How to dominate your job search

learn how to dominate your accounting job search!

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Whether you’re looking for your first job or something new, beginning and maintaining a job search can be overwhelming. Take the following steps to avoid some common pitfalls and find your next career opportunity. 

What are you looking for?

Common pitfall to avoid: Wasting time (yours, your networks’, and potential employers’) by looking for jobs anywhere and everywhere because you don’t know what you want.

It’s cliché, but it helps to know what you’re looking for in order to find it. Keep your search targeted so that it doesn’t take forever or result in a job you’re not excited about. This requires you to take time upfront to figure out what you’re looking for and what you have to offer.

Begin by defining your professional goals and interests. Don’t forget considerations such as work/life balance, location, opportunities for growth, and job security. If you don’t know what you want, do some research. Think through what you’ve enjoyed and disliked from past experiences. Conduct informational interviews to talk with people about what they like and don’t like about their jobs. Read job postings to see what appeals to you.

Also assess your skills, knowledge, and experiences so that you stay focused on jobs you qualify for. But also don’t be afraid to reach a bit!

Stay organized

Common pitfall to avoid: Losing track of details, causing you to miss opportunities to shine or even look unprofessional. 

With multiple versions of your resume, many new contacts and follow-up items for each opportunity you’re pursuing, you’ll have a lot to keep track of. Staying organized from the beginning of your search will save you time later and make you a better candidate. Be sure to:

  • Consider what methods and tools you’ll use to stay organized (such as keeping notes from each interview in a notebook, putting daily goals as calendar reminders, etc.).
  • Make a schedule and set calendar alerts for important items (such as when to follow up with different contacts or when to check a job positing).
  • Keep a record of your job search activities (such as people you spoke with, positions you applied for, events you attended, etc.).
  • Record notes from each conversation you have with mentors, recruiters, employment resources, and potential employers. Keep this with their contact information (which you’ll be sure to get before ending a meeting with a new contact).
  • Clearly label your resume versions.
  • Keep track of what files you have sent to each employer.
  • Compile company research you’ve conducted that can come in handy for future interviews.

Involve your network

Pitfall to avoid: Only looking for jobs online and missing out on the guidance, leads, and referrals that can come through networking.

There are tons of ways to find job opportunities, but they’re not all equally effective. While you may be tempted to just search and apply for jobs online from the comfort of your couch in your underwear, involving your network in your search is far more effective. Talking with people can help you narrow in on what you really want to do, find out which companies are great to work for, find new people to connect with, and get leads and referrals.

Diversify your search by using multiple channels, but put most of your energy into building and interacting with your network. Let people know that you’re looking for a job and what you’re targeting. Ask them if they know of any opportunities or if they can introduce you to someone. Being introduced to connections of your connections can be very valuable. For example, perhaps your college roommate has a sister working at a company she loves in a related field to yours and he can put you in touch with her.

Prepare for each step of the application process

Common pitfall: Lack of preparation resulting in resumes that contain mistakes, an unprofessional online presence, inappropriate interview attire, clumsy interview responses, and so on.

Finding an exciting job lead isn’t going to help you unless you ace each step of the application process. Take time to prepare for each step and research best practices. The further in advance you do this, the more time you’ll have to refine, get feedback, and catch any mistakes. Not every application process is the same, but below are some common areas you should invest some time into.

  • Update your resume: You should customize your resume for each type of position you apply for. However, it’s extremely helpful to have an initial master version to work from. Be sure to proofread and ask others to review.
  • Polish your online presence: Update your LinkedIn profile, post interesting articles and participate in discussions. Make sure your social media accounts don’t have any inappropriate content and create a professional email address if you don’t already have one (i.e. one with your name rather than a shout-out to your favorite TV series). You should make private all social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) that you don’t want employers looking at.
  • Prepare for interviews: Conduct mock interviews, practice answering common interview questions, pick out your interview attire, and research the industry and companies you are interested in. Developing interview skills takes time, so start practicing and researching early to impress employers.
  • Find favorable references: Identify possible references – such as professors or former managers that think highly of you. Ask if they would be willing to be your reference and provide them with your resume and other professional information. Let them know that you’re applying to jobs and keep them up-to-date. Your references are doing you a favor, so ask them well in advance and prepare them properly.

Be persistent

Pitfall to avoid: Losing confidence and becoming willing to accept anything or becoming discouraged and losing momentum.

A job search can be a long and frustrating process. Many opportunities won’t work out. Many application processes will take longer than expected due to vacations or companies’ shifting priorities. If the search for your dream job is getting difficult, don’t sabotage it by slacking your efforts or accepting an undesirable offer.

Expect to hit setbacks so that you don’t become discouraged. Plan what you’ll  do to keep momentum in those moments. If you haven’t heard back from someone, plan out and make appropriate follow-ups. Continue to advance your search by building your network, staying current with your industry, and researching companies you are interested in.

Most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP!

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Maryn Coughran

Maryn is a co-founder and leads the marketing and outreach efforts at Wisdify. She ensures we are connecting with our customers, hearing their feedback, and then implementing their suggestions.

Prior to Wisdify, Maryn co-founded (along with Nate) BostonExcel, a Microsoft Excel training company that worked with dozens of companies in virtually every industry. Maryn’s clients included numerous Fortune 1000 companies, prestigious universities, startups and everything in between. She also happened to write and illustrate a children’s book. Let’s just say she’s a woman of many talents.

Maryn earned a BA in Economics from Wellesley College.


Joe is the owner of Wisdify.  He is passionate about learning and development, he loves helping people achieve their professional and personal goals. Joe is a big believer in the power of online learning and community with 20 years of finance and accounting experience.


Kelsey Murphy

Kelsey is Wisdify’s expert content developer. Taking feedback from our students, Kelsey creates extremely relevant blog posts and leads the development of Wisdify’s other free resources.

Prior to Wisdify, Kelsey worked as a business technology strategy consultant for Forrester, a global research and advisory firm. While there, she acted as project manager for numerous research-based consulting projects.

Kelsey earned a BA in Economics and Mathematics from Wellesley College.

Madison Bess

Madison oversees the social media strategy at Wisdify and makes sure we stay closely connected with our students, receive their feedback, and provide our students with valuable information.

Prior to Wisdify, Madison successfully ran the social media accounts for multiple companies. She also found time to start her own personal training company (which she still runs).

Madison earned a BA in English from Brigham Young University.

The Buckaroos

Gwyn, Jack, and Kate are the adorable tow-heads that lead up Wisdify’s campaigns on cuteness, energy, and sleep-deprivation.