As a leading global financial hub, Singapore’s accounting and finance industries continue to flourish. Numerous accounting firms are constantly on the lookout for talents to hire as accountants, auditors, and analysts. Recent Jobs Transformation Maps (JTM) studies even projected a demand for 6,000 to 7,000 new accounting jobs by 2025.
While there is a high demand for accounting professionals in the Lion City, finding an accounting job is not easy. Aside from the stiff competition, nearly all companies prefer candidates with experience. That’s why it’s best for new and soon-to-be graduates to apply for an accounting internship to jumpstart their careers.
By getting an internship, you can develop your knowledge and skills, build a professional network and earn the necessary experience to get ahead of the competition. It can also open doors of opportunity if you commit and do your part well. Landing an accounting internship isn’t easy, but with preparation and a willingness to invest time and effort, you can boost your chances of getting into an excellent programme. Here are four initiatives that can set you apart and put you ahead of other accounting job candidates:
Build Your Skills
Show potential employers that you take the internship seriously by continuously enhancing your skills, even after earning your degree. If you’re a Singaporean aged 25 or above, consider taking one or more accounting-relevant Skills Future courses using your subsidy to build your accounting competencies. Besides taking accounting and financial classes, below are other ways you can develop soft and hard skills and beef up your credentials:
- Join accounting organisations and associations like the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants to help you stay current with the changes in the field, enhance industry knowledge and learn from experts;
- Find an experienced accounting mentor so you can learn how to apply theories into practice and get credible career advice;
- Attend accounting workshops and conferences;
- Do volunteer work for charitable and community organisations where you can develop essential skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, socialisation and communication.
Craft an Accounting-Specific Resume
Make sure your application stands out from the rest of the candidates by creating a well-crafted resume that clearly shows you’re the perfect fit for the accounting internship position. If you need guidance in crafting a solid resume, consider the following tips:
- Be concise. Hiring managers often spend just a few seconds on every resume as they usually receive countless applications. That’s why you should keep your resume brief and readable. Focus on relevant experiences and details so that hiring managers can readily get the gist of your qualifications, even in a quick scan.
- Let your accounting experiences shine. When writing about your work experiences, remember to highlight any accounting-related soft and hard skills you’ve developed to demonstrate your abilities. Use specific examples to make your resume more unique and engaging.
- Mention accomplishments. Aside from detailing your educational credentials and accounting skills, consider emphasising the significant results you’ve achieved because of your accounting know-how and background. Use figures and percentages to make them stand out.
Don’t wait for internship opportunities to find you. Instead, find ways to get into an internship programme with a reputable accounting firm that will provide you with solid accounting experience. Talk to your professors, join career fairs or look for internship opportunities online. If you have a dream organisation, don’t hesitate to contact their hiring managers directly to inquire and apply.
Once you have a short list of potential employers, make sure to send your application early to boost your chances of landing an interview. And while you wait for calls, don’t just sit back and relax. Polish your interview skills, enhance your resume and continue building your credentials. Perhaps you can start a blog, create social media content related to accounting and finance or find accounting-related volunteering opportunities. All these things will build your network and skills, improve your resume and help potential employers recognise your passion and drive.
When you secure an interview, give it all you’ve got. After all, this may be your only chance to “market” yourself and create a great impression. As such, you may want to perform your due diligence and come to the interview well-prepared. For starters, you can research the company to better understand the business and see how you can fit in and contribute. By knowing the firm’s ins and outs, you can make your interview answers more relevant and impress the hiring manager.
You may also want to practice answering questions. Look for sample interview questions and answers online and learn how to articulate your points more effectively. You’ll probably be nervous during the interview, so a lot of practice can help ease your nerves. When choosing an interview outfit, make sure to dress the part. Remember that it’s better to be slightly overdressed in professional attire than to look sloppy wearing casual clothes—even if the interview is through video conferencing. Lastly, be confident and strive to put your best foot forward.
Landing an accounting internship can be challenging. You need to invest significant time and effort to get noticed by potential employers and stand out from the competition. You may even experience a few rejections before getting into your desired internship programme. But if you maintain a positive attitude, continue building your skills and persevere, you’ll gain valuable lessons and develop traits that can land you an internship position and help jumpstart your accounting career.