Beancounters Aren't Boring

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

Based on last year’s inaugural success, the Alberta Accountants Unification Agency is hosting its second annual Accounting and Finance Career Expo. I met with Nancy Green, Manager of Career Services with the AAUA, to chat about strategies and tips for this January’s event, which has attracted 30 employers:

Nancy, Robert Half and other surveys are showing steady growth in the accounting and finance fields. Are there any current hiring trends that job seekers need to be aware of?

The forecast is good for the industry, but companies are being careful with hiring decisions. While technical skills are important, they’re also focusing on soft skills such as critical and analytical thinking, leadership qualities, and the ability to develop and bring forward recommendations. It’s important that candidates think about these skills before the job fair, and to be open to looking beyond work experience to draw out these qualifications. Remember that you can pull out transferable skills from other areas of your life.

Nancy, we heard that last year there were still participants who could have been better prepared for the event. Do you have any suggestions?

For those who have registered online (do it soon!) we email you tip sheets and information prior to the event, and you are strongly encouraged to read them. As for tips:

  1. Know yourself and your skills, and be ready to speak to them
  2. Dress business casual or formal. A collared shirt is a necessity for men
  3. Come prepared by researching the company and developing specific questions to ask company representatives. Remember not to monopolize their time, and keep your interaction to 5 minutes
  4. Bring your business cards, notebook, pen and resume
  5. If you are offered a card or contact information by an employer, remember to follow up with them within a week. A simple thank you is a good first step
  6. Smile, be genuine, and have a firm handshake
  7. Leave the backpack at home!

You mention that job seekers can bring their resumes. Are all the companies accepting them?

Expect that most companies will refer visitors to their website or job boards. This doesn’t mean you can’t use the opportunity to talk to recruiters about the range of career paths within their company, or the key skills required for the jobs you are interested in. And remember that this is a great networking opportunity to talk to professionals in your industry.

Nancy, does your agency provide support to job seekers trying to improve their employment readiness?

Yes. If a job seeker is a registered CGA, CMA or CA member in Alberta or is a student registered in the CGA, CMA, CA or CPA programs in Alberta, they should email me at ngreen@albertaaccountants.org to see what services we have that can help, such as interview preparation or resume advice.


Need more networking tips? Calgary Public Library has a big selection of books loaded with inspiration and practical tips.

Need help finding them? Call our friendly staff at 403-260-2782.


Keeping Your Head and Nailing the Interview

by Roberta

A nice, fresh batch of career books recenty arrived, and there are some very solid reads in the bunch. Here are some of my favourites, and reasons why:

Keeping Your Head after Losing Your Job: How To Survive Unemployment, by Robert Leahy

The buzz: Advice and strategies to help boost your self-esteem and confidence, decrease anxiety and feelings of helplessness, and develop resilience and strength during unemployment. Dr. Leahy’s thesis is that by keeping your head and learning how to deal with your situation, you can learn how to live your life more effectively when you get a job.

What I love so far: How to accept uncertainty, challenging your reasons for worrying, dealing with unemployment as a family.

The Everything Job Interview Question Book, by Dawn Rosenberg McKay

The buzz: Strategies for hundreds of interview questions to increase your confidence, along with help on handling inappropriate questions, advice on questions to ask employers, and tips on handling remote interviews.

What I like so far: Behavioural interview questions, guidance on how to communicate what you can bring to the company, and follow up advice.

The Subversive Job Search: How to Overcome a Lousy Job, Sluggish Economy, and Useless Degree to Create a Six-Figure Career, by Alan Corey

The buzz: A narrative, unconventional, self depricating and humourous little book full of career advice and Corey’s sly techniques on how to create a lucrative job.

What I like so far: How he recovered from “financial implosion”, his boldness, and his “subversive job tips.”

The Essential Job Interview Handbook, by Jean Baur

The buzz: Offers detailed interview strategies and solid insights into the logic behind the questions, while encouraging thoughtful and extensive preparation

What I like so far: A Good, Better and Best strategy for examining questions, years of professional experience to back up the advice, and lots of pull out tips for quick reference.

21 Days to Success Through Networking: The Life and Times of Gnik Rowten, by Ron Sukenick and Ken Williams

The Buzz: Written to help you meet and prepare for the reality of successful job hunt by presenting scenarios through the perspective of a fictional character to learn how to extend, deepen, and effectively use your personal and business networks.

What I like so far: His method of pulling out critical and “Aha” moments to drive home important networking concepts, and a quick and effortless read that prompts contemplation.