How To Get Into Accounting and Finance


In this new blog from Career Savvy, the team look at how to get into Accounting and Finance.

Whether it’s banking, accountancy, insurance or pensions, there is always scope in the financial services sector. As long as the UK is making and spending money, people will be required to manage it, plan how to use it and identify the best uses for it.

Finance attracts school-leavers and graduates from a range of different backgrounds. Graduates studying accounting or business studies (the most popular degree subjects in the UK) are often drawn to finance roles. There are also lots of opportunities for maths graduates and those with scientific backgrounds – due to the amount of maths involved in their degrees. Lots of large companies in the UK also employ school-leavers as apprentices and trainees – working towards qualifications combined with workplace training.

Why finance?

Despite having its ups and downs, the finance sector has always remained fairly vast. This is because its services are required and used by every type of business, as well as individuals. As a result, there will always be room for teams and organisations to grow – especially as the economy is beginning to pick up.

Graduate salaries in finance roles boast some of the highest levels there are – especially in London and corporate finance positions. Consequently, competition for jobs is high as lots of graduates go for the same vacancies. For the top graduate programmes, Monster reported roughly fifty applications received per vacancy. Graduate salaries can start from £24K, depending on the location.

A big pull factor into the finance world is that it can boast good prospects for career development. Although it can be competitive to get into, the sector is so broad that there is a lot of scope for movement and promotion. Employers that take on apprentices or graduates through schemes want the staff they invest in to become assets for the company and to become the future business leaders.


Chartered accountants work for clients – organisations or private customers – to provide a range of services. It includes managing payrolls, devising budgets, creating reports on expenditure and handling client relationships. It can also involve analysis of proposed business plans and elements of financial planning, forecasting and risk analysis. After obtaining a degree, you’ll have to train to qualify as an accountant, which takes about three years. Your degree doesn’t have to be relevant to finance or business, but you’ll need to demonstrate a solid academic record. There are different ways to train to become an accountant, so have a look at some here.

Working in banking will generally see you specialise in a certain area, such as mortgages, corporate finance, investment banking, etc. There are many different roles within banking that can see you taking on varying tasks which include researching, trading and analysis. Corporate and investment banking offer the highest salaries – not just in the finance sector, but across all sectors. The banking world can involve long hours that exceed your typical nine to five, but the rewards and progression can be significantly higher compared to other sectors. For more information, see the Investment Management Association website.

For the majority of roles in the finance sector, you’ll need to be pretty nifty with numbers. Many of the tasks involve a lot of calculation, as well as data management and the presentation of this data (think graphs and charts). Data analysis is also required, so you would need to be able to identify changes, averages and erroneous information in order to provide accurate reports.

Successful employees in the finance sector are the ones that put in time and effort to ensure their work is accurate. This is hugely important in finance as mistakes can not only look unprofessional, but also lead to the wrong business decisions being made. If you make sure your work is correct every time, you could be a good match for this sector.

Interpersonal Skills
A great deal of finance roles include interfacing with clients. As well as managing the accounts and finances, you will need to manage the relationship with the client or customer, ensuring that you provide an exceptional service and are a good ambassador for the company.

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Nail Your Literacy and Numeracy Skills


In this new blog from Career Savvy, the team look at how to nail those all important literacy and numeracy skills.

While everyone has their own unique skills and abilities, to become employable, most roles still require you to possess a sufficient level of literacy and numeracy to be able to perform tasks associated with the job. This can include admin, IT, writing and keeping records, cash handling and much more. So where do you go to receive the best help with your literacy and numeracy skills and make sure you are as ready for the workplace as you can be?


If you struggle with maths skills, this isn’t something that comes to light during the hiring process as clearly as written skills do. However, lots of companies now ask their candidates to complete competency-based questions, which can include assessing your numeracy skills.

Maths is the type of skill that easily ebbs away if you don’t practise it enough. You may have been competent at maths in school but your memory of most of it has since deteriorated. Brain training games or online tests are good ways of keeping the numbers side of your brain ticking over.

If you really resent maths (and you’re not alone!) it’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily need to re-learn ALL of it. For example, for a retail job, you should prioritise knowing percentages over things like trigonometry.

Seeking help is a fine technique to get you through. In the interest of presenting your weaknesses with a positive spin, make sure you can admit to needing help rather than silently struggling. For example, if you’re asked about your maths ability in an interview, give an honest answer but finish by stating that you always ask someone to double check your work. They will appreciate someone who identifies their weaknesses and makes an effort to work on them, as opposed to someone who makes claims that they cannot deliver on.

If you really feel that you’re starting from the beginning when it comes to revising maths, consider an online course or evening classes. For more information on these, have a look at the website.


Written skills come into play in a variety of jobs. Most correspondence in the workplace these days is done via email, meaning that written communication is still very important. It is also an aspect of your job application that will be assessed. Here are some ways of improving your written skills:

Ask a friend or colleague to check over your work. Don’t send off a CV or cover letter without it being proofread first – whether you struggle with writing or not.

Practice makes perfect, and writing is no different. Becoming well-rehearsed in the written word is a great way of improving your skills. You will develop a feel for certain phrases and begin to find structuring a sentence or paragraph comes a lot more naturally.

Reading is a key ingredient in the making of a good writer. Absorbing the written word every day means that you subconsciously take it in and become more familiar with it. It’s not an overnight fix, but it certainly works!

Using a template can help you when writing a range of documents. From CVs and cover letters to emails, it can assist you a great deal as you don’t have to start from scratch each time. Examples of CVs and templates can be found in places such as the National Careers Service website (Also check out our article on CV Formats.). Have you ever received a formal, well-worded email? If so, you can use this as a template to create your own, changing the necessary details and putting your own spin on it.

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Squeezing in Exercise Around Your Hectic Life


In this new blog from Career Savvy, the team look at ways to fit exercise into your hectic, working life.

The reasons for getting more exercise couldn’t be more important. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer by up to 50%, as well as improving your life expectancy. While it can be difficult to get enough of it, it should be a higher priority in many people’s lives. So how can you make sure you fit in that all important workout around your job?

In the morning

You might find that you spend a bit of time in the morning travelling, watching Good Morning Britain or sleeping until the snooze button cannot buy you any more time. If you struggle to fit in exercise in the evening, making the effort first thing could be a great idea. Most gyms open as early as 6am and classes often run as early as 7am – a great time to go as it’ll be much quieter. Alternatively, schedule in exercise by walking or cycling to work instead.


Sometimes it’s all too easy to make excuses not to work out. It’s raining, you’ve got a bit of a cold, you stubbed your foot on the doorway this morning and you don’t want to risk damaging it further. If that sounds familiar, a good way to motivate yourself to exercise is to make some sort of commitment to it. This could be paying for gym classes ahead of time, or getting a dog that will need walking every day. Either way, when you have to make the effort, you’ll end up fitting your life around exercise, rather than the other way around.

Plan Ahead

If you don’t have a standard daily routine or cannot always rely on having the same spot free, a regular class will not necessarily suit you. For many, fitting in exercise whenever they can is the only option. If this is the case, make a plan at the start of every week of what you hope to achieve. This could be to visit the gym at least three times a week, or run for thirty minutes each day. Setting yourself targets will give you something to aim for, which means you can gradually raise the bar as you see your fitness levels improve.

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CV-Library Triumphs with 94% Success in Customer Service Poll

CV-Library’s Client Response Coordinators form a vital part of the job board’s business offering. The twenty strong CRC team is the highly valuable customer care unit which keeps client relationships running smoothly. Now, a recent survey of customer feedback has found that 94% of the businesses currently working with CV-Library report a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ level of service.

Such an overwhelming result is not only an individual achievement but also virtually unheard of within the industry.

CV-Library is the only job board in the UK to dedicate full-time resources to caring for their current client base. The Client Response Coordinators exist alongside the Sales team who deal with new business and contract management. The team is in place to ensure the ongoing success of client recruitment campaigns, doing so through dedicated attention to detail and unrivalled knowledge of industry best practice.

Founder and Managing Director Lee Biggins believes that customer service should provide a foundation for businesses to build upon. During the recession many companies allowed their customer care teams to become depleted, however Biggins believed it right to do the opposite – employing new staff members to look after CV-Library’s growing customer base.

“Excellent customer care must remain constant in order for a business to grow. That’s why we maintain a team of in-house customer service professionals to maximise our customer’s success with our range of products. Gaining new clients is one thing, but the real hurdle is keeping the ones you do have as happy as possible,” Biggins has said.

Results of the poll show that the CRC team were mostly commended for their pro-active – rather than reactive – approach.

The team endeavour to make phone contact with clients on a weekly basis to prompt for any queries they may have. Similarly, they continually monitor product usage, encouraging the most effective use of the CV-Library tools. They even provide training via remote access – perfect for first time job board users.

Their aim to maximise the exposure and effectiveness of their client’s vacancies
is achieved through not only the tools of the trade but also sheer dedication and
hard work. When the survey was carried out in June, the client response team had
spent nearly 3000 hours on the phone supporting clients in 2014, a total which
included time spent on 40,000 outbound calls.

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Unemployment figures at a six year low as job market booms

Everyone loves a bit of good news, and what could be better than to hear UK unemployment figures have fallen to their lowest in six years?

This week, major news sources such as the BBC have reported a substantial drop in the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance and declaring unemployment.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed a decrease of more than 120,000 in the number of unemployed, meaning there are now only 2.1 million UK residents declaring this status. The drop occurred during the three months leading up to May when the figures were assessed.

CV-Library have been analysing monthly and quarterly data related to the UK job market, and have noticed an upward trend in the number of job applications across all employment sectors since this time last year.

Jobs boom

Job applications are on the increase!

Sectors such as Administration, Retail, Sales, Construction and IT have been doing particularly well – especially in the capital – and it must be noted that the number of job applications have increased substantially in all areas of the UK since June 2013.

The number of jobs being advertised have also increased during the last 12 months – job postings in London alone are up 70% on last year’s figures. This indicates a higher demand for candidates as the job market expands and businesses recover from the recession.

To read CV-Library’s analysis of the London job market in Q1 of 2014, click here:


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Lee Biggins Mentors Pupils at Annual Careers Day

I recently took a trip back to my secondary school, Court Moor in Fleet. I have been taking part in the school’s annual Careers Day for the past four years. The event sees Year 10 pupils take a day off from regular classes to learn about breaking into the world of business, which is an important consideration for this year group in particular as they’re at the age where they’re thinking about what to do next. Myself and a number of local business people attended the event as mentors, to guide pupils through the process of creating job applications and going to interviews.

Lee Biggins Court Moor 2

It is imperative that the children of today are better prepared for entering the working world, whenever they choose to leave education. Learning how to build your own CV and sell yourself in person are important skills. By providing the opportunity to practise interview techniques, chances of success in the future will be increased.

It’s not a secret that I didn’t get on with the academic side of things when I was younger. I had my mind set on joining the family carpet fitting business from a young age. I know what it’s like to not really have an interest in school, and looking back I can honestly say that the most important thing is figuring out where you want to go in life. If you’re academically minded then great, but if not then there are still loads of options out there for you. Having clarity on what you want to achieve is important. School is a good foundation but it is possible to build on what you learn there – I’ve discovered that there are routes to success which don’t just revolve around the grades you achieve.

For me, the best thing about attending events like this one is that occasionally I will come across a student who reminds me of myself when I was younger. When this happens, I make it my mission to plant a seed of inspiration in their mind. It’s also nice to think my advice can make a lasting impression on school-leavers – I often see ex-pupils in the gym or around town who make a point of coming up to me and letting me know how they’re getting on with their chosen career.

I will definitely be going back to take part in next year’s event, and would urge any other Hampshire-based business people who may be interested in finding out more to get in touch with Rob Ellis on

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The Importance of a Strong Cover Letter

Whilst applying for a job is relatively easy (certainly through CV-Library), making a strong application isn’t so simple.

Along with a well-structured, neatly formatted and grammatically correct CV, your cover letter needs to be concise, tailored for each role you apply for and most importantly contain a few key elements which can help you stand out from the crowd and get that vital interview.

A cover letter is a formal introduction to you, your CV and your reasoning for wanting to work for the company you are applying to. A good cover letter tells the recruiter of your passion and interest in the field you are applying to work in, it highlights two or three key skills that can be brought to the business, and ultimately your desire to meet for an interview.

Want more advice and an example of a good cover letter? Click here

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Phrases in Your CV Employers Love


In this new blog from Career Savvy, the team look at phrases in your CV which employers love to see. Check out the suggestions below to maximise the effectiveness of your CV.


OK so this isn’t technically a phrase, but recruiters and hirers love statistics. Anything that counts as tangible data evidencing your achievements is great. It gives them a concrete idea of what’s good about you, turning you from a risk to a sure bet. And when you’re up against a ton of other applicants, being a sure bet is essential. Think about aspects such as grades, profit you helped to turnover, number of projects/tasks you completed in your previous role, months you consistently hit your targets, and so on.


Employers don’t want to spend money on recruiting you for you to leave soon and find another job – that’s money down the drain. In the current job market, it is candidates with staying power that everyone wants to snap up. You can express your long-term goals in your CV – but only if they match up to the job you are applying to. If you don’t feel it’s appropriate, be sure your experience includes instances where you worked on a project for a considerable period of time. This could even be a personal goal, such as training for a marathon, if you don’t have many professional or academic examples to draw upon.


If there is one thing employers want out of a candidate, it’s initiative. Why? In today’s job market fitting the bill isn’t always good enough. In order to go above and beyond, it’s great if you can present evidence in your CV of opportunities that you created for yourself by using your noggin. This could be events that you helped to organise, ideas you contributed to projects, or similar


It seems that this is the new favourite word for employers and recruiters everywhere. Creative individuals are highly sought-after for a variety of roles these days – but you don’t have to be good at watercolours or pottery to claim to be creative. It does work in your favour if you can include a time that you created something, be this an idea, a project, a new way of working on something, etc. Rather than talking about personal skills like being hard-working or enthusiastic, it’s better to point out examples where you actually did or made something. Actions speak louder than words, after all.

As a general rule, employers want to see verbs instead of nouns on your CV. This means that words like ‘hard-worker’, ‘team-player’ and ‘driven individual’ get the boot, replaced with ‘achieved’ and ‘worked successfully on’, followed by the example of your experience.

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Make Your Job Search Mobile: Job Hunting On The Move

With all the technological advancements in the modern day, more and more processes can be done via a mobile device, be it a mobile phone or a tablet. Alongside checking your Facebook and buying clothes, you can make your job search mobile and apply for vacancies online. This comes with a whole host of benefits.

Search and apply wherever you are

The advantage of having a mobile device means you can search for jobs wherever you are. No longer do you have to wait until you can get access to a computer; whether you are waiting for the bus, on your lunch or about to get out of bed in the morning, you can be checking the latest positions that have become available.

Seamless job searching experience

With our mobile-responsive site, you can carry on from where you left off on your desktop. Whilst other job boards have a separate mobile site, with CV-Library you can stay on the same site no matter what device you are using, allowing you to move around the site exactly as if you were using a computer. Having a responsive site also means you won’t need to spend your time zooming in and scrolling to read the job descriptions, as the page adapts to suit the device you are accessing it from.

Push notifications

CV-Library’s Mobile app gives you the option to turn on push notifications which, if activated, notify you whenever jobs matching your previous searches are added. That way you can know about the latest suitable jobs before the majority of other job seekers, giving you valuable time to piece your application together and a head-start on everyone else!

Cloud storage

Through use of cloud storage services Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, you have the option of registering your CV from any mobile device. If you’ve got a few versions of your CV tailored towards slightly different roles, this is the perfect opportunity to embrace the cloud and get involved with job applications “on the go”.
Find out more about what CV-Library can offer you on a mobile here.

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How To Attract Recruiters

CV-Library is home to over 7,000 recruiters. Here are some tips on how to make your CV stand out and how to attract recruiters to you.

It’s all about the key words

Including as many relevant key words as possible near the top of your CV will mean your profile could rank higher than others in recruiter searches. If you’re not sure what your key words should be, think about using the most basic terms to describe your job and industry. You could also look at job adverts for the type of role you’re looking for and try to mimic the language utilised there.

Make your aims explicit

If you are only interested in looking for a specific type of role, then state this at the top of your CV. If there’s something you’re really not interested in, make a note of that, too. Write down your salary requirements, the locations you could work in, and whether you’re looking for contract or permanent roles. This will save you – and potential recruiters – a lot of time, as many preliminary conversations are aimed at identifying basic requirements before discussing specific job opportunities.

Think about your contact details

If it’s generally not going to be viable for you to pick up your phone during the working day, then maybe it’s best to keep your phone number off of your CV. If you’re available to take calls in the morning or over lunch, state the hours of your availability so interested recruiters can know when to call you. Creating a new email address for your job hunt can be a good way of keeping on top of written communication, too.

Don’t spread yourself too thin

If you’re planning to join job boards, it’s a good idea to try one at a time and see what results you yield. It is easy to underestimate the volume of recruiter contact your profile may attract. Think realistically about the amount of time you have to dedicate to job hunting and whether it could be best to aim for quality over quantity.

Be nice to recruiters, even when they’re wrong

Maintain a friendly demeanour whilst on the phone to all recruiters. If they’re not hitting the mark with the roles they’re suggesting, politely explain what it is you’re looking for so they can get a better idea. You can save their number into your phone and then decide whether you want to speak with them directly next time they call – they will leave a message if not. There’s no use in burning bridges as you never know who will get in touch about that perfect role.

If you’ve done all of this and you’re still getting contacted about irrelevant roles, then maybe it’s time to reassess how well your CV reflects your experience and goals. Check out the CV-Library guide to writing a successful CV.

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