If you have a knack for putting finances together and organizing money, you can turn that passion into a career. Accountants work to help businesses and individuals with a variety of financial issues, making it a very lucrative job if you get in with the right clients. Are you interested in an accounting career? Then follow these tips to get started on the right track.
Plan Your College Path In Advance
Some jobs ask for broad skills, and having specific training or certifications isn’t necessary. But not accounting. Accounting requires certain coursework and—often times—a specific degree. That means you can’t get away with filling your class schedule with PE courses or liberal arts credits. Instead, you’ll want to load up on math, accounting, and finance courses.
As you put together your class schedule, think ahead about whether you’re interested in becoming a CPA or a CMA. CPA’s typically work with individuals, while CMA’s work more with businesses and companies. Having a better idea of which area you’d like to work in will help you plan your ideal educational path.
Get a Job or Internship
Your accounting coursework isn’t going to be a cakewalk. But you need to accept this scholastic challenge and take it to the next level—with a job or internship. Bolster your schoolwork with an outside job that gives you hands-on experience in the accounting field. Consider working at a bank, working as an entry-level bookkeeper, or any other beginner position that will help you get in with a company and learn the ropes.
Once you secure a part-time job, try your best to make a lasting impression and soak up as much information as possible. Not only can you use the company as a resource when you’re ready to look for a full-time job, but you may even be able land a higher-paying job with the same company once your graduate. Plus, absorbing “real-world” information will allow you to hit the ground running once you find a stable job as an accountant.
While you’re in school, keep an eye out for the important test dates—like your CPA exam—that will potentially determine your future. After all, if you fail your exams, all of your hard work and effort will be put on hold until you get another chance. So treat these tests like a job interview, and study—then study some more.
Once you pass your certifications, you can start applying for work. You can also take a moment to breathe a huge sigh of relief and congratulate yourself, because those tests are a huge part of becoming an accountant.
Build Your Resume
And lastly, the final step of getting a job as an accountant: building a resume that really promotes who you are. All of the work and effort you’ve put in—including internships, part-time jobs, classes, certifications, and more—can be put on display on your resume. Employers form their first impression of you based on your resume, so it needs to stand out from the other applicants.