Finding a job with no experience??

DannyT90 AAT Student, AATQB Posts: 159
I am currently studying for my level 2 in accounting and I am looking ahead for when I achieve the qualification. This is a career change for me so I don't have any office/finance experience.
Potential jobs like accounts assistant all want experience as we all know.
I am in the process of becoming a treasurer but as for paid positions, is it worth me getting a job as an admin assistant and work my way up as I gain my qualifications?
Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Best Answers


  • DannyT90
    DannyT90 AAT Student, AATQB Posts: 159
    Thank you for the feedback. One of my main concerns is forgetting stuff that I have learnt and so I thought an admin job would Atleast keep me in the loop with things.
    Did you find it hard as you progressed to remember things you had learnt in level 2?
  • DannyT90
    DannyT90 AAT Student, AATQB Posts: 159
    Yeah I did level 1 and straight onto level 2, which I have my Bookkeeping controls Exam next Thursday. I plan to do Level 3 straight after.

    Thanks for your help, I appreciate it.
  • kbates
    kbates Registered Posts: 4
    Have you thought about looking into an apprenticeship? I studied level 2 and 3 and then got an apprenticeship with a local accountancy firm to study level 4. I would say that it's definitely worth looking into! It's been great the get on-the-job experience and also having support with studying too.
  • DannyT90
    DannyT90 AAT Student, AATQB Posts: 159
    Isn't apprenticeship quite low pay? I've got a lot of outlay, so can't really take a low paid position.

    What was you doing while you did Level 2 and 3, work wise?
  • kbates
    kbates Registered Posts: 4
    I had an admin role whilst studying level 2 and 3, which was also very low paid. The apprenticeship is fairly low pay, but is actually slightly more than I was on when I was in an admin role. Plus it saves me the cost of the qualification. Most accountancy firms take on apprentices at a higher rate than the 'standard' government apprenticeships.
  • Bertie
    Bertie Registered Posts: 376
    Best move is to look for, or hope to secure a job which pays minimum wage.

    I'd imagine that most adult, older learners would not be able to earn that of an apprentice.

    Keep applying for jobs - write to every business in your area.

    Most jobs advertised are filled before the position is posted online -

    It's a backside covering exercise.
  • DannyT90
    DannyT90 AAT Student, AATQB Posts: 159
    What I have been doing is emailing places for me to job shadow or do some voluntary work and I've been luckily enough to get an opportunity at one place to shadow a bookkeeper next week.
    I think like anything, once you have the opportunity to try some accountancy work in practice, then it gives you a better insight to whether you need to learn more or are capable of doing it.
    I just don't want to 'run before I can walk'!
  • Bertie
    Bertie Registered Posts: 376
    Excellent news - I hope it goes well for you.

    What I'd do is print some CVs onto some decent weighted paper, try to find out who is head of finance, lead accountant etc then personally address the letter to them, with a stamp - not a click of a button.

    It is so impersonal to send an email, where is the effort? It would take five minutes to BCC every accountancy practice within a fifteen mile radius of my home - guess what, everybody will be doing the same.

    You have to think differently to stick out.

    BTW, I send emails :)

    But the point is valid.

  • Tess1
    Tess1 Registered Posts: 4
    Hi All
    Im also intersted in the idea of a career change into Accounts. Who has been able to successfully get into Accounting late in life? Im a bit held back by the age issue. It would be intersteing to hear from any who had done a different job before getting into Accounts.
  • Nelson89
    Nelson89 Registered Posts: 6
    Hi Tess1.

    I've recently changed careers and have found the switch over extremely satisfying. I was very apprehensive about coming into a job which is office based, but its the best decision i have made. I was very lucky that the minute i started looking for a job i had an offer of 2 interviews which were on the same day and was offered a job in my 2nd interview there and then. I don't believe in luck and all that as i believe whats meant to be is meant to be, though I highly recommend getting signed up to an accounts/finance agency who helped me a lot and made the transition from my previous job really smooth.
  • DannyT90
    DannyT90 AAT Student, AATQB Posts: 159
    Was your previous job office based too? Because I'm finding even though I have what they are looking for, the fact I don't have office experience goes against me straight away.
  • Tess1
    Tess1 Registered Posts: 4
    Thank you Nelson for sharing your experiences. This is the kind of input we need to get a good idea of how people are going through different situations to get to where they want to be. I encourage others who went through similar circumstances to share them with us.
  • Bertie
    Bertie Registered Posts: 376
    Are you all older learners?

    When I say 'older' I do mean outside the scope of an apprenticeship.
  • DannyT90
    DannyT90 AAT Student, AATQB Posts: 159
    I'm 26 yet have bills and rent to pay so can't afford an apprenticeships wage.

    I'm focusing on getting my level 2 and I have 2 voluntary treasurer roles to gain experience from so going to focus on that.
  • Nelson89
    Nelson89 Registered Posts: 6
    Hi all. I wasnt office based in my previous job I played football professionally and decided whilst I was doing this I'd study AAT. Like I said earlier coming away from that is the best decision I have made as surprising as that may sound. Whilst I am still able to play to a decent standard and start my career off in accounting I get the best of both worlds. I really couldn't of landed a better role or company to be honest, I've landed on my feet. I'm involved with every aspect of the accounting department from sales to purchasing to the management accounts. Though I'm nowhere near confident enough to do all this my manager has thrown me in at the deep and is extremely supportive whenever I need him. Sometimes you have to break away from your comfort zone and just "give it a go" the risks will always be there but if you're determined I believe you can achieve your goals! Financially I am extremely worse off but rather than wait a few years I wanted to take the hit now in the hope that in a few years time my wages will have increased with experience etc! That's the plan anyway lol!
  • Bertie
    Bertie Registered Posts: 376

    Join your local AAT branch - networking is massively powerful.
    Write tangible letters to local businesses - decent paper and stationery.
    Search for part-time charity roles (One night a week, or weekends)
    Create a Linkedin account - again, network.
    Visit, don't email, all local finance agencies - keep showing your face.
    Apply for all finance jobs which advertise a salary of under £20K.
    Relate every job you've ever had to accountancy. Transferable skills is key.
    Use the AAT free Excel resources found within your 'MyAAT (Excel is a biggie)
    Ask someone to proof read your CV and covering letter.

    You'll probably apply for about 200 jobs.

    Don't give up.

  • li22
    li22 Registered Posts: 9
    edited May 2017
    Sorry didn't see this was dead thread!

    @DannyT90 I am in a similar position to you and here is my advice:

    * Personalise every cover letter to the job role and company.

    * Excel courses, constant free CPD.

    * Apply to agencies. Temporary work is good experience on paper.

    * Use your Statement of Achievement as proof of your progression. This can be found on myAAT.

    * In your C.V., refer to the tranferrable skills applicable to the job you are applying for even if the job is not comparable to the position. (Example; kitchen work - working to deadlines, under pressure etc)

    * Look for 'study support' jobs on sites like Reed. They will pay for your course and help you progress

    * Know your worth, sell yourself. If you pass AAT level 2, now known as Foundation, my tutor says you should be looking at 18-20k outside of London.

    * Look for a job based on your strengths.
  • broadstairs
    broadstairs Registered Posts: 5
    Thanks, I will add theses ideas to my list of things to do...
    GONZALITARIAN Registered Posts: 1
    Hi guys.... All information you have posted is very useful.

    I am in the same position, finishing AAT Level 2 probably by the end of this summer.

    In most of job applications there are prerequisites such as GCSEs and Level A courses....

    Would you say that I got any luck getting successful in any of these applications, given
    my CV is including AAT Qualifications plus some others I got, plus my
    accounting job experience which is long but in another country (Greece).

    And what kind of jobs should I search for.

    Thanks in advance.
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