Fed Up of Being Out of Work?

New survey reveals an uptick in job hires. Experts provide tips on how you can cash in.

January 23, 2012
by Sukanya Mitra

It’s a new year full of new resolutions and a new job can’t be far behind. While one in three (36 percent) of businesses expects to hire contract and temporary workers in 2012, more than one in four (27 percent) expects to recruit temporary or contractual workers very soon, according to a CareerBuilder/Harris Poll (PDF) released earlier this month.

Eric Gilpin, president of CareerBuilder’s Staffing & Recruiting Group, sees temporary jobs “playing an increasingly important role in the economic recovery,” and noted that many of these positions do indeed become permanent ones.

Small businesses are the key driving force behind the hiring trend with 36 percent (of businesses with 250 or fewer employees) expecting to hire full-time permanent staff. HR managers predicted that the greatest salary increases would be seen by salespeople and other positions that are tied to revenue generation, with accounting and finance rounding out the top five.

What does this mean for CPAs and accountants looking for jobs?

“First, decide if you’re just looking to pay the bills or use the temporary position as an entry to a permanent position with a future,” said John Hudson, CPA, president, Hudson Consulting Group. “Next, start trolling websites like AICPA’s online career center that handle both full-time and temporary professional positions as they are a good source for job leads. Finally, check with brick-and-mortar organizations like Robert Half or Accountemps, which handle lots of temporary as well as full-time professional positions.”

As you tap into your professional and personal network, it is also a good time to dust off that old résumé and update it. “Quantify your achievements and create a personal ROI,” recommended Brett Good, senior district manager at Robert Half International. “For example, highlight how much money you saved an employer or by how much time you reduced a reporting procedure. Also feature your accomplishments that highlight in-demand skills and knowledge, such as proficiency with the latest reporting or ERP [enterprise resource planning] software packages or international tax expertise.”

And for those of you who have been either out of the workforce completely or have been staying afloat by working odd jobs for over a year, all is not lost.

“Look for opportunities to take on a greater role with local professional associations,” suggested Good. “Instead of simply joining, look for a leadership role or offer to give presentations on your area of expertise that would benefit the other members. You’ll build your connections, enhance your visibility and expand your network.”

Volunteering your services is also an ideal way to brush up on your accounting skills. Working as a bookkeeper at your local church or for your child’s sports league can help keep your accounting skills sharp, said Good. “Similarly, if you are involved with a nonprofit organization, you could volunteer to help with the budget work,” he added.

Temp jobs are no longer the dead-end jobs of yore. As Hudson said, “If a CPA has been out of work for an extended period of time, they should look into the opportunities offered for temporary professional jobs. Today many organizations use temporary jobs to hire people on a probationary basis and evaluate their potential as a full-time employee before a permanent offer is extended.”

Make this Chinese Year of the Dragon a fulfilling one. With busy season around the corner, many small to mid-sized CPA firms will be looking to hire temporary staff.

As Good pointed out, “Temporary and project work are two great ways to start building up your résumé. It will provide you access to different types of projects, allowing you to enhance your skills and meet key contacts in the process.”

Don’t be left out in the cold. Use the above tips to ensure you’re up and running at your new job.

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Sukanya Mitra is managing editor of the AICPA Insider™ e-newsletter group.