A ‘Catch 22’ situation exists for many younger graduates – employers often require that you already have relevant work experience before they’ll consider hiring you, but you need to secure that first job to gain experience.
Achieving a high-distinction average in your undergraduate studies or mastering your taxation law units is likely not enough to help you land the job of your dreams. While recruiters and hiring managers seek candidates who show academic rigour, many also require that you demonstrate passion, focus, drive and initiative in a practical environment.
There’s no reason to despair, however, if you’re still studying for your degree. There are countless ways to begin proving to your potential employer that your contribution to their business will go well beyond balancing the books.
Here are four strategies for building your résumé while you study – because it's never too early to begin your career in a ‘real world’ sense.
If, for example, you’re a third-year accounting student, you could be a valuable asset to an organisation that may not otherwise be able to pay for your skills.
From under-resourced charities that grapple with financial administration to not-for-profits that could benefit from simple bookkeeping services, there are many opportunities for you to offer pro-bono services that would seriously bolster your résumé.
Volunteering in this way also shows employers that you have a social conscience to match your commercial instincts.
Start a side project
Extracurricular passions aren’t necessarily a distraction from your career. They can actually make you more attractive in an employer’s eyes.
Most companies seek well-rounded individuals who have a range of interests and passions, rather than workers who live only for the daily grind. Whether you’ve always dreamt of designing a mobile app, starting a fundraising initiative to help disadvantaged students or planting a community garden, a side project can show your future boss that you have the talent and commitment to devise interesting plans and follow through in terms of practical execution.
Land an internship
An internship may be the obvious, well-trodden avenue, but this is for good reason.
Finding an internship with a company in your profession or industry can accelerate your path to employment and help your résumé reach the top of the pile. By working with professionals in your sector, you don’t just gain valuable industry experience and a network of contacts – you’re also better placed to pursue a path that interests you once it’s time to start applying for jobs.
Learn something new
Although future tax professionals are often meticulous and numbers-oriented, this doesn’t mean you can’t explore the other side of your brain.
Learning a new language, taking a writing class or enrolling in a professional communication course can enhance your value to employers looking for candidates who can connect with their clients. Acquiring new skills also demonstrates that you’re committed to your personal growth.
Alternatively, it can be just as useful to train yourself in the latest financial software, take advanced Excel tutorials, or brush up on a much-hyped app that businesses are likely to start using.
From taking a short course to launching a side project, there’s no shortage of steps you can take to build a sparkling CV. What steps are you taking to make your résumé stand out?