Don’t Stop Job Hunting During COVID19

COVID19 has transformed the Canadian employment landscape raising the unemployment rate and changing expectations. Many workers continue to face furloughs and lay-offs, while employers defer new hiring and are reassessing their workforce strategies. The COVID19 imposed lockdown has resulted in severe economic consequences including the loss of nearly 2 million jobs in April last year.

All this may seem daunting and as a candidate looking for work you may be asking yourself: what is the likelihood of being hired right now? While it may be a bit harder to find them, opportunities still exist, and you should continue to job hunt with the same ferocity as you normally would.

Here are some pro tips for job hunting during the pandemic:

1. Stay ahead of the competition
If more people decide to re-enter the workforce once the market recovers, competition will get fiercer. Get a head start by applying for available jobs and building relationships with different employers who may not be hiring just yet. Continue to build your personal brand and reach out to your network to let them know that you’re on the hunt.

2. Be more flexible
Roles that you were interested in before the pandemic may no longer exist or have to be performed differently now. Be open to working in new industries and applying for different roles, positions you may not have considered before such as part-time or contract work, just to get your foot in the door.

3. Leverage your tech skills
Companies are relying more on technologies simply because the shift to remote work has forced them to do so. They are more likely to hire adaptable, technologically savvy, team players with a growth mindset. Take this time to improve your tech skills and familiarize yourself with a wide range of digital platforms that businesses use.

Connect with our recruiting experts who can help you uncover opportunities and who have the inside scoop into many unadvertised jobs. Partnering with a recruitment agency comes at no cost to you but will provide you with the added horsepower to find work during a time when it’s less easy to do so.

Do’s and Don’ts of F&A Resume Writing

Hiring managers skim through a ton of resumes daily and need to identify quickly which ones make the cut and which ones don’t. It is tough to summarize your career on a single document –skillfully articulating positions you’ve held, certifications you’ve earned and companies you’ve worked for.

Whether you’re creating a new resume from scratch or updating a current one, here are some of our do’s and don’ts to help you to put together a purposeful career document that brings you closer to your next job.

Do’s

1. Choose a Functional Resume Format

Most finance resumes use a chronological approach to display work experience. Experiment with a functional format that follows the chronological listing of work experience along with a detailed list of skills and certifications. Include a headline that clearly communicates your goals and qualifications. Customize your summary for each position, research what the company is looking for in a candidate and make note of those attributes in your summary statement. Make your summary unique, let it tell the interviewer something about yourself that the rest of your resume won’t.

2. Quantify Your Experience

The work experience section of your resume is the most daunting one to highlight. Numbers make a huge difference to any resume, try to quantify as much of your experience as possible. If you’re hesitant to use exact figures, consider using range, percentage increases/decreases, frequency, and scale to emphasize your impact. For example; responsible for preparing multiple financial reports on a weekly basis has a better impact than responsible for the preparation of financial reports. Similarly, managed a portfolio of over 500 clients, 50+ calls per day, recovered 2+ million in 2018 sounds much better than dealt with high-volume collections and recovered millions for the company.

3. Include Specific Keywords

Be specific with your skills, certifications and use strategic keywords relevant to the job description. Only those candidates whose resume matches to what recruiters are looking for will make it to the top of the pile. Some finance keywords to consider include finance analysis, corporate accounting, financial planning, budgeting, tax accounting etc. Don’t overdo it with F&A acronyms and technical jargon. Technical expertise is crucial for a career in finance, but employers want to see proof of soft skills such as critical thinking, communication, and time management.


Don’t

1. Use Too Many Empty Words

Avoid excessive use of terms like “detail-oriented”, “results-driven” or “change agent”. Include terms that are specific to your skills and abilities. Discard any flattery, unnecessary descriptions or words that don’t add value to your professional career. Ideal F&A resume length should be 2 pages – every word is precious!

2. Focus on Job Titles

Employers may be more interested in your job accomplishments than job title. Reduce your focus on job titles and add more weight to your accomplishments within a specific role, positive changes you’ve helped to implement, and accounting software that you’ve mastered

3. Overdue Work Experience

There is no need to mention every job you’ve had, especially if it is not related to the role you’re currently pursuing. Limit your work experience to positions that align with your qualifications and career goals.

How to Avoid Job Search Burnout

Looking for work is like a job itself. It involves a lot of strategic planning, hard work and patience. Whether it is the pandemic that has forced you to look for new employment opportunities, or you have been on the hunt for a while now, don’t let job searching burn you out.

Here are some best practices to help you:

1. Develop a Strategy: Build a daily routine with specific goals and work your way through them. Start your job search process by determining your career aspirations and evaluating any skills gaps. Update your resume with latest work experience, certifications and expertise. Use your time effectively by brainstorming ideal companies you would like to work for and make yourself familiar with their job application process.

2. Track Your Job Search: When you do not have a plan in place, it is easy to lose track of the jobs you have applied for. It is very common these days to apply for multiple opportunities, confuse companies and positions and forget to follow up. One of the best ways to keep track of your job applications is to maintain an active spreadsheet that details out company name, job role, job title, job source, point of contact etc. This will help you stay organized during your job search, keeping priorities in check and saving you from squandering precious time and energy.

3. Leverage Your Network & Social Channels: This is the right time to tap into your network, connect with former colleagues, friends and get your name out there. Let people know that you are actively looking for opportunities and share your personal brand. Utilize this time to get creative and make the most out of your social profiles. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 70% of hiring managers use social media to screen candidates. Channelize your passion and engage in meaningful conversations on social media. From updating your LinkedIn profile to creating content, getting yourself out there can put you in the right place at the right time.

4. Be Patient: During your job search process, try to maintain a positive outlook and believe in yourself. Remember that job searching is a process and will not deliver results overnight. Ideally, you want to find a role that motivates you to work better everyday and be a part of a work family that supports professional and personal development goals.

Coping With Job Loss: Take Charge & Keep Going

Two-in-five Canadian households have already experienced some type of job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Losing your job is stressful under normal circumstances but during this time of uncertainty it can be especially daunting.  But don’t give in to despair and anxiety.  Take charge of the situation and develop a plan for being mentally healthy and focused on your goal of finding another opportunity in due time.  

We would like to share some tips for staying on track and remaining optimistic as you find yourself stuck at home, isolated and/or frustrated, and with much more time on your hands than you were used to:

Keep job searching:  Stay positive and recognize that this is a temporary setback.  While getting back out there with an aggressive job search and networking agenda right now might be tricky due to office closures and social distancing, keep moving ahead and don’t stop looking for opportunities.  Hiring may have slowed in many industries but hiring managers and staffing firms are building a pipeline of talent at all times.  Reach out to them and pitch what you have to offer.

Hone your skills:  Use this time to update your skills as well as learn some new things.  Research which skills are most valuable to employers in your industry and sign up for online classes or free tutorials.  There are also many charitable organizations who can use a helping hand right now.  Volunteering is a good way to gain some hands-on experience in a different capacity and will help to fill the employment gap in your resume.

Grow your network: This might seem an impossible task in today’s world of social distancing and isolation, but growing your network is still achievable.  Join a webinar and interact with the participants and/or presenters, engage in conversations by email or phone, and connect with new groups on social media. Start with your existing network and devise a plan for how you can build out.  Because many opportunities go unadvertised, having a strong network is very helpful.

Connect with a staffing firm: We don’t bite.  In fact, our recruiters can help you assess your skills, provide tips on best resume writing practices, and talk you through the necessary steps for finding a new job, all without any cost to you.  Think of us as your support system during this time.  Friends and family can offer sympathy, but we will take charge and set you on a course to a new career opportunity.

Losing a job is never easy.  Companies are having to make difficult decisions during this time and employee layoffs are unfortunately the consequence of having to cut back on operations and expenses.  No matter what your personal situation is, try to remain motivated and set yourself up for job search success for after everything returns to normal.      

For information about what the Canadian government is offering to workers who have lost their job due to COVID-19

Use Self-Isolation to Advance Your Career

As you find yourself with more free time at home during COVID19-imposed isolation, take this opportunity to reflect on your career.  Are you feeling challenged and satisfied by what you are doing in your current role?  Can you improve or update some of your skills?  What is the next step for your professional advancement?  Many of us don’t get to ask these questions on a regular basis, as we struggle to keep up with many every day demands.  Now is the time to evaluate and be proactive. 

Update your online presence

Start with updating your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, create one!  Employers nowadays look at LinkedIn regularly and it could be their first impression of you.  Spend time building your personal brand and displaying your professional strengths.  Make sure that all your social media platforms show you in the best possible light.  Blogging about your area of expertise is a great way to demonstrate thought leadership and give credibility to your qualifications.  Use your online presence to network and reach out to potential employers of choice.

Train and re-train yourself 

This is the best time to learn and develop a new skill.  Look for online courses that can help you enhance your knowledge.  Most provide a certification of completion that you can add to your portfolio and resume. Also, start reading those interesting industry publications and blogs that have been sitting on your list but you haven’t had a chance to get to.  Catch up on trends, refresh necessary software skills, and learn about new technology platforms that might benefit your career in the long run.

Reconnect with your contacts

Use this downtime to catch up with your friends, former colleagues, past employers or anyone that you have not heard from in a long time.  During this time of social isolation, they will appreciate a friendly hello and the extra bit of human interaction.  As you reconnect with them, new and surprising career opportunities might present themselves.

Participate in online discussions. 

Online forums are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and discuss shared experiences. Join discussions that align with your interests and share resources that can benefit you and the community. Online forums provides you exposure to different job opportunities, help you grow your circle of friends, allow you gain feedback from industry experts and empower you with access to new and relevant information.

Staying isolated at home is certainly not easy but we’re all in this together.  With a focussed and goal-oriented mindset, you can make the best of it and set yourself up for success once society returns to normal.

Resume Tips 2020

By Ali Farooq, Recruitment Team Lead

Job seekers often dread writing resumes. They either don’t know where to begin, how to quantify skills or how to highlight a diversified work background? Our list of resume tips will guide you in crafting a job-winning resume.

Focus on Relevant Skills & Work Experience

It is difficult to detail every accomplishment or job you’ve had in your career without making your resume overly lengthy. What really helps is customizing your resume based on jobs you want to apply for. Highlight relevant skills and work experience that position you as an ideal candidate for these specific roles. List the software’s that you’re proficient in and outline projects you have worked on. Refrain from stating the obvious such as great organizational skills, know how to use Microsoft Office, or that you speak English. This adds unnecessary additional bulk to your resume.

Demonstrate Your Worth Using Numbers

Numbers are attention grabbing and helps in conveying your career story effortlessly. Recruiters and Hiring managers are often strapped for time. Therefore, include results in numbers and percentages to detail your impressive work history. Be as specific as possible without having too much text on your resume.

Showcase the Certifications You Hold

In the Finance and Accounting field, certifications are crucial. They demonstrate skills, knowledge and a candidate’s dedication. Certifications prove that the candidate is a motivated learner who wants to enhance his/her skill set. Whether you’re actively pursuing or have completed a certification, be sure to always mention it in your resume – it can give your resume a boost over other candidates.

Format Correctly & Drive Attention to the Top of Your Resume

A correctly formatted resume showcases professionalism and attention to detail. Always use easy to read fonts, double check the grammar and space your content appropriately. Avoid abbreviations as they can be counterproductive. Finance professionals use multiple abbreviations such as AP is “Accounts Payable” and CF is “Cash Flow”; Assume that, the recruiter reviewing your resume may not have the same level of understanding and can overlook such key details. Make sure to include an eye-catching headline and summary that compels hiring managers to read more about you.

Use Relevant Keywords

Recruiting and AI now work hand in hand. Most companies have an applicant tracking system in place to sort through resumes. In order to ensure that your resume gets noticed, you must use relevant keywords from the job posting. Both ATS and recruiters tend to skim through resumes for specific keywords that match the job criteria.

Find your next Finance. Accounting & Administrative job with PTC Recruiting. We are a specialized accounting and finance recruiting firm with nearly three decades of experience filling positions for some of the best employers across GTA and southern Ontario.

How committed should you be to a job offer?

By Elizabeth Connelly, Vice President

A while back, I worked with a senior-level candidate who signed a great job offer that even accommodated their vacation plans.  The hiring manager set them up in their system, prepared their desk and sent out an orientation package, excited about this new addition to the team.  The day before the start date we received an email from the candidate saying that the location of the company wasn’t ideal and they were no longer interested in the position.  Meanwhile they accepted another job proposition.

With the unemployment rate in Canada being at its all-time low, multiple offers are the reality of a candidate driven market where jobs are a plenty.  When you accept an offer with one company and receive a second, more favourable proposal from another employer, what is the right thing to do? 

This is an ethical dilemma that many professionals face throughout their careers and while it is not illegal to change your mind, how you choose to navigate through this sticky situation will affect your reputation and even future prospects.  Here are some helpful tips, crafted by our experienced team of recruiters, to guide you:

Consider the Job Offer Carefully

An opportunity might seem right at the moment, but don’t be spontaneous with your decision.  Before accepting any offer, carefully consider all aspects of the job such as location, compensation, benefits, and company culture.  Asking for some time (although not too much time) to consider the opportunity is perfectly alright and in fact demonstrates maturity in your decision making process. 

Be Transparent

Employers will appreciate your honesty.  Whether there are other opportunities you are waiting to hear about or whether you have certain hesitations about the offer, it is important to communicate this information, ideally before you sign any agreements.  Keep in mind that hiring is a human process and by being upfront about your change of heart, and less transactional about it, you leave room for understanding. 

Handle it with Tact

If you must rescind on an offer, be prepared for some not so favourable responses.  Hiring managers and recruiters put a lot of effort into finding the right candidate and your unexpected offer withdrawal may result in lost business and certainly more work for them.  Show that you value their time and effort by informing them of your decision as soon as possible rather than leaving it to the last minute.  Be courteous, apologetic and cite valid reasons for your change of mind.  Own up to your mistake.

Being in the staffing and recruitment business, I often discourage candidates from going back on their word.  If your decision wasn’t made lightly, after all, there is something about this offer that prompted you to say yes.  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Taking the Next Step in Your Accounting Career

Once you’ve successfully broken into the accounting field and gained valuable experience, you may start to wonder what’s next for your career. To advance professionally, you need to prioritize your goals and put in the effort to do what it takes to move upward, in addition to balancing your day-to-day obligations. Take the next step in your accounting career with these tips:

Audit Your Skills

Technology is the future of accounting, so if you want to move up in your career, ensure you have the necessary skills to adapt. From the growth in big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to blockchain technology, the way accounting firms do business will have to change due to demand from their client base.

Perform an audit of your current skills. If you’re not currently experienced in adapting to new technology, now is the time to start learning so you’ll be a marketable candidate for advancement. If your workplace doesn’t offer training in these areas, be proactive and invest in courses or reading up on these topics on your own time.

Differentiate Yourself

Professional branding can have a major impact on your accounting career, especially as you aim to progress upward in the field. In the age of social media and online review sites, a strong reputation is crucial both to stand out to potential clients and be considered for higher-level accounting positions.

Differentiate yourself through building a professional brand – determine your core values and where your passions lie within accounting, then curate that image through your professional interactions, as well as what you post on online platforms you utilize. You will be noticed and taken seriously for promotion opportunities.

Ways to start building your professional brand as an accountant include writing white papers or blog posts; being active on LinkedIn or other social media; and participating in accounting organizations.

Vocalize Your Goals

Accounting is a field with many opportunities for growth, but many accountants enjoy the stability of their current roles. Don’t assume your desired career path is known by your boss. Instead, take the initiative and vocalize your desire to advance professionally. When opportunities for gaining experience in specific areas or actual promotions are available, you will have already set the foundation for getting yourself in the running for consideration.

Expand Your Horizons

Your options may be limited if you only focus on trying to advance your accounting career at your current employer. Expand your horizons and see what opportunities may be out there. Consider working with an accounting staffing company to help you learn about what positions and employers are out there who can help you take that next step.

Explore Your Opportunities with PTC Recruiting!

Are you ready to get started in making progress to achieve your accounting career goals? Utilize PTC Recruiting to find the best opportunities. As an experienced accounting and finance staffing firm, PTC has spent nearly three decades building relationships with the best employers across GTA and southern Ontario. Our mission is to connect our job seekers with the opportunities that are truly the best fit for their skill sets, personal preferences and overall career goals. Search our available jobs now to see what PTC has to offer.