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An Accountant’s Guide to the Recruiting Galaxy

Until 2013, I was an accountant. The titles on my resume contain the words “Controller”, “Assistant Controller”, “Senior Finance Manager” and “Accounting Manager”. My career ebbed and flowed in the Houston market.  Jobs that ran out of steam or layoffs due to the economy found me looking for a job more frequently than I wanted, and with each search came frequent interaction with executive recruiters.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some great recruiters in this city.  There are the Houston stalwarts of the recruiting industry who can find you a job with one phone call. There are also some recruiters that are mediocre.  Some recruiters move agencies frequently due to demanding performance metrics that must be met.  Working with a recruiter should not make an already emotionally burdensome task almost overwhelming.

So, in 2013, after an arduous role as a Controller and Assistant Controller, I made the decision to do something different that mattered to me.  I wanted to help people. I decided to become a recruiter and help my candidates and clients by believing in them and hopefully guiding them into new opportunities. I am in the third year of a job that I love, and all those things still matter to me. I meet new people every day.  I enjoy my clients, my candidates and my associates. I still believe what my Nana told me about there being a lid for every kettle-in the job market, too.  The best part of my job is calling someone to tell them I have that long awaited job offer.

But I have learned a thing or two being on the recruiter side, and have come up with a set of rules.  Ok, not rules, let’s just say “general guidelines” or even “friendly advice”.

  1. Resumes.  There are 1000’s of styles and formats. Pick one, just ONE, and be consistent all the way through. Check spelling and grammar early and often.

  2. BE SUCCINCT!! Bullet points rule. Make every word count.

  3. List your accomplishments as well as your job duties, especially if you have improved a process to save yourself or your employer time or money. Be proud!

  4. Don’t fake it. We will know.

  5. Apply for jobs that you are qualified for.  If you have a BS in Chemistry and the job description calls for a BS in Business, Accounting or Finance, you probably won’t get called. If our client wants someone with no more than 5 years’ experience and you have 20, you probably won’t get called.

  6. Tenure.  Think of it as your “Employment Credit Score”. Guard it accordingly. Spend wisely.

  7. Technology matters. List your experience with various software packages and modules, Excel skills, programming and database skills.

  8. Keep a list of the companies you have directly applied to for a job, the recruiting firms you have worked with and the companies those firms have submitted your resume to. Don’t let anyone send your resume without your permission. Period.

  9. Return your recruiter’s phone call, email or text as promptly as possible. Time is of the essence.  We are competing on your behalf and want you there first. Be patient.  If a recruiter has positive news for you, you will get a call, text, email, smoke signal or even physically hunted down, if necessary.  Sometimes our clients delay communication with recruiters for a variety of reasons.

  10. Find a great recruiter that will be your job hunting partner. It will take both of you, especially in this economy.

My own personal experience in the job market has had its ups and downs.  I have used recruiters at least 80% of the time in both the role as the employer and the job seeker.   As an employer, recruiters helped streamline the process of looking at hundreds of resumes to fill a role I needed to fill yesterday. As a job seeker, recruiters helped pave the way to interviews by providing guidance and advice that helped me conquer an intimidating process.

Looking for a job? –  Call a recruiter.  Looking for an employee?  – Call a recruiter.

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