I will be graduating with my Master’s in Accounting in the next eight weeks, however, I have no experience that can get me in the door of any company. I also have a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management, but again, I have never worked in the field. I am not sure how to market myself in order to get into my career field. How do I write an effective resume that can get me a running start in my field?
Hi Kymeiko -
First, congratulations on the near completion of your Master’s in Accounting! Earning a graduate degree is quite an accomplishment!
Now – what are you going to do with that degree? One of the statements in your question to me was very important:
I am not sure how to market myself in order to get into my career field.
How you address that issue will be key to how you answer your primary question.
Basically – what is your career field?
You are completing a graduate degree in accounting. Do you wish to be an accountant? If so, are you preparing to take the CPA exam? If so, when? If not, why not and what do you wish to do in accounting without a CPA?
You have an undergraduate degree in business with a focus on human resources. Do you wish to work in human resources? If so, in what area(s)?
While both of your degrees are in business, they are both in different fields.
The Good News
A degree in accounting is a very tangible and professionally relevant degree, and there is nearly always a need for accountants and accounting support everywhere. Accounting is a field with very clear and universally accepted standards and credentials, and most accounting curricula translate very well to the work place. That is, the courses you took at the university probably prepared you well to enter the workplace.
The Bad News
Candidates with some experience nearly always have an advantage over those with no experience. Understand that your lack of direct experience is probably going to impact the level and types of positions for which you will be competitive and the level of compensation you can expect.
What kind of resume should you prepare?
First, talk to the advisers in your University’s career services office. They will have advice and may have some examples for you to consider.
Your resume should be a targeted documents that focuses on the aspects of your education, experience, skills and qualities that are important to prospective employers. So, if you are interested in pursuing a career in accounting, you should focus on your accounting qualifications in your resume.
What about your lack of experience?
You have two degrees, so the question of experience is going to come up in interviews. You have to be prepared for it. Your answer has to be truthful, authentic and relevant, which means your answer is unique to you. There is not a stock answer you can offer.
So, what is your story?
Did you complete your degrees while working full-time or part-time in other fields to pay your way through school, thus preventing you from being able to do an internship or gain other kinds of directly relevant experience?
Did you choose to focus only on classwork and consciously decide not to to internships or get other directly relevant work experience while completing your degree?
I will bet that your response is somewhere in between those two extremes. I’ll further bet that you do have some experience, and that some of that experience is directly relevant to one or both of your degrees.
Accounting is a very hands-on curriculum. You don’t just study the practice of accounting, you learn how to do it, ao you probably have taken some very hands-on classes that have given you direct experience in the field. Experience that will help qualify you for entry-level positions in accounting. If you have held jobs in other fields, you do have workplace experience; and workplace experience of any kind is better than no experience at all.
I’ve responded to a similar question in the past:
I recommend you review that post also, as it offers some good advice relevant to your situation.
Hope this helps.