5 Ways Informational Interviews are Key to Your Job Search Strategy

As the job market tightens, skilled candidates are once again in high demand — and back in the decision-making seat.

Use this as an opportunity to find the best job match for you. A resourceful way to do this? Informational interviews. A riff on the traditional job interview, these meetings put you in the interrogator position—allowing you to get real insight into a role, company, industry and more. We share 5 reasons informational interviews are key to your job search strategy, and how to best approach the process.

Connect with People Doing the Work

Once you know the industry, role or career you’re interested in exploring, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professional network, friends, family or acquaintances to find an appropriate contact. Using a warm connection often makes this task easier, but LinkedIn or general company searches can also yield favorable results. The goal is to engage someone who has actual professional knowledge in the field or position, so you can gather thoughtful intel you couldn’t learn from a simple Google inquiry.

Interview without the Pressure

Oftentimes, the stress of a formal job interview prevents candidates from asking the important questions to help them understand if a career opportunity is right for them. For informational meetings, you have complete control and can steer the conversation to cover the topics most relevant to you. Touching on areas like salary, benefits and other pertinent queries considered taboo during the initial job interview are fair game.

Build New Relationships

People can sense when someone is being disingenuous. Go into this process with the intention of learning — and that’s it. A real job interview may come down the road, but focus on the information exploration. Make sure to continue nurturing your new connection beyond the initial conversation, as it’s always beneficial to grow your professional network.

Develop Your Interview Skills

View these meetings as an opportunity to sharpen your interviewing skills. It’s important to remain professional and go into the informational interview prepared and considerate of the other person’s time. Know the name of the person you’re speaking with, as well as some basic information about their title and job history. It’s also good practice to have a road map of the questions and topics you’d like to cover to help guide the conversation and the get the most from the experience.

Ask the Right Questions

Part of your interview prep should always include research — and this is no different. Be thoughtful of the type of questions you want answered. Try to go beyond what can be found online, such as detailed descriptions of the individual’s day-to-day duties, career path and ask for any advice or tips they can share. You can be as specific or as broad as you’d like, since this is your informational interview. Keep a detailed account or notes on file, so you can build an outline and refer to it as you continue your job search.

Are you open to new career opportunities? Connect with one of our seasoned recruiters!

How to Write a Thank-You Note in 5 Steps

With the rise of social media, company review sites and the internet in general, the job search has evolved in many ways. But there are aspects of the process that remain steadfast.

Case in point: applicant etiquette is still a thing.

A post-interview thank-you note is a small, yet meaningful gesture that can leave a positive lasting impression. Most importantly: an action that many of today’s job seekers fail to do — and a great way to set you apart from crowded candidate pools. Not sure where to start? Managing Director Carolyn Sweeney breaks down how to write a thank-you note in five easy steps that are sure to get you closer to landing the role.


Thank the interviewer for something specific you got out of the conversation or something you enjoyed learning. This is more impactful than a generic, “Thank you for your time.” It also reminds them of the conversation they had with you and hopefully reinforces the positive feelings you had for each other during the interview. 

Example: “Thank you so much for sharing your passion for ABC Company with me. I loved hearing about how your team was able to work together to implement Concur in less than two months. That took great planning, leadership and teamwork.”


Thank-you notes are a great time to remind the employer of key accomplishments or achievements that impressed them. Or, if you missed sharing something during the interview, is an opportunity to get that point across.  

Example: “I am confident that my seven years of experience in revenue and hands-on ASC606 implementation background will bring value to the team.” Or, “I got so swept up in our meeting and enjoyed learning about your team so much that I neglected to mention that I earned a ‘People’s Choice Award’ at my last firm for outstanding teamwork during busy season.”


Tell them you want to join their team! Be bold and confident and encourage them to select you as their next hire. Example: “After learning more about you and the opportunity, I can tell you I would be excited to join your high-performing team.”


Ever hear the old saying, “Good writing is good editing?” Well, it’s true. Even great writers have others edit their work. It’s important to get a second pair of eyes when it comes to making the right impression with an employer. 


Don’t wait more than 24 hours to follow up with a thank-you note. Email is fine in today’s era. If you want to send a postpaid note, that’s okay, too, but send an accompanying e-mail to ensure timely arrival. 

Are you ready to make a career move? Our recruiters are equipped to help you find a role that fits your specific background and skill set — fast. Submit your resume today!

What Recruiters are Looking for in 2021

You did it – you made it through one of the most challenging and unique years in recent history. Now what?

Economists are anticipating strong GDP growth in 2021 as the global economy stabilizes and continues to recover from the pandemic. But while hopes for a more normal workforce remains on the horizon, the impacts of last year have influenced how employers are growing their teams.

Century Group’s Senior Director of Executive Recruiting, ‎Deanna Gutman, shares her insights for what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for in 2021.

1. Adaptable Skill Set

For finance and accounting professionals, specific credentials, software skills and industry experience are important factors that help recruiters match professionals with roles they are best qualified for. But with last year’s swift changes to the workforce, employees were tasked with a new challenge: the ability to pivot and adapt in an evolving workplace.

Critical skills like problem-solving, communication and collaboration are more sought-after than ever as companies have shifted to remote work environments. Candidates who are able to exhibit their success during this transition and excel in their role is highly important in 2021. Some job-specific skills can be learned within the position, but the ability to adapt is a transferable skill that will benefit you in any job.

2. Proven Career Progression

Employers often seek professionals who have experience in the type of position their looking to fill. But that’s only part of the story.

“If your resume shows that you’ve been a Senior Accountant for 10 or more years, that can be viewed as a red flag,” explains Gutman. “Companies want to see progression, good experience and a candidate who isn’t afraid to take on new responsibilities and challenges.”

3. Technology Proficient

Successfully adopting new technologies has been the name of the game for years as systems continue to evolve and change. But 2021’s shift was much more drastic.

Remote work became a requirement for many professionals — forcing them to learn the ins and outs of video conferencing and other communication tools at a moment’s notice. Hiring managers and recruiters will inquire about worker’s own proficiency in this area, including evaluating how well you communicate and portray yourself through virtual interviews.

4. Demonstrate Self-Motivation

A follow-up to No. 3, self-discipline was key for professionals to remain committed to their work and persevere in remote environments. Candidates who can demonstrate that they are self-motivated through past employment experiences are more likely to succeed in today’s job market, explains Gutman.

“Companies want people who are self-motivated, disciplined and curious about the company,” she says. Ask questions, show initiative and be open to new ways of approaching tasks or problems.

Expedite your job search with the help of our experienced recruiting team. Submit your resume today to be matched with roles you are best qualified for!

Your Guide to Successful Video Job Interviews

Job interview prep looks slightly different over the last several months. Video job interviews are increasingly becoming the norm, requiring candidates to add computer placement, internet connection and learning new body language cues to their list of to-dos.

We’ve rounded up some of our key tips to helping you ace your next video interview. That way, you can focus on the most important part: landing the job.

1. Find an Optimal Interview Location.

Locate a space in your home or remote workspace that is quiet, offers great lighting and has a neutral background. Avoid settings that feature your bed or place you in front of a window.

2. Test Your Technology Beforehand.

Take 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled meeting to set-up your interview station and ensure your technology is working. Some items to include in your checklist: internet connection, headphones or sound, webcam and battery life of the device. For best results, ensure the camera is at eye-level.

3. Dress for the Camera.

Similar to in-person job interviews, it’s always best practice to dress to impress. Professional attire is preferred, but focus on wearing soft rather than bright colors or distracting patterns. This also goes for men when selecting a tie to match with their ensemble.

4. New Body Language Cues.

Video interviews can make human interaction feel stilted, and an already stressful conversation even more uncomfortable. But focusing on eye contact and controlling your body language can help convey confidence to the interviewer, even through the screen.

When speaking, make sure to gaze into the camera rather than the image of the interviewer on your screen. Make sure your back is up-right against your chair and limit any unnecessary fidgeting. Other common cues like not letting your eyes wander or nodding your head when the other person is speaking can show that you’re equally engaged in the conversation.

5. Treat It Like an In-Person Interview.

In all the ways that truly matter, your actions during a video job interview aren’t much different than that of an in-person meeting. Relying heavily on notes or having your smartphone handy both take your focus away from the interview. Remember: this is a conversation. You should have your key selling points memorized — only refer to notes for questions or other thoughts that drive the dialogue.

6. Prepare for Unwanted Distractions.

The best offense is a good defense, right? Have a back-up plan if something goes wrong because chances are, it will. Make sure you have the phone number of the interviewer, so you can quickly call if you’re unable to log into the virtual meeting.

If there’s an unexpected noise or disturbance outside of your controlled environment, don’t panic. Simply apologize for the disturbance and ask if you can mute your mic until it subsides. The same goes for unexpected housemates entering the frame during the interview. Apologize, mute your mic, shut off your camera, address the situation and move on.

7. Prepare for Recorded Interviews.

Some employers choose to have candidates enter a pre-recorded video conference where, after logging in, pre-recorded questions or text will appear on the screen. Candidates will only have an allotted amount of time to respond, so make sure you have your responses at the ready. Similar to live video interviews, maintain eye contact with the camera lens and use a conversational tone when providing your answers.

For more job search tips and insights, visit our blog.

3 Tips to Help You Land the Job Interview

The job search is a process — a series of steps that get you from finding that perfect career opportunity to actually signing an offer letter. And the first significant hurdle to pass: landing an interview.

Job seekers often bypass this step, and instead choose to focus on preparing for the event before they’ve even been contacted by a prospective employer. Start your search on the right foot and increase your chances of getting a job interview with these tips:


So you’re the best candidate for the job? Prove it. Creating a clear and consistent professional image across all platforms helps recruiters and hiring managers quickly gauge your skill set, experience and qualifications for the specific role. This includes restructuring your resume, social media profiles and cover letter to tell the same story: that you can successfully meet the expectations of the position and deserve an interview.

Director of Recruiting Anton Cuyugan stresses the importance of forgoing fluff on your resume for tangible information like education, work experience and software skills. After all, hiring managers scan for select keywords and abilities that are applicable to the role — not if you consider yourself to be a “hard worker” or not.

Pro tip: Properly label your resume with your name and the position you’re seeking, and double-check that all files can be opened.


One of the most effective methods of being invited for an interview is to utilize your network. Companies are more likely to give candidates an opportunity to prove their value with an in-person meeting if they’re referred by someone they trust and have an established relationship with. Our suggestion? Leverage a recruiter’s — or your own — connections.

“If you’re applying online, you’re in a queue of 50 to 100 resumes,” Cuyugan explains. “And if the need is urgent, companies are going to go with someone they’re already talking to. We’re getting your resume to the front of the pile, and you’re also getting a personal recommendation.”

Resources like LinkedIn are also a great option to find professionals working in the company that may already be in your network. First- and second-degree connections can help make those important initial introductions and pave the way to an interview.


Following application guidelines is an early indication to future employers that you pay attention to detail and can follow through with projects. Learn the name of the hiring manager so you can personalize your communications and ensure your information is getting to the right person. It’s also a great way to lay the groundwork for the research that you’ll need to do once you land the job interview.

And if you find a career opportunity to pursue, jump on it. Applying within the first couple days of a job opening increases the chances that your resume will be properly reviewed. One follow-up email to reinforce your interest and fit for the role is also a useful tip, Cuyugan says.

Are you ready to start your search? Submit your resume to connect with a recruiter today!

8 Proven Methods to Making Your LinkedIn Profile Recruiter-Ready

When it comes to job boards and finding new talent, LinkedIn remains the top resource for recruiters. After all, it’s the world’s largest professional network on the internet — with more than 30 million companies represented and 20 million-plus open jobs.

That’s a lot of data to wade through. To get the attention of recruiters, you’ll need to do some of the heavy lifting — make your profile work for you. Century Group Talent Acquisition Manager, Megan Helgeson, shares eight proven methods to making your LinkedIn profile recruiter-ready.

1. Make a Strong First Impression

“First impression is always going to be their picture,” Helgson says. “It’s proven that having a picture makes recruiters more likely to visit your profile.” Don’t have a professional headshot at your disposal? No problem. Recruit a friend or family member to snap a photo of you in your favorite business attire ensemble. Stage it in front of a wall or clean background. And avoid filters, car selfies and other busy settings.

2. Showcase Your Education

Give yourself credit where it’s due. Helgeson frequently comes across candidates’ profiles who only list their university without including the type of degree completed — eliminating themselves from filtered LinkedIn Recruiter searches. “If the position requires a certain degree, but a candidate doesn’t have theirs listed, they won’t pull up in the search,” she explains. “Recruiters might assume that you didn’t complete your degree and pass by your profile. You worked hard for it — show it off!”

3. Promote Yourself — Not Your Employer

Focus on highlighting your value proposition, experience and skills in the “About” summary. And while it’s OK to mention your current company, best practice is to use this space as an elevator pitch — make it personal. “Don’t be afraid to use first person or showcase your personality,” she says. “Keep your industry and audience in mind. But if a recruiter wanted a play-by-play of your career history, they would scroll to your experience.”

4. Keep Your Contact Information Updated

If you choose to make your contact information public, make sure it’s updated. For example, Helgeson recalls instances where she’s tried to make a connection with a candidate, only to realize the phone number listed was from their previous job. For email, use or create a professional account. “Just make sure you are checking it regularly, so you don’t miss out on opportunities,” Helgeson says.

5. Let Recruiters Know You’re Available

Are you on the market? Signal recruiters by utilizing LinkedIn’s “Open to Opportunities” function. There are two privacy settings: one that notifies you of who visits your page, and another that restricts that visibility to only recruiters using LinkedIn Recruiting. But beware. While LinkedIn tries to hide your availability from recruiters at your current company, your privacy isn’t 100% guaranteed.

Also list the type of opportunities you’re open to, Helgeson says. But use this wisely. Only do so if you’re singularly interested in exploring those type of positions, as this could restrict recruiters from taking a potential job application seriously if it doesn’t match. “This is also a great tool to use if you are looking to make a career pivot,” she explains. “Listing that you are interested in an opportunity that doesn’t necessarily match your career path let’s recruiters know that you are ready for a new challenge.”

6. Make Yourself Visible with Skills and Endorsements

Recruiters regularly use this feature to search for candidates, so make sure to include all that apply to you. Helgeson offers a pro-tip for pairing with opportunities you’re interested in on LinkedIn. “Check out the ‘How You Match’ section to see what skills that opportunity requires. If you have experience in a skill they want but it’s not reflected on your profile, go back and add it!”

7. Use Your Experience to Highlight Your Professional Performance

Ensuring your current and previous roles are listed and up-to-date is an easy, important step to illustrating your professional career accurately. Use this area to share the companies’ mission statements so recruiters can get an idea of your industry experience — as well as your specific job duties and achievements in the role.

8. Engage Your Network

“The way you interact with your network matters, and recruiters can see your recent activity from your profile,” Helgeson says. “Get involved! Leaving words of encouragement on your colleagues post, sharing a helpful article and helping others connect all reflect positively.” Remember: be mindful of your very visible interactions — always keep it professional.

Are you open to new opportunities? Submit your resume and our recruiters will reach out to you if there’s a match. Browse our blog for more career advice and insights.

How to Job Search During the Pandemic

The hiring environment for job seekers has been favorable over the past couple of years — candidates know it, employers know it. But the past several weeks have brought life as we know it to a halt.

Still, that doesn’t mean your job search has to. From working remotely and hiring freezes to industries experiencing new surges, many companies are experiencing a shift in their operation. And your approach to finding your next career opportunity should follow suit. Here are a few ways accounting and finance professionals can alter their job search during the pandemic.

Follow the Jobs

First and foremost: employers are still hiring. Essential sectors like healthcare, emergency services, food and agriculture and transportation continue to run at full speed — and most importantly, all require accounting staff to function properly.

Recruiting and staffing firms are fielding requests from businesses for both temporary and permanent candidates to help fill their open positions. Reach out to these agencies to get your resume in front of hiring managers more quickly. Even if they’re unable to place you right away, developing these relationships now will get you in the queue once the employer is ready to move forward.

Establish Your Remote Work Routine

Well before COVID-19 made working from home the new normal, telecommuting and flexible work environments were already gaining popularity among professionals. But it’s imperative that you develop a work-from-home routine, so you can demonstrate your effectiveness to your future employer. After all, working remotely is a skill set in its own right. Designate an area or surface of your home where you’ll conduct business during the workweek. Stick to the same work hours each day. And make sure you have a transparent communication method in place, so you can be quickly accessible when needed.

Engage Your Professional Network

Successful candidates know this to be true: it’s all about who you know. What better time to connect with people at a time when individuals are seeking it most? Nurture your network. Check in with old colleagues, fellow alumni or people in a similar industry than you. Offer to set up a virtual cup of coffee to discuss how they’re doing during this pandemic. Another way to boost your online identity, if you’ve been itching to write a think piece or put your professional perspective on an important topic in your field, now is the time. This is a great conversation point to discuss with new contacts — and an impressive note to share with recruiters and hiring managers.

Are you looking for a remote employment opportunity? Submit your resume today.

4 Steps to Resign from Your Job Like a Pro

No one likes to be the bearer of bad news, especially in the workplace. But when it comes to your career, tough decisions need to be made.

We say: accept that exciting job offer — your current employer will be OK.

There seems to be a misconception that handing in your resignation means severing important working relationships. The real secret? It’s all about how you do it. Here are four steps to resign from your job that are sure to make the transition as smooth as possible, all while keeping your reputation in the industry intact.

1. Notify Your Manager First

Sorry, procastinators — ripping off the Band-Aid is your best bet in this scenario. The first person you need to notify is your manager. If you work at the same location, in-person is always the better option, but over-the-phone is also an alternative. The conversation should focus on the positive, highlighting the new opportunity’s selling points and your willingness to assist with the changeover process. This shows to your employer that you respect them and their time, and don’t want to leave the company in a bind.

Pro tip: Be prepared for a counteroffer and make sure you consider its ramifications down the road.

2. Give Enough Notice and Put it in Writing

Sure, the general rule is two weeks advance notice, but that can change with the complexity of the role. If you’re in higher-level management, a longer transition period may be needed to help train or find your replacement.

When it comes to the resignation letter, bring it with you to that initial meeting with your boss or attach it to an email after the phone call. It should include the following:

  • Date of the last day you plan to work
  • Reason for leaving (doesn’t have to be too specific — just that you’re accepting another position at a new company)
  • Share your appreciation for your time working at the company and any other true remarks about your experience

3. Finish Your Stay Strong

If you’re leaving to work for a competitor, sometimes employers prefer you don’t stick around and will immediately escort you out. Don’t take this personally; it’s business, after all. But if you do complete your notice period, make it count. Document important processes that will be useful to the position’s successor, relay noteworthy information to colleagues and wrap up any outstanding assignments or projects, if possible.

Pro tip: Retaining a positive attitude — even if difficult — is a must. The payoff will be worth it.

4. Prepare for the Exit Interview

These can be tricky, especially if you want to keep the possibility of working at the company in the future an option. Be honest about your experience, but avoid emotional outbursts or personal attacks on management. Keeping in touch with key team members is also essential, as you never know where your career will take you.

Are you looking for a new opportunity? Check out our latest accounting and finance jobs in your area.

The Ugly Truth About a Counteroffer

We get it. Breaking up is hard to do. And when it comes to a professional split, the same hesitance that may keep you in a safe, often unsatisfying job can be just as prevalent — especially when there’s an incentive added to the mix.

Our advice: don’t give in.

Century Group’s team of Executive Recruiters regularly confronts this issue during the search process. And in in our experience, accepting a counteroffer is never a good idea — for both you or your current employer. In fact, more than 80% of people who take a counteroffer are no longer with the company six months later, according to the National Employment Association.

Here are five reasons why you should never accept a counteroffer:

1.  That sudden raise or promotion is suspect.

Consider this: Where is the money for the counteroffer coming from? Is your next raise early? Almost all companies follow strict wage and salary guidelines.

2. Understand your worth.

Every professional wants to know they’re valued — but a salary increase or promotion in response to your potential resignation doesn’t scream genuine appreciation. Will you have to pose a similar threat every time you deserve better working conditions and compensation?

3. Your employer is aware that you’re unhappy and looking.

The cat’s out of the bag. Now, regardless of what’s said when the counteroffer is made, you’ll always be considered a risk — and your loyalty to the company called into question.

4. A replacement is on the way.

No one likes to think of themselves as expendable, so we’ll break it to you gently: your future with this employer is most likely temporary. A counteroffer is a management technique often used to buy the company time until your replacement is found.

5. Your circumstances haven’t changed.

No counteroffer can eliminate your reasons for considering a career move in the first place. And while the new conditions may make your work experience more tolerable in the short-term — those circumstances still exist.

Are you ready for a career move? Century Group’s team of accounting and finance placement experts can help. Check out our latest job opportunities today.

How to Make a Good First Impression at Your Next Job Interview

A person walks into a job interview. They’re 20 minutes late, slouching in their seat and make their distaste for their former employer known, well, several times within the conversation. It’s safe to say the candidate’s left a not-so-great impression on the interviewer — one that even the most qualified or skilled professionals can’t shake.

In fact, research shows the outcome of an interview can be determined 20 seconds from the first greeting. Put plainly: first impressions matter. Make your snapshot intro count by mastering these three tips by Associate Director of Recruiting, Maryum Anwar.


Anwar recommends candidates get to the interview 10 to 15 minutes before their scheduled meeting. “Make sure to leave yourself a buffer to account for any traffic, especially if it’s an area you’re not familiar with,” she explains. “Remember: if you are early, you’re on time. If you are on time, you’re late!”


Think of the situation like a date. Talking about how terrible your ex was is a major turn-off to a prospective partner. “You’re not likely to get the second date, or in this case, a second interview,” Anwar says. It’s valid to have poor experiences in previous roles, but framing your responses in a positive light — rather than accusatory — will leave a better lasting impression on the hiring manager.


The interview shouldn’t be the first time you find out what the company does. Most businesses have an online presence — perfect for some amateur sleuthing, and easy access to a company’s mission statement, staff and more. Pro tip: If you learn who will be interviewing you before the meeting, check out their LinkedIn profile to gain extra insight that may come in handy. “You should be able to hold an educated conversation regarding the company,” Anwar says. “And share why you’re interested in working for their organization.”

Are you looking for a new career opportunity? Submit your resume, and our recruiters can match you with positions you’re qualified for.