13 July 2017
Among the least favorable tasks in a job search, writing a cover letter probably takes the cake. And while the myth may be that hiring managers don’t read cover letters, you certainly don’t want to take that chance! However, it can be difficult to know how to get started, or what any individual employer may want to read. But, one of the best approaches to writing an effective cover letter is the pain point method. What’s the pain point method? Well, for any employer looking to make a great hire, what they’re really looking for is someone who can solve a current problem for them. When you figure out what that pain point is, and you present yourself as a solution to the problem, the employer will probably want to hear more. But how do you begin to write such a cover letter? Read on below for how you can get started: Do your research Finding the pain point that you can address may require more than your typical company research prior to an application. In addition to thoroughly reviewing the company website, take a look at social media channels, as well as company reviews. Depending on the role, one of these may be more important than the others. For a customer-facing role, you may want to look closer at company reviews, while a sales or marketing role may mean reviewing the website and social media more. Regardless of the role, it is important that you acquire a deep understanding of that aspect of the business to pinpoint the right issue to address. Consider your best skills Now, this isn’t just about finding a problem, it’s about finding a problem that you can solve in this role. As a result, consider carefully how your unique skill set fits into the role, and where you would imagine you’re the most beneficial. Once you figure that out, the pain point that you should address may seem more obvious. For example, if you pride yourself on productivity in the workplace, you may look for evidence that the department is unable to keep up with their projects. Find the pain point Now that you know how you can best help the team, be on the lookout for how that solves a problem for your potential employer. Keep in mind, this may be a really obvious issue, and you may not have to search very hard to find it—employers may even describe a critical problem somewhere in the job description. While there’s no hard and fast rule to find what is irking your potential manager, you’ll know it when you see it. Use past examples Now that you know what this employer is struggling with and how you’re uniquely equipped to solve it, you need to demonstrate that you’ve solved a problem like this before with a past example. For instance, using the productivity pain point, you might say something like this: “Because I was able to increase productivity X amount in my previous role at Y Company, I know I am ready to take on the challenge of increasing productivity at your organization by streamlining the workflow processes and setting competitive goals.” Make it the focal point As you write your letter, be sure that the pain point and your solution is the main topic of discussion. Keep in mind that it’s not only about simply communicating this information, but doing so convincingly. When the hiring manager finishes reading the letter, they should be left with the impression that you can confidently solve their problem.
13 July 2017
There’s no secret that tax season is a time period that can be most challenging for corporations and individuals alike. Without the right resources in place to tackle the influx of work and added responsibilities, employers risk falling behind. While an increasing number of employers are turning to hiring accounting professionals in temporary or consulting roles to fill the void during busy season, many candidates fail to take advantage of these opportunities available throughout the year. Victoria Lapin, a Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division who specializes in temporary tax assignments, often encounters accounting professionals who have never considered project-based tax work before. “Too often accounting professionals search for full-time opportunities without considering the benefits temporary assignments can bring to their overall employment outlook,” says Victoria. “Since there are a number of tax deadlines throughout the year depending on your specialty area, you can rely on this timeline to search for new assignments more strategically with the organizations that are hiring.” Here are a number of benefits you should take into account before waiting for your next full-time role: The opportunity to get your foot in the door of a great company With the current job market still thriving, as an accounting professional, you should be taking advantage of all of the opportunities available. While you might prefer to endure your job search until you find the perfect full-time opportunity, pursuing temp tax assignments can be exactly what you need to get your foot in the door with a great company. “It would be far more challenging to secure a permanent role at Fortune 100 or 500 company throughout the year by yourself, but targeting temporary tax assignments at the right times can increase your odds of landing an interview with that employer down the road,” recommends Victoria. “Not only do you have the opportunity to work with a great company, but based on your performance, you could be hired for more projects in the future, or even transition into a full-time role.” The exposure to different tax work and software programs As a tax professional, it can be easy to pigeonhole yourself into focusing on one aspect of tax (e.g., high-net worth, fiduciary, partnership, corporate, etc.). “One of the biggest advantages to working in temp tax assignments is the type of exposure you can gain from working with different clients,” says Victoria. For example, if you have experience working with individual tax clients, a temp assignment may present the opportunity to work with high-net worth clientele on a much larger scale, potentially providing you with a more challenging experience. Along similar lines, exposure to different clients may open up more doors to learn different tax software programs. ProSystem, GoSystem, Lacerte, or OneSource are just a few types of software programs you may get the opportunity to learn while on an assignment. “As you complete more assignments, the new skills and programs you learn will make you a more marketable candidate once you’re back on the market,” highlights Victoria. The flexibility to take time off in between projects While it can be great to work with the same employer day in and day out, not all accounting professionals thrive with such a work schedule. As tax seasons are typically accompanied with long hours, getting some much needed rest and relaxation after meeting deadlines can be a great way to keep your mind fresh. “Tax season can be a draining time period, however, as a temporary employee you get the flexibility in scheduling to take time off in between peak deadlines,” says Victoria. Furthermore, if you’re aiming to secure a tax assignment leading up to a specific tax deadline, try getting an early jump on these roles. “An increasing number of employers start building their tax teams as early as the end of November or beginning of December in preparation for the busy season,” says Victoria. With this in mind, the sooner you make the effort to pursue more temporary assignments, the better positioned you may be for long term success.