Fund Accountant - The Citco Group of Companies
How a Master-degree graduate with little Canadian work experience kick-starts her professional accounting career in Toronto.
T. Nguyen is an international student and she completed her Bachelor Degree in Accounting and Finance at University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.
She then came to Canada to study for her Master of Management in International Accounting and Finance at University of Windsor. She is determined to pursue the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.
Our QuickStart Program helps T. secure a Fund Accountant position at Citco Group of Companies. Check out her full success story below.
“She graduated and she got stuck in a very common and uncomfortable position: she has a Master degree with little work experience in Canada and most potential employers prefer a candidate to have some sort of Canadian work experience for mid-level roles….
The idea of lowering job expectation to compete with college graduates might not work either as she might be considered over-qualified for entry-level positions. Thus, her job-hunting journey is a very time-consuming, energy-draining and discouraging process with no interview….”
We learned from the resume that she did some seasonal volunteering work such as tax prepare staff and warehouse assistant. This experience was unfortunately not enough to compete in such a competitive Toronto job market. Skimming through her resume, we also realized she had 8-month of accounting experience in Vietnam for a multi-national service company. So this relevant accounting experience seemed to be the biggest asset she had, the question was how we could maximize her foreign work experience to demonstrate her skills.
We started with a comprehensive assessment to identify her strengths and weaknesses.
Based on that, we designed a one-on-one personalized action plan with all necessary training that fits right into her situation (resume, communication skill, winning interview mindset, Database Method interview training for ESL candidate, industry knowledge, self-confidence). Our training managers, who are corporate professional with years of experience in the industry, spent a lot of time on identifying and unlocking her potential value by training her on the communication skills and professionalism.
We worked relentlessly to craft attractive stories based on her work experience in Vietnam. We strongly believed that if she presented her foreign experience in a professional and interesting manner, she would be able to narrow the gap of “Canadian vs. Foreign” experience.
We made sure she could present her experience in the best light possible to demonstrate her capabilities. We ran a lot of mock interviews to ensure she mastered the story-telling technique to handle all interview questions with confidence.
Through these activities, we got a deeper understanding of her skills, her strengths and her unique work/school achievements. We converted this insight into a unique personalized winning resume that set her apart from other general resumes and actually landed her job interviews. With a professional resume, we worked with her on job applications to make sure we applied for jobs that were suitable to her profile and career goal, instead of wasting time on unsuitable jobs.
T. had her 1st professional interview for a General Accountant position at a medium-size firm which was a wholesale beverage distributor. She passed the phone interview and we were confident to move on to the 2nd round of interview with the hiring manager. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it and we had no job offer. It was emotional and disappointing as we had worked so hard for weeks and it seemed like the world was falling apart.
It was totally understandable all the pressure she might have felt during the interview. We discussed in details about the interview so that we all could learn from it and improve . We detected certain problems from eye contact to how to handle surprise questions and our training team designed specific solutions which focused extensively to solve those problems. We maintained a positive attitude and we propped up her self-confidence. We believed this was not a failure and it was simply a learning experience, nothing worth doing came easy. T.’s hard-working attitude and determination was amazing as well. Together, we fixed those issues and ready for the next interview.
Her 2nd interview was with CITCO for the Fund Accountant position. T. passed the phone interview as expected. For the in-person interview, it was a tough 2-hour multiple interviews including a technical knowledge (accounting) test. This time, as she was more experienced and her interview skills were improved dramatically through practice as well as real-world exposure, she presented her foreign work experience with great confidence and her story-telling ability enabled her to outperform other candidates who had more Canadian work experience. She received a job offer and hard work paid off eventually!
“I am impressed with their knowledge in accounting and finance field, as well as their communication skill and critical thinking which help me learn a lot and improve my interview skill.”
T. Nguyen – Fund Accountant – Citco