How to Rock the Recruitment Process
Recruiting season has arrived.
When you submit your resume, include a cover letter that details why the firm would benefit from hiring you. Sometimes it’s mandatory while for some firms it is optional. However - always add a tailored cover letter as it is your first (and hopefully not last) chance to pitch yourself and show your true character, ambitions and knowledge of the industry.
The cover letter is your chance to shine. One way to answer this is by following the below format:
- An introduction stating who you are and the position you apply for;
- Why [X] firm;
- Why you want to join the profession and why for this firm (this is different from point 2 above)
Thankfully, due to the size and breadth of capabilities, there is a lot of information you can use which is widely available online. Things to look for include, but not limited to the respective firm’s work, teams, specialisms, case studies and recent reports as well as what changes they have generated and in which fields. For example, it may be worth mentioning the firms’ efforts to enhance social mobility as this is a field where solid progress has been made the past years and these companies take pride in their advancement towards equality and diversity. When selecting what to mention in your application, keep in mind how you can connect these characteristics to your own profile and achievements.
With regard to your profile and personal background, it is important you don’t sound repetitive. The Big 4 receive by far the most applications than any other company in the UK so it’s important you figure a way to stand out. Choose those 1 or 2 attributes that make you special instead of using flashy words, being overly formal or repetitive. Again, this is your chance to pitch yourself and differentiate your candidacy from thousands of equally-qualified students.
Below are some key attributes these companies look for when considering an application.
The qualities the most impressive Big 4 hires possess
The most impressive hires show easy confidence and excitement. They are well-researched on the firm and its background. They are also very focused on the firm they apply/interview with as their one and only choice. They may have other options, but they express their confidence in this one firm as their top and only choice.
All candidates are going to be technically strong. Those who stand out the most are the ones who have the potential to develop into future leaders. When going down the memory lane, try to think of instances where you showed initiative, led a team or a project and what your contribution to the overall goal was. Communicate this succinctly and effectively and they you stand a good chance of being shortlisted. Those who are driven leaders are also those that have long term success in the profession.
Big 4 firms are made up of many young professionals and the relationships one can develop with co-workers may easily evolve into lifelong friendships. From a professional perspective, those who opt for a career in the big accounting, tax and auditing firms will develop technical, managerial, leadership, and personal skills that would make them a highly sought after professional should they choose to leave professional accounting. There are very few professions where an individual can develop the same skill set in such a short period of time.
While this implies a lot of effort and genuine commitment in order to secure a place, the best advice would be to be yourself, understand the job, the various companies and what they look for and most importantly, manage to connect this knowledge to you background, character and professional ambitions.
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