Does the list of strengths on your CV help you stand out from the crowd when you apply for jobs in accountancy?
Here’s the list of usual suspects:
- Great team player.
- Good communication skills.
- Quick learner.
- Excellent time management.
Let’s not pretend that these core skills are not important. They really really are. But they don’t demonstrate that the owner of the CV is interested in really standing out from the crowd. These strengths just roll off the tongue as mindlessly as the information we read on the back of a cereal packet before we’ve had our morning coffee.
And quite honestly the act of putting these strengths on your CV does not showcase that you possess them. It just means you know what basics need to be listed on a CV or that you’ve downloaded a template from the internet.
So now that we know you need to try a little harder to make it to the shortlist for your dream job in accountancy, let us ask you this?
Have you ever taken the time to really analsyse what unique strengths you might actually have?
We’ve come up with a few activities we suggest you undertake from time to time to get an idea of what strengths you might want to showcase. And we’ll wager that you’ll uncover some that you never even knew you had!
1. Ask those you work with, your friends and your family.
It might sound a bit mad and you might feel a bit cringe about it but why not send a message to those whose opinions you value and trust and ask them what they think might be your key strengths. They don’t all have to have a professional slant – if you mother in law tells you she thinks you’re great at smoothing over family disagreements then you’ve identified Conflict Resolution – write it down!
2. Think about what work you do that just seems effortless.
There must be something!
Perhaps being the first one to ask a question after you’ve watched a presentation? (If so you’re inquisitive and confident even when you don’t have all the answers.)
Maybe creating a formatted spreadsheet comes as naturally to you as tying your shoelaces. (In which case you’re proficient in a wide range of digital software.)
Or could you be the kind of accountant who can impress potential new clients with small talk without breaking into a sweat? (Then you’re a relaxed networker used to procuring new clients at every opportunity.)
3. Look closely at the things you love to do.
It’s not likely that you’ll be doing them as you find them really hard and they don’t come naturally to you! And we challenge you to convert every one of your passions into a strength. It’s a really useful exercise.
Are you a keen surfer? You’ll likely be patient with quick reactions to seize opportunities as soon as they arise.
Do you like to volunteer your time to work with those in need? Then you might be reflective, emotionally intelligent and highly empathetic.
Perhaps you enjoy long solo walks – then you’re an independent achiever who works best with autonomy. Love a mud runner or play football at the weekends – then you thrive as part of a cohesive team and enjoy taking pride in collective achievement.
4. Ask the experts!
There’s loads of companies out there who will help you to identify your more important, unique or unusual skills – just google strength analysis!
But if you don’t want to shell out a lot and you could just do with some gentle support to help you find the right words to describe what you think you’re great at, then we’re always here to act as your informal career counsellors. It’s something we love and feel priviliged to do and it’s all part of the service when we commit to supporting you from one end of your career as an accountant right to the other.
‘Our position as niche accountancy recruiters means that we are perfectly placed to help you highlight your strengths and get shortlisted for every job you apply for. Whether it’s organisational proficiency, compassionate leadership, a bias for action or critical thinking we know what strengths make our hiring managers stop and stare.’
Garry Howling, MD
So for an entirely deniable conversation (as in we will NEVER disclose to anyone that we’ve counselled you in your career) contact the experts today. We can offer you sound advice without compromising your current role; we do it for others every single day!
And, if you enjoyed reading this article in our CV Clinic series then you might also enjoy the following reads: