Date posted: 06/03/2019

5 useful resources for savvy students

Become a student affiliate

Discover the accounting and finance world by signing up as a Chartered Accountants ANZ Student Affiliate. It’s free and just takes a few minutes.

Sign Up NowAbout Become a student affiliate

Getting your hands on helpful resources and reference materials can give you a unique edge over your peers. If you're feeling generous, you could even share these secrets with your friends to help them along.

1. Build the perfect CV

A recent survey found that 76 per cent of people find writing their resume to be more stressful than doing their taxes1. Hardened jobseekers and exasperated employers alike will know that there is a subtle art to creating the perfect resume - and it's easy to miss the mark entirely. An illegible font or an obvious typo could land you at the bottom of the pile quicker than you can say, "But I was among the top ten per cent of my class!".

There are plenty of online tools that can help you create your professional CV and quickly. Online resume builders are designed by experts, meaning that you can get access to professional design templates and tailored career guidance simply by clicking a link.

And the best part? You can skip the stress of formatting and just fill in the blanks for a professional resume in minutes. Combining your talent and achievements with an effective resume builder will land you one step closer to impressing your dream employer.

CV Builder Tile

2. Consult a career guide

Online career guides are the go-to tool for job searching online. Designed to provide students with the best possible shot at postgraduate employment, you can access a number of job portals in a single click.

However, not all career guides are created equal, so be sure to choose a guide that is updated constantly and consistently. It's also critical to select one specifically designed with university graduates from your chosen field in mind, so that you're only reading relevant employment advice. Try filtering by sector, company or location - you don't want to land what you think is the perfect job, only to find that it's based out in Woop Woop with no travel allowance.

Kickstarting your career can be challenging, which is why comprehensive employment portals also often provide free career advice and guidance.

Take full advantage of this advice to give yourself the best possible shot at impressing throughout the recruitment process. You'd be amazed by the small details which can make the difference to your job search success.

If you are searching the accounting, business and finance space then you'll want to consider trying out the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Careers Guide.

3. Join a student society

When your nose is in a textbook - or let's face it, a laptop - for hours each day, developing a social life can slip to the bottom of your university to-do list. Joining a student society can be a great way to mix with new people while giving your future self a leg up when you start applying for jobs in a competitive market.

In the last decade, there's been a shift away from recruiting based solely on academic performance - employers are now looking for well-rounded graduates who participated in campus life2. Taking on a leadership role in a society or union is a big step towards making your application memorable; you'll pick up an array of skills from event planning to fundraising and demonstrate the diversity of your interests.

Even if you're too busy to take on an administrative role, just joining a student society shows that you're a well-rounded team player. With over 320,000 Australian domestic students3 and 43,000 New Zealand students graduating each year4, it's vital to have an edge over the competition when it comes to job seeking.

The last thing you want is to be down to the last two candidates for your dream job, only to find that your opponent was gaining traction at the Accounting Society for years while you stayed home watching Netflix.

Check out what kind of societies you can join here.

Student societies 

4. Knowing your network

In the age of LinkedIn, Facebook and smartphones, it's tempting to fall into the trap of doing all your networking online. Meeting people face-to-face in real life is a crucial skill to have, but it's one that is falling by the wayside.

Check out Michael Bellemore's best practice guide to networking events.

Michael recommends starting with the basics of presenting yourself well. Hold you drink your left hand, leaving your right hand free (and dry) to shake people's hands. Wear your nametag on the right side of your chest as it will naturally present itself to someone as you shake their left hand with a firm grip.

Master the art of the polite exit and be careful not to spend too much time with one person, or get stuck telling your life story. The best time to end a conversation is just after you've learned enough about the person you're speaking with to judge whether they will be a good addition to your professional network. It's great if you know their name, job and goals.

Setting yourself small, achievable goals - like meeting three new people at each event - can help you to grow your network gradually with meaningful connections.

5. Select a specialty

If you go to a café and say, "I want a sandwich", you're going to be asked a lot of specific questions so that the kitchen can make you the exact sandwich you've been dreaming of. Likewise, you can't just say "I'm an accountant," and expect employers to fall all over themselves to employ you.

There are literally dozens of career paths for accounting students, so choosing a specialisation can be a tricky business. But a little bit of research can go a long way, so take some time to delve into your service line options.

For instance, if you genuinely enjoy critical thought and weighing pros and cons, then perhaps your dream job is to become a business advisor, where you'll help guide companies towards becoming more efficient.

People who fancy themselves a bit of a Sherlock Holmes should look into forensic accounting - it's a great way for nerdy types to help catch the bad guys (sort of).

A proactive, methodical and trustworthy student could be the perfect candidate to become an auditor, while corporate finance is a perfect fit for those who want to contribute to make-or-break business decisions.

There's a best fit career path out there for everyone - it's just about knowing where to look. Don't know where to start? You can learn more about the different accounting specialisations here.