Getting Your Ducks in a Row

Getting Your Ducks in a Row

Many of us underestimate the amount of time it actually takes to search for and secure our next role.  In many cases searching for a job can take anything from two to six months, depending on the level of the role you’re applying for.

To help take the pain out of your job search we can’t recommend enough how important it is to do you prep in advance, and to get your ducks in a row!

Taking the time and creating the space to get organised not only helps to alleviate any pressure you might feel when searching for a new opportunity but will also ensure you are ready to take that perfect opportunity once it comes up.

Here Cole Carroll, Team Lead with Barden, and expert in part-qualified and operational finance careers, shares her top tips for ‘Getting Your Ducks in a Row’…

First things first..

1. Do the Research

Proactively research what you’d like to focus on. A key consideration is the corporate landscape in order to cultivate a career instead of simply landing in a job.

Consider the following…Practice or industry? What does the career journey look like in each? Financial accounting or would you like to progress down the financial analyst or management accounting route?

On LinkedIn look at the profiles of those whose roles interest you. Check out their career journey to date, including where they came from and what they did to get to where they are now.

Identify what piece(s) of the puzzle you are missing in order to get to where you want to be.

Look into different organisational structures too, which can offer different things. Whether it be working with ERP systems, closely with a qualified accountant, different entities, currencies etc. suss out where you can get this exposure and experience.

2. CV Preparation

We could talk all day about CVs…but here are some of our top tips when it comes to CV preparation.

Keep in mind where you want to go and give your CV a spring clean.

Your CV should always be aimed at a specific role. Key words are critical so remember to match those of the job you are targeting. Keep in mind that you may be trying to get past a gatekeeper, so make sure to use the right language!

Context is crucial. Always give information on the company, team structure etc. If the information is relevant put it in and don’t worry if it is over 2 pages. Use metrics to measure your performance where possible (i.e. volumes/values).

It’s best to include less information on the less relevant roles and those in the distant past.

Hobbies, achievements, IT & language skills are a yes. Hiring managers are interested in the person too so make sure to include these.

When it comes to the synopsis at the top of your CV make sure it’s unique to you.

Include a brief summary of your experience to date, and keep to hard skills, not soft skills, this is what interviews are about!

3. Interview preparation

Get your ‘Tell me about yourself’ spiel down to a tee, so your interview always gets off to a good start.

Interviews nowadays can be quite competency based and preparation is key. A competency is a fundamental skill, capability or aptitude that is required to achieve a required level of performance on the job. You will be faced with either:

Situational based questions– What you would do in a particular situation.​ For example: suppose you observed conflict between team members over the division of work.  What would you do?


Behavioural based questions –  Most interviewers use these. What you did do in a particular situation.​ (past situations). For example: Tell me about a time you helped to solve conflict between team members.

Research and put together a list of competencies which may be tested (job specifications and company cultures/values/mission statement on their website are a good place to start). Review sample questions. Understand what the competencies actually look like in action, and put together a few examples for each using the STAR method. It is tricky to think of them on the spot!

  1. LinkedIn

Get your STAR rating!

  • Get that professional photo up and take down the one with your friends in the pub. Or worse again don’t leave it blank. Is that profile even real?
  • Update all education (stage of exams), work experience and certificates/licences.
  • Build your network of connections in your area.
  • Ask at least 3 people to endorse you or write you a virtual recommendation.
  • Finally switch on open to opportunities!


Reach Out to Us

If you’d like more information or would like some help in navigating your career reach out to us at or contact one of team using the info below…

Our Team

Cole Carroll  | Team Lead | Expert in Part-Qualified and Operational Finance |

Sarah Griffin | Associate | Expert in Part Qualified Accounting & AP/AR/Payroll Careers |

Cliodhna O’Brien | Senior Associate | Expert in Part Qualified Accounting & AP/AR/Payroll Careers |

Tara Higgins | Partner | Business Support  & Operational Finance |

Laura Fitzpatrick |Graduate Associate |Expert Recruiter in Part Qualified and Broad Finance Administration Careers | Barden Cork |

At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to and we will take it from there. Easy.

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