LEARNING THE ROPES - Accountemps Survey: More than Three in Four CFOs Say Work Experience Important for College Grads

TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2012 /CNW/ - College students take note: Prior work experience may be a requisite for getting your foot in the door with employers, a new Accountemps survey suggests. More than three in four (78 per cent) chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said it is important for entry-level accounting and finance professionals to gain practical experience while in college.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, "How important is it for entry-level accounting and finance professionals to have gained work experience in the field while in college?" Their responses:

    Very important.................................    32%
    Somewhat important.............................    46%
    Somewhat unimportant...........................     5%
    Not at all important...........................     2%
    Don't know/no answer...........................    15%

"Even for entry-level roles, many employers are in search of new hires who can apply their previous experience and contribute to the organisation immediately," said Kathryn Bolt, Canadian president of Accountemps. "Although this may seem like a catch-22, where it's difficult to land a job without experience or gain experience without a job, candidates who have internships or temporary assignments on their resume are more marketable to a prospective company."

Accountemps offers five tips to help students get a head start on their careers while still in school:

    1. Network early and often. Professionals should build their networks at
       school, in summer jobs and through internships. Make a point to stay
       in touch with key advisors and professors. They can be a resource even
       after you graduate.
    2. Be active in student and trade groups. Participating in an industry
       organisation will help you gain visibility and expand your network.
       But don't just join -- look for opportunities to take on leadership
    3. Consider temporary work. Staffing firms often have assignments for
       which students or recent college graduates may be a match. It's a way
       to obtain work experience, meet prospective employers and learn about
       different companies.
    4. Secure an internship. Tap your college career centre to identify
       internships in your field. You'll gain hands-on expertise that will
       look good on your resume.
    5. Volunteer. Helping out a charitable organisation or trade association
       also benefits your career. In particular, look for roles that align
       with your professional goals. For example, if you are an accounting
       major, you could offer to serve as the treasurer for a local nonprofit
       or student group.

About Accountemps

Accountemps has more than 350 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at www.accountemps.com. Follow Accountemps for workplace news at twitter.com/accountemps.

SOURCE Accountemps

For further information: Nadia Santoli (416) 350-2330, nadia.santoli@rhi.com


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