Any help or advice gratefully received!!


I was made redundant a year ago from a non finance job and hoped to use my AAT qualification to begin a career in accountancy or finance. I am, however finding it very difficult to get "a foot in the door" due to my low level of experience.

Before I left my previous job I became Treasurer for a local theatre group on a voluntary basis. I have found this very enjoyable and it has given me some practical experience that I had hitherto lacked. The experience that I have gained has been enough for me to become a full member of the AAT but this has not been enough to get interviews for posts that I have applied for, which is becoming increasingly frustrating.

I have applied for in excess of one hundred jobs but have only received one interview and that was for a role that was largely customer service based with little in the way of accounting. I fully accept that some of the jobs that I applied for were aiming too high but equally I have also applied for Ledger roles, trainee roles and such like and it is jobs like these that I feel I should at least be getting interviews for.

I suspect that part of the problem is that my previous work history all relates to my time working in retail and my CV is rejected as irrelevant to the job I have applied for. However, there is nothing I can do about this as my CV accurately reflects my previous employment. What it doesn't show is that I started studying AAT as I was unhappy at work and wanted to change. Rather than complain about my lot and do nothing, I studied for my AAT qualification, whilst working six days a week. I found it hard going but ultimately it's the achievement I'm most proud of. If only I could get an interview so I can articulate this I feel that it might make a difference as I'd like to think it proves that I'm committed to working in finance (missing out the bit about being unhappy, I'm aware that nobody wants to hear a sob story).

I have given serious thought to starting my own bookkeeping business and whilst this is something I would really like to do, I would prefer to gain at least a couple of years working for someone before becoming my own boss.

If anyone has any hints or tips as to what I can do to increase my chances of gaining employment I'd be very grateful.

Kind Regards
Iain Hay MAAT


  • mwb
    mwb SolihullRegistered Posts: 11
    Hi Iain

    It's a difficult one, but for what it's worth I would suggest the following (and apologies if you are already doing this):

    1. The person specification is a key recruitment document. Make sure you go through it and map your skills and experience against it. Bullet point this so the person shortlisting can clearly see how you match up, and give examples. This would be included in the "Other Information" section of an application form (if there is one).
    2. Use the covering letter or "Other Information" section of the application form to explain why you want to change (ie some of the stuff you mentioned in your OP framed in a positive way)
    3. If the job ad gives a contact you can ring for more information, give them a call and explain about why you want to move into accounting. Ask them what they are looking for. If it is the same person who is shortlisting they will remember you and it might get you an interview.
    4. Ask for feedback - if you have met all the essential / desirable criteria as per the person spec then you should in theory expect to be interviewed. (Of course they can always find a way round this, but you might get some useful feedback).

    Hope you find something.

  • MarieNoelle
    MarieNoelle Trusted Regular Hampshire/Surrey borderModerator, MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,433
    Hi Iain,
    It seems that although you have a lot of experience, it may not show on your CV as relevant to the jobs you apply for.

    You may want to rewrite your CV as "skills based" rather than a history of your past employment. For some examples you could try a targeted CV format.

    Have you also tried speculative applications rather than responding to a recruitment advert? This is how I landed my first job in an accountancy practice after a career change.

    It's also worth registering with a few specialised recruitment agencies, meet them or speak to them over the phone and explain your situation and goals.

    Finally, update your LinkedIn profile to get noticed. It does work.

  • IainMAAT
    IainMAAT Registered Posts: 5
    Thanks for your replies, you have definitely given me some new ideas. I'm looking forward to trying them out and seeing what difference they make.

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