20 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Applying For An Accounting Job

As a qualified accountant or someone working towards an accounting qualification, your career is important to you.

It’s never been easier to find roles.  It’s never been easier to apply for roles.

Of course ease of finding roles and applying doesn’t necessarily increase your chances of getting the job.

Given this reality, it’s vital that you ask yourself questions before applying for an accounting job.

What 20 questions should you ask before you apply for an accounting (or indeed any professional) role?

Question 1: Why are you looking to move jobs?

Getting clear as to why you are looking to move jobs is vital.  Doing this avoids what I call the moving for the sake of it.

Question 2: What are you looking for from your next role?

The easy answer is money.  Of course few take a job just for the money.  Yes more money is nice.  On the other hand what specifically are you looking for from your next role?

Question 3: What’s your longer term career goals?

If you are clear about this, you are more likely to focus on jobs that move you closer to your longer term career goals.

Question 4: How does this job contribute to your longer term career goals?

If it doesn’t it’s not worth considering the job.

Question 5: What’s the attraction of this specific role?

There may be hundreds of roles out there.  So what is the attraction of this specific role?

Question 6: Is this the type of organisation you want to work in?

Some love big organisations.  Some love smaller organisations.  Some love up and coming organisations.  Some love long established organisations.

Question 7: What do you know about the organisation?

If the answer is little or nothing, it’s time to do some investigative work.

Question 8: What do you know about the sector the organisation operates in?

A little.  A lot.  Somewhere in the middle?  Remember that as you become more senior, sector knowledge becomes more critical.

Question 9: What experience do you have in the sector the organisation operates?

If you have a lot you are likely to be a better fit.  If you have none, it’s going to be a lot tougher to get through the vetting process.

Question 10: How closely does your experience fit the key responsibilities?

If you say 30-40% you may have to pass on applying.  On the other hand if it’s 70-80% you are much better placed.

Question 11:How closely do your technical skills match the role?

Again the closer the match, the greater chances of not falling at the first fence in the recruitment process.

Question 12:How closely do your non technical skills match the role?

This is vital to know at more senior levels where technical abilities are almost taken for granted.

Question 13: How closely do your personal qualities or traits fit what is required?

There is little point in chasing roles where there is a real focus on building relationships and working across the business if you prefer to be in the back room support team.

Question 14: What’s critical to success in the role?

If you struggle to identify this, chances are it’s not a great opportunity for you.

Question 15: What have you done that shows the value you could bring?

By this I mean what’s your track record and achievements that would be of benefit in the role?

Question 16: Who do you know in the organisation?

Your initial thought might be no one.  At the same time there might be someone in your network offline or online who could introduce you.

Question 17: What needs to be on your covering letter or email?

Assuming you have determined the role is a good fit, you need to consider how to grab the attention of the person taking the lead on shortlisting.

Question 18: What do you need to focus on in the professional profile or personal statement section of your CV?

See this as your Executive Summary.  It might be the only section that is read.

What will you include to make an impact and get the all important interview invitation.

Question 19: Why might you get rejected at the shortlisting phase?

Few will even consider this.  

If you do this you can make sure that your application whether a CV or application form directly answers those reasons for rejecting you.

Question 20:Will you apply?

If you have gone through this process and questions, you will have clarity about whether to apply or say no to a specific role.  It will help you make an informed decision.

Bottom Line:  Moving jobs is a big decision.   In reality you can only handle a small number of opportunities at any one point.  So remember it’s not about the volume of applications but the relevance of your applications.