Title says it all. I'm frustrated and ready to take any under-paying bookkeeping position offered but still no luck. What should I do?
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Title says it all. I'm frustrated and ready to take any under-paying bookkeeping position offered but still no luck. What should I do?
Crap ! You are scaring the shit out of me ! Been searching for a year ! no luck
I wish both of us the best of luck !
I guess I should pass first though !
I am in the same boat...changed of career at age 40....received my Masters last year and passed all four parts of the exam and have been submitting resumes for a few weeks with no response..im going to have a breakdown soon!
Tell us more, tell us more.
How long have you been looking? How old are you? What type of searching are you doing (I can tell you that if it is for anything using monster or careerbuilder you are wasting your time)? What type of networking are you doing? What industry are you in or looking to get into--don't just take a job, target an industry that interests you.
Most people don't get jobs because they passively look using national sites where they get 10,000 resumes per position. In fact Drudge has a headline where 20,000 people applied for less than 900 jobs at an auto plant. Following the masses isn't going to work.
Some off the cuff ideas:
1. Join toastmasters to make some contacts.
2. Join and go to the Chamber of Commerce meetings (even if you have to start a small accounting / tax business to get in)
3. (last ditch effort here): Find the child of a very wealthy self-made businessman or woman and either knock her up or get knocked up by the son. Welcome to the family. :D
All of you above, have any kind of work experience in the field of accounting? I mean 2 -3 years experience in a fortune 500 companies or any small private / listed companies.....
Mom/Pop accounting and bookkeeping does not count.
I have 8 months of experience in a Big four - an international location ... resigned to get my cpa and maseters ... was a research assistant ... ! passed 2 parts of the cpa ... Should be done of the other two in july i hope ...
Btw thanks @ CPAPending ...
Showing only 8 months of work experience is not enough, if you are applying for accounting positions. Also, if you were 23, 24 and had this kind of experience and working on the CPA exam it would be stil ok.
With the way this economy is going and unemployment around 8% or so, ( in some states its more higher) the employers have a lot of options and they can pick & choose who they desire.
At this point i would say ask your friends or family members or some distant relatives to keep an eye out for some kind of staff accounting positions in their companies.
In all honesty, the recruiters would not even look at t\your resume with this thin work experience. At the end of the day they also want to make their fat commission by placing a candidate who has a perfect work history, stable at a company for 4-5 yrs and has not bounced around a lot.
Also, make sure you get your resume looked at by a career counselor, it can help.
By the way, in case anyone is unclear, option 3 is a joke.
Although I am holding it out in case I just get tired of the corporate world and decide I'd like to be a kept man! :D
Lol ! Good one CPApending ...
Ya ... i know ... i'm shooting for an internship or an entry position ... not looking for an experienced position ... i'm 24 years old ... :) . Good luck to all of us :) . thanks for your help too mena je twa ... I'm still optimistic :) .
location location location. Where are you guys living/looking for employment?
I live in NJ...I am looking in NJ and NYC...I think im going to start researching recruiters...and seeing if that helps any. I have business experience but not accounting. I worked in financial services and home loans each for five years.
@cheer222, when I was living in NYC I had a difficult time finding employment. Recruiters are sometimes the best way to go. A lot of times that is how you can get into a large company. I went through Ajilon Finance and scored a really good position. Our company also used Winter Wyman. It definitely does not hurt to contact them, they will also tweak your resume
You guys also have to be honest with yourselves.. are you qualified for the positions you're applying for?
In the LA area, I see a lot of public accounting positions that require at least 2-5 years experience. For those that have less than 2 years of experience, consider looking for entry level (no experience) positions.
If you're still in school or closely connected with your university's career center, I would go to on campus interviews through the school. Not sure how much things have changed, but when I was in school (3 years ago), if you have passed your CPA exam or passed a few sections, you had a major advantage over new graduates that have nothing on their resume.
I would also consider small local CPA firms in your area. Google CPA and your zip code and check out each firm's career center or just mail your resume and cover letter to them so they have it on file when they need to hire.
Mena je twa has a great recommendation! Ask people you know. Their recommendations goes a long way in the hiring process.
@Peanut..thanks im going to start with recruiters tomorrow! I will find a job....I will find a job...lol im secretly hoping I find one that says I can start in August...a few more months off would be nice too :)
Just a few ideas...network, network, network...everywhere. If you recently graduated I would try and work with former professors you built a relationship with or see if career services at the school can help you. Try to work with a recruiter if you can. They may not work with you if you don't have experience but can always direct you to their temp services area. I have yet to meet a recruiter that flat out turned someone away. They always at least referred the person to their consulting division. Maybe try that, Robert Half, Kforce are a few to consider. Do research on your city and see who the accounting and finance recruiters are. I 100% agree with everyone that says you will not get anything through online national job banks, like monster. Try linkedin, look at the local ads. Don't come off as frustrated or desperate when you do go on an interview. And finally just because you have your cpa does not mean you are not going to start off anywhere other than the bottom. So put your time in and realize you probably will have to start off as a staff accountant and complete what you may consider remedial work. I do think once you start working you will excel faster with your cpa than someone without it but it will also depend on your personality, work ethics, ability to network, etc. I would not take a bookkeeping position because once you start working it will be a lot harder to explain why you are ready to look for something else a few months into the job.
I live in Central CA and started with midsized firm out of college(a classmate was working there and reccomended me in). The partner was from big 4 so hours were horrific and BAD management, so I left at 1.5 years and no license. I applied to a job that said 2-5 years of experience, CPA preferred(I found the job through Careerbuilder). I was hired on the spot after they had been looking for 3 weeks. So shoot high even if you think you aren't qualified, it is all about the right fit too.
I dont mind starting at the bottom...I just want to start lol :)
Move to Texas. Lots of jobs. It's hot, but there are LOTS of opportunities in entry level down here. I restarted my career and had to give up a pretty nice gig to get into the field. Once I swallowed my pride and applied for jobs that I was qualified for (not saying anyone here is proud, that was just me) I landed a solid job with a lot of upward potential. Pay is about 25% less than I was used to making, but the upside with a CPA in my firm is pretty decent.
Just keep at it and build your skills. I love the Toastmaster idea and the Chamber of Commerce idea. Both allow you to meet a lot of people that may know a lot of people. As the saying goes, it's not what you know but who you know....
I dont think it matters to a potential employer if you passed the first time or the fourteenth time, so probably look past that fact.
lateralus ag: Did you move to Texas and then found a job there or the other way around?
Cheer222, that is funny! It is tough in the job market so I wish you good luck. I also think location will help. TX is booming so if you can, maybe consider moving. We just moved for our careers. It is tough but I am willing to take any risks to continue to build my career because I don't want to look back at 50 and wish I would have pushed harder. Nothing is standing in the way of building a better life for myself and my kids. A little off subject...more preaching to myself here than anything. :)
I think you guys might be 'overqualified' for entry level positions since you passed the CPA, but have no work experience. For those book keeping /entry level maybe leave off of your resume and cover letter that you passed? It's a double edged sword because the employer knows you will bounce. But keep it on for public accounting positions you apply for since they can offer you a career not just a job
I am originally from Texas. Spent some time in the Army and moved back. I went back to school and graduated with an Acct degree. There are a lot of opportunities in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Ft Worth, and even Austin is worth a look.
I got three offers out of Houston, two out of Ft Worth, and had an interview scheduled in Bryan before I took my current position. All the offers that I received were more money than I took here, but we like this area so I took this one.
"I think you guys might be 'overqualified' for entry level positions since you passed the CPA, but have no work experience"
Herbie is correct on this I think. Maybe leave that off of your resume and cover letter. You never know who is going to be doing the hiring, especially in an entry level type position. A lot of controllers and managers in smaller firms and companies aren't CPA's and they would probably be unwilling to even interview someone that is more qualified than they are.
Also, I don't know if you have looked at any local universities, but in my area there is a HUGE public university. They have a lot of entry level type positions and they hire a lot of accountants. My wife is in accounting (not a CPA) and she does internal audit work for the university. Lot's of Financial Accountant jobs and Staff Accountant jobs. Might be worth a try.
Also, don't rule out other government jobs. I know the FBI puts Accounting Majors right at the top of their hiring hierarchy. IRS isn't hiring entry level positions right now, but when they do, that's worth a shot. Bank regulators LOVE accountants too. Try the OCC, and FDIC.
If you're willing to move and travel some, I know that OCC regulators make some decent scratch once they move out of entry level positions.
I would echo the idea of being willing to move for a job (not to start a whole other topic of Americans being less willing to move for work than they were a generation ago, but I digress...)
I've moved to Chicago, Seattle and now New York and always have found accounting/finance/consulting jobs to be plentiful.
If you have your CPA (Which I don't yet), you shouldn't have that much difficulty if you spread your search net a bit.
thank you all for tweeting in on this. I live in florida but am willing to move anywhere. I was hired as an intern at a local CPA firm in March 2011, before graduation. After graduating in May I was offered a fulltime position at the same firm. Worked until Dec, then left to study for CPA. Passed all four exams by May 2012. I have about 9 months of public accounting experience working with all sorts of clients. Can prepare tax returns for individuals with complex income structure, partnerships and corporations. At one point I handled almost quarter of the firm's client base. I was always a good student during college with not too bad of GPA (3.4), member of Beta Alpha Psi, and ASA. Some of my friends are currently working at Big 4. I am counting on the next recruiting session with Big 4s beginning in Aug. But, in the mean time I need employment and its disheartening to get rejected by mid sized companies hiring for staff accounting positions based on the fact that "you are over qualified" and "we are looking for someone who will stay for 3 to 4 yrs, but you will get bored in 3 months and look for better prospects". I am sick of getting tag lined "too ambicious" and "you are public accounting material"
I want to work in public accounting more than anything, but firms are just not hiring!!
I just got an offer from another small local firm. They only did taxes for foreigners FBars, 1116s and 5471s that I had no prior experience working with. I went for only two days and was told that we need someone with more experience than you because we don't have time for training.
I understand I don't have that much of experience, but I know for a fact that I am willing and able to learn. For God sake, I passed CPA, I am 24 yrs old, and I have a masters in Accounting. I CAN learn if given a chance. And, how am I supposed to get that experience everyone seems to demand if I can't find a job??
Join your state CPA Society and start attending the "Emerging CPAs" events (happy hours, baseball games, etc.).
Also, be careful with recruiters and their "bait and switch" technique...you inquire about one job and then they try to place you elsewhere, or get you to fill THEIR need, not yours.
I worked with probably 10-12 recruiters in my last job search (since every firm/company used a different recruiting agency), and none of them really added any value to my job search.
I ended up finding an awesome job on my own through Indeed.com, and by calling the HR person directly.
Things have been a little slow here, but have picked up the last few days. I think people were just waiting for Memorial Day to be over.
I do understand the "over-qualified" and the "not-enough-experience." I am willing to work for less money for the right opportunity. I am not desperate yet, so not freaking out about it.
I realize this forum is supposed to be encouraging for those still in the process, and I don't mean to bring anyone down. This forum was an awesome support for me when I was studying not too long ago, you guys helped me through some really difficult times. But, this is also a fact, I have finished the journey but destination is still not in sight. I apologise if hearing this had any unintended effect on any of the members of this community. Believe me, when I passed my final exam it was a great feeling. Not only because it was over, but because just getting done gave me a sense of accomplishment. It is an achievement that will stay with me forever. But, it is also true that I had imagined that at end of that tunnel, there will be a new beginning. I don't mind the struggle, but I just thought it will get little easier after I have that title. Not exactly the kind of beginning I had imagined. I am not losing hope, I am not giving up, but I am tired for sure.
@CPAlikeaBoss, you don't want to work for those firm that is not willing to train you.. screw them!
What did you tell the interviewer for them to say "you will get bored in 3 months and look for better prospects"??
Are you telling them the truth about leaving the other firm because you wanted to study for the cpa exam? If I heard a applicant say that, it doesn't put them in a good light. It makes you look like you don't care about your prior employer and left so you can benefit yourself by passing the exams. On top of that you left in December, right before the busy season... A lot of people work and take the exam. Leaving the firm to study is a terrible excuse. If you are telling them the truth, maybe you should bend it a little? Does your prior employer know the reason for leaving? You may not be able to bend the truth if your prior employer is going to tell the interviewer why you left. If I were in your shoes, I would still tell another story for leaving and take the chance of your prior employer telling the interviewer why you left.
You look good on paper so keep trying. It's not supposed to be easy.
@cpham: I had no choice but to leave. I am still on good terms with my previous employer. I asked him if I could stay part time and study for the exam but since it was right before tax season, he needed someone fulltime. He said if I can't stay he will have to hire someone fulltime and he could'nt afford two staff accountants one fulltime and one part time. I understood and so did he.
When told I would probably get bored and leave in 3 months, ofcourse I didn't agree and told them that I am looking for long term employment not a temporary gig.
When asked during an interview my reason for leaving I don;t say that I left to study for CPA, I tell them that since it was a very small firm it had a limited growth potential, so I left to look for better opportunities.
p.s. I would rather have the four exams passed and no job than having a job and having two parts left to go (or maybe 1 part).
@cpham: The feedback that I am getting from corporate positions is that, they are concerned about my willingness to stay in corporate accounting. They seem to think I have better chance of having a fruitful career in public accounting. And more importantly, for staff accounting positions they don't seem to like me having passed CPA. They would rather hire someone with a degree in accounting, no public accounting experience, but 3 to 5 yrs of corporate or bookkeeping experience. Because that sort of candidate is not likely to move to a different company or to public accounting, or demand higher sallary anytime soon. As for me, they see me as someone with more theoratical knowledge since I have passed CPA, but less practical knowledge, as in ARs and Aps, payrolls and other corporate operations that most staff accounting rolls in corporate accounting require. Only time corporates hire public accountants, with public accounting experience and CPA is at senior accountant or accounting manager level or controller positions. The stage that I am at right now, I believe my best shot is to somehow land a position in a mid to large sized public accounting firm, because they are the only ones willing to invest into training an employee. Corporate accounting will be there 5 years later when I have 5 yrs of a big 4 or other reputable public accounting experience on my Resume. And at that point, they will be willing to hire me at managerial level. But problem is, I don't have a clue how to get someone at a good accounting firm to look at my Resume. I am in touch with college recruiters, but they only pick up candidates twice a year in fall and spring. only other way to get into an accounting firm in middle of the year is to know someone who works there and would let you know if the firm desperately needs to fill a position during the year.
At my school, a few 40+ year olds have stellar GPA's like 3.7+ but are unable to get interviews let alone jobs. The reasons why are obvious and I don't think I need to explain. I feel bad for them as they could really add value to any firm or company.
For the 21-30 age group that got Big 4 internships / Offers they had these attributes :
1. GPA 3.3+
2. Social skills---Eye contact, Confidence, 'Swag'
3. Played the recruiting game
"When asked during an interview my reason for leaving I don;t say that I left to study for CPA, I tell them that since it was a very small firm it had a limited growth potential, so I left to look for better opportunities."
If I was doing the hiring and you told me this, I would probably not hire you. No one quits their job to look for another job. You look while you are still employed.
My GPA , 3.4
Social skills/ Eye contact: Better than anyone I know
Played the recruiting game : For too long now
Luck: I guess this is what I am lacking
And totally agree about the 40yr + mark. These are skilled candidates with what matters more than anything, experience (even if its not relevant).
"At my school, a few 40+ year olds have stellar GPA's like 3.7+ but are unable to get interviews let alone jobs. The reasons why are obvious and I don't think I need to explain. I feel bad for them as they could really add value to any firm or company."
I don't think the reasons are obvious. Why don't you explain them?
@lateralus: any suggestions?
I know some on here would disagree with me, but I would tell them the truth. If I had a young man or woman sitting across from me and they told me that they wanted to make sure they did well on the exam because that was their goal and that they had tried to stay part time but the firm was too small to afford a part time staff member, I would be totally okay with that. I would especially add that your relationship with your old employer was a good one and that you parted ways under excellent terms.
Having the dedication to quit your job to pass the exam says a lot to me.
@lateralus : thank you! that makes a lot of sense. If I was the interviewer, I would have similar sentiments.
I hope someone here has something to say about my inability to get recruiters from Public accounting firms to look at my resume. The online career links to most accounting firms websites are inresponsive and seem to be connected directly to trash can.
lateralus ag---Public accounting firm wise, there is age discrimination. I think that is obvious. Like i said, the 40+'s i know are great and would be a great addition to any firm/co.
Why is there age discrimination in Public?
Others that actually work in public accounting can answer that.
No problem. I hope you do well and I wish you the best of luck.
Just as a plug, it's hot as hell down here, but Texas is a lot of fun, lots of big cities, lots of small towns, and LOTS of commerce. You should check out the jobs in the Dallas Metroplex and Houston. Lots of oil and gas entry level stuff. Two girls I graduate with (one of which was a "nontraditional" 45 year old mother of 3 with a 4.0 GPA got an offer from Anadarko. She was HIGHLY recruited by the big 4, Exxon, Marathon, as well as a couple regional firms. That's why I asked the other guy to explain what he/she meant about the 40+ folks having trouble for "obvious" reasons) both got positions in oil and gas and the both LOVE it.
If you have any interest in oil and gas accounting, there are jobs to be had down here.
I think public accounting job require one to endure both physical and mental strain. I am not saying 40+s can't handle that, if anythign they could probably do a better job than most 21-25s or 27s, but again public accounting is the only place besides mcdys and bk where you are considered manager in less than 5 yrs. They want someone right out of school who can be there work horse for first couple of years, pick up on the tricks of the trade, and then rev the new incoming candidates after reaching senior or managerial level. Ever wondered why it takes at least 8 to 10 yrs to get the title of account manager in corporate accounting? Besides, I know pleanty of 40 yr olds who would consider it a disgrace acnswering to a 20 something manager. just my two cents
I got my CPA license and also my PMP and I still can't find a job. I was trying to open up new doors and got doors slammed in my face due to "no experience" *sigh*
Who cares that my certifications show I know my stuff, I'm stuck in the catch-22. Oh well, continue plugging along on the job sites.
You have to ask yourself why you want to be in public accounting. I was highly recruited for public accounting while I was in school and I was just turned off by the whole process and the whole public accounting mess. The regional firms seemed to be a little better, but not by much. They seemed to have a chip on their shoulder because of the big boys.
Frankly, you probably should do a lot of soul searching about what you want to do with your acct degree/cpa. Once you have that goal in mind, find out the best way to get there. If that's public accounting, then great.
Some folks LOVE public accounting. My boss worked for Deloitte and she LOVED it. She also freely admits that she loves being around arrogant and obnoxious people....so you have that to think about.
I was offered a Staff position with a small firm out of Houston that specializes in certain types of audits. I went through the interview process, but decided I wasn't at all interested in that kind of work. Like I said, I took a job with a small, but global, consulting firm (and took a LOT less money to do it) but it's more in line with my ultimate goals and I am happy that I did it.
Oh, and yea, I get what you are saying about the public accounting firms being bad about age discrimination. I thought you just meant that older candidates were having trouble across the board. I get what you are saying there. Sorry to misunderstand.
The job market sucks in Chicago.
It's full of fake job postings and there're no more than 2 sort-of-decent accounting jobs per day.
Many companies don't want CPAs for Staff positions. Others want CPA+MBA for Senior Staff, which is insane in my opinion.
It's truly a catch 22.
I sent a few resumes out and haven't heard anything. Looks like it's going to be tougher than I thought.
This thread is interesting for sure. I have to add my take since I was a non traditional student and went Big 4 straight out of school. I was 27, granted not to much older but older than most so I had a different perspective. It is funny to hear people say stuff about where else can you make manager in 5 years because so many of those so called managers completely fail at life and in industry once they switch because they are pompous dbags with no ability to actually be a leader, let alone a manager. But then again I hated being around pompous, dbags who thought they knew everything and didn't. Maybe they knew some about accounting, I respect their one's that had their CPA, but even then I met a lot of dumb CPA's. And for sure most were completely delusional about life. So it is a hard choice, it always looks good to have that on the resume. It landed me in a manager role coming out of public without my CPA BUUUUTTTT after that I had to work my a** off to prove I was worth it. Every opportunity since then has been because of my work ethic, not just Big 4 carrying me through. And when I say work ethic I mean working as many hours as it takes to get the job done, volunteer for every extra project, committee, network, never get an attitude, always do the right thing, take initiative and figure it out on my own, but most importantly, remain humble and approachable to people...never forget you are replaceable and its just a job at the end of the day. I guess my point of this little rant is I don't care for Big 4 and if you do get in, please don't lose yourself and be something you are not. And side note, I am sorry about the interviews you have had. I am in a manager position now and interview people regularly. I am not intimated by someone that has their cpa and would rather have a high-speed staff for even just a year than a lifer with no initiative. But what I would never want is an arrogant person who thinks they are better than others just based off the fact that they have their CPA, not saying you give that vibe, just what I look out for.
@cpham, @75 "And more importantly, for staff accounting positions they don't seem to like me having passed CPA"
I disagree with this. I'm starting work at one of the Big 4, and they actually reward you with a bonus ($5k) if you pass the CPA exam within 1 year of starting work (or having it done b4 u even start). They really encourage you to get your CPA exams done before starting work. Maybe it's different if you have your CPA completed BEFORE you get the job offer.. i'm not sure, but they did encourage it.
Good luck on the job search :/ In my experience, the Big 4 love it if you're really interested/excited to learn. My school had a career fair where we had a lot of accy firms show up as well as all the big 4. Alumni are also allowed to attend. Networking is also huge: if u have friends who work in public accy firms and can attest to your drive, work ethic, etc, maybe they could introduce u to their recruiter.
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