Quick and Quintessential Career & Job Tips
Job-hunting tips from the September 24, 2007 issue of QuintZine.
Do employers care what college you go to? In the accounting field at least, some do, some don’t, according to a recent study by Accountemps, a specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals.
The university a new accounting graduate attended can catch an employer’s attention, but it may not guarantee a job offer. Chief financial officers (CFOs) polled were split regarding how much weight the prestige of a candidate’s alma mater should be given in hiring decisions. Fifty-one percent of respondents felt the stature of an institution was very important or somewhat important, whereas 49 percent said it was not important at all.
The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.
CFOs were asked, “When evaluating an entry-level accounting or finance job candidate, how important is the prestige of the university the person attended?” Their responses:
“Because many entry-level candidates have little professional experience, hiring managers often consider non-work-related factors, such as the quality of the applicant’s formal education,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. “But learning extends beyond the classroom — valuable skills and knowledge also are gained through extracurricular activities, internships and jobs held during college.”
“Communication skills have topped the list for eight years, and honesty and integrity have tied for the top spot for the last three years,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.
But the ideal candidate needs to be more than an articulate straight arrow, according to the survey results. Employers also cited strong interpersonal skills, motivation and initiative, the ability to work well with others, and a strong work ethic as key attributes. (Each earned a rating of 4.5 or better on a 5-point scale, where 1 is not important and 5 is extremely important.)
An do consider obtaining internship and/or work experience while in school. Nearly three-quarters of employers responding to the survey indicated they prefer to hire new college graduates who have gained relevant work experience.
The national polls include responses from 150 senior executives — including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments — with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies. They were conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Accountemps.
Executives were asked, “If you were a college student today and wanted to prepare for future business success, which one of the following would you study?”
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