An employee in an entry-level accounting job earns $46,000 per year on average, with a four-year degree and one year of experience. This higher-than-average starting salary makes accounting an attractive employment prospect, especially for those just beginning their careers.
Because accounting jobs are attractive to candidates, finding an entry-level accounting job can be a challenge, even in today’s labor-driven job market. However, even with the competition, job prospects for accountants remain strong: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in business and finance is expected to grow 7% through 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.
Tips To Finding An Entry-Level Accounting Job
1. Perfect Your Resume
Even with limited experience, your resume is still your calling card for every job you apply for. To build an effective resume for an entry-level accounting job, you should:
- Write a strong summary to showcase you have the required accounting skills.
- Highlight your education and any courses you took that relate to the position.
- Use field-related, relevant verbs: pull directly from the job description if it’s available. Think: budgeted, clarified, accelerated, or developed, for example.
- Incorporate an additional skills section to include hard and soft skills as well as traits that may not be on your resume.
- Showcase any related certifications or licenses.
2. Consider An Internship
Many employment professionals consider an internship to be the new stand-in for an entry-level job, as many jobs that are labeled ‘entry-level’ actually require some level of accounting experience.
Accounting internships are available in all manner of firms, from Fortune 100 corporations to small, family-owned firms, in all sectors and industries. Accounting internships can often be found on job sites, or through your college career placement office. Many companies also use internships as a way to evaluate potential future employees, so an internship today may become a position in the future.
Related Reading: 4 Top Tips to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship
Networking is often overlooked by people searching for an entry-level position, as it can be difficult to understand the value of a professional network when you’re just starting out. However, networking events can be invaluable to candidates at all stages of their career. According to one study, 85% of jobs are filled by networking - online and in-person, through formal and informal contacts.
There are several professional accounting organizations that can help you expand your network and meet the people that can connect you to open jobs. These include:
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
- Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA)
- National Society of Accountants
- Financial Executives International (FEI)
Depending on your specific interests and your career goals, finding a good fit in a professional association should be easy, and lead you to online and in-person events that can expand your network.
Related Reading: 5 Networking Event Tips to Make it a Success
4. Prepare For Interviews
While your resume can help you get a meeting with company representatives, the interview is your chance to expand on your skills, knowledge, and express your enthusiasm in a meaningful way.
For an entry-level position, an interviewer may test basic accounting knowledge and processes with questions such as:
- What accounting software package(s) are you familiar with?
- How can you estimate bad debt?
- What process do you use to check for errors in your work?
- How would you rate your attention to detail?
Think about how you would answer these questions ahead of time. Practice with a friend, or on your own, so that the answers come smoothly, reducing the need to create an answer on the spot.
In order to ace the interview, you should do some research: learn as much as you can about the company and the job; familiarize yourself with common interview questions and be prepared for a traditional interview style as well as a behavioral interview.
5. Partner With A Staffing Agency
Partnering with a staffing agency with expertise and experience in the accounting field can be one of the most valuable tactics to help you land an entry-level accounting position.
Staffing agencies often have information about the hidden job market – jobs that are not advertised to the public, which include entry-level accounting and finance jobs. With their personal connections, an agency can help to get your resume noticed by hiring managers, making yours stand out from a pool of similar candidates.
Moreover, an agency uses their expertise to understand candidate needs as well as corporate culture, to make a match that is beneficial to all parties. An agency can provide a candidate with feedback on their resume, application, and interviewing skills, to ensure that when the ideal job becomes available you will be ready for success.
The support that a recruitment agency can provide is particularly useful for an entry-level candidate – using their expertise to fill in knowledge gaps, and helping the candidate to present limited experience in the most positive manner.
Partnering with an accounting and finance recruiter from a firm with deep experience in the industry, like Sparks Group, can help streamline your job search by matching you with an employer that fits your interests and needs. With years of successful placement experience to draw from, Sparks Group is proficient at helping you make the best choices to meet short- and long-term career objectives. At Sparks Group, we take the time to understand your skills and needs to place you in an accounting position that will take your career to the next level.
Sparks Group is a staffing agency that works with candidates to understand their career goals and introduce them to companies aligned with their values and skill set. Our staffing services include full-time, part-time, temporary, and contract to hire opportunities for active and passive job seekers to leverage.
To begin the search for your entry-level accounting position, contact our recruiting experts or visit our job board to get started.