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Accountancy and financial management

What employers are looking for

Employers don’t need to know that you want a job, they know that already. What they want to know is why you are the right fit to work for them.

Our own research has shown that employers find candidates are not well prepared when it comes to having a good knowledge of the work that the company does, and why they would be the right fit to join the team. This can indicate a lack of interest in that specific job. But this is something you can easily remedy by following the steps we outlined on pages 6–7. Employers are looking for candidates who have prepared for the interview process and have put thought into their career plans.

Be prepared

Again, this is down to you having done your research on the employer to which you are applying. Readymade, bland, generic interview answers or statements on paper are very apparent to recruiters. As a finance graduate, or a graduate who wants to get into the finance sector, you’ll be expected to learn quickly and adapt to changing environments. They won’t expect you to know indepth facts about the company, but they will expect you to know what the job would actually involve. Again, read our areas of work overviews on page 20 and visit the finance career sector pages on gradireland.com for more information.

Communicate & innovate

Recruiters want graduate recruits who can think for themselves. While financial organisations are well established in their processes, they are constantly refining them to improve how the business works. Can you provide examples of when you innovated or communicated a way to change something for the better, perhaps in a student society or on a sports team? Remember, in the finance sector you need to be able to communicate complex information in a straightforward and clear manner, to both colleagues and clients. Recruiters will be assessing how you do this through your CV or application form, how you relate to others at assessment centres and of course how you present yourself at interview.

Be commercially aware

This goes back to being prepared, doing your research and knowing what the company is about. It also comes from having a commercial awareness of the basics of business. This can also relate to your non-academic experience; your successful part time job where you did such a good job that the boss asked you to come back to work weekends. Or the time you successfully served as treasurer for your football or hockey team. These are all examples of you taking responsibility and delivering.