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How to get your next career move right in 2020

With a resilient jobs market for newly qualified accountants making 2020 a good time to progress, Morgan McKinley senior consultant Sebastian Thomson sets out his top five career tips for accountants looking for a new finance position.

Sebastian Thomson

January 2020

Newly qualified auditors and accountants have endless options open to them, and the decisions made now can have a big impact on their future career paths.

The job market remained busy across all sectors for the duration of 2019, particularly at newly qualified level. Organisations have largely shown resilience against external political and economic influences, hiring at this critical level.

Often for accountants, thoughts around long-term career aspirations can take a backseat, so it is important to carefully think about your own personal career ambitions and what motivates you.

But it is a good time to be looking for a new job: here are some tips on how to ensure your search is as successful as possible.

Don’t get greedy, consider the long term

One of the biggest mistakes people make is taking the highest paying role they can find and not thinking of their long-term career prospects. Always have an idea where you would like to be in three, five and 10 years’ time and then list down what you would like to get out of your next job.

Quite often there is a reason why a role is particularly high paying compared to the market, so I would urge anyone to consider how the role will help you achieve your goals rather than just being drawn in by the high salary.

Expand your network 

Making connections within the profession and expanding your network is essential when you are looking for a new role. Not only could this open up opportunities that otherwise you may be unaware of, but it is also a great opportunity to develop some of your softer, more interpersonal skills.

Get help from a recruitment agency

Recruitment consultants will listen to your aspirations and suggest suitable roles for your specific situation, as well as offering advice whether you are immediately looking for a job or not. An experienced recruiter will have a wealth of market knowledge and can advise you on areas ranging from salaries to the best way to reach your long term goals.

Further to this, it’s important to maintain close relationships with your recruiters and make sure your professional social media presence, especially on LinkedIn, is as current and relevant as it can be.

Move outside your comfort zone

Having knowledge of different accountancy issues can greatly enhance your CV and it is important that you highlight these on your CV. Volunteering for projects or even taking a secondment could give you some hugely beneficial experience, although this will likely take you out of your comfort zone.

Becoming comfortable with stepping outside of your comfort zone will prepare you for future challenges and will make you prominent in the minds of management.

Don’t jump ship too often

It doesn’t produce the most attractive CV if you are continually jumping between roles with no clear progression every 12 to 18 months. This is particularly true if you are seeking to climb the career ladder and aspire to become a partner, CFO or financial director one day, so make sure you show you can be invested in and provide real value to a company.

Move job only if you are certain that it is a positive progression for your career.

Sebastian Thomson is a senior consultant for audit recruitment at Morgan McKinley

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