I graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting and did quite well in my classes; however the job market is not very good right now and there are rarely any entry-level positions. Although I do have some experience in basic bookkeeping and general-ledger postings it doesn't seem like that is enough. In all of my interviews I do fine when it comes to transferable skills as I am an assistant bank manager and have leadership and organizational skills. However when it comes to the question "Name some areas in which you used analytical skills" I seem to come to a halt and start stumbling. I would really appreciate any feedback that you could give me on this issue since it seems to be a major drawback in my interviews. I have been to 7 interviews this fall and have heard nothing not even a letter of rejection!!
The Career Doctor responds:
I'm not sure what types of jobs you are currently interviewing for but I am guessing they are accounting-related rather than banking. If that's the case I think it really is critical for you to get a handle on your analytical skills and experiences because I believe these employers may be asking the question as a way to determine your true interest in accounting since you did not go into the field after you graduated college. Job interviewing success is strongly determined by pre-interview preparation. So before you go on any more job interviews please sit down and make an inventory of all your analytical skills and experiences. You'll need to not only say you have the skills but also demonstrate you have them. Once you have this general set down your next step will be to match your skills and experiences to the qualifications an employer seeks in the job description. Nothing works better in job interviews than using the employer's own words to describe your experience — it makes you seem like the perfect fit. To be certain my hunch is correct you could also contact one or more of the people you interviewed with and ask them if they would be willing to give you some honest feedback on your interviewing performance. Not only will this exercise be helpful for future interviews you may impress one or more of them enough that they will consider you again for future openings. (However be prepared not to get anyone to give you feedback; most employers won't for fear of being sued.) Finally as I repeat this advice yet again you CANNOT just sit and wait by the phone expecting employers to call you. You must first send thank-you notes after each interview and then you must follow-up with phone calls to the employer to show your continuing interest and enthusiasm for the job and the employer.