide to pursue a specialty in the future. Employers also want entry-level candidates who have a savvier business perspective. You can get this through summer internships, as well as other work experience that requires awareness of office culture and business standard norms. What should finance and accounting graduates do if they don’t have a job already lined up? Randstad employment experts agree that getting any type of work experience – paid or unpaid – is wise. Try to make face-to-face interactions as much as possible to forge personal connections.

job search tips for new grads

New grads should consider the following tips for landing their first finance and accounting job:

  • Focus on networking. Tell everyone you know that you're looking for a job. Meet new contacts by participating in industry associations, volunteer groups and alumni activities. Work with a specialized staffing firm to get your foot in the door and an opportunity to show your worth.
  • Audit your digital footprint. Review and enhance your social media presence to ensure you are more professional. Bolster your online presence by commenting on industry blogs and, if you don't already have one, create a LinkedIn profile.
  • Do your homework. Before applying for a job, research the business and its industry. Annual reports, press releases, and local business or financial publications are excellent sources of information.  
  • Customize your application materials. Tailor your resume and cover letter to each position for which you apply and address the hiring manager by name, if possible.
  • Remember to say thanks. Show your appreciation to people who help you in your job search. Promptly send thank you emails or notes to each person with whom you interview.

Congratulations on getting your degree in finance and accounting. Now show your perseverance and let hiring managers know what sets you apart from the competition.

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