Our recent article on ‘Doomed Industries‘ struck a nerve. Are you worried that you might be working in an industry that is stuck in a downward spiral? Do you wonder what your life would be like, if you selected a different career path? Tony Nikolovski is one resourceful professional who successfully changed his career. During this interview he discusses his career transition challenges. Tony was able to move from the struggling automotive industry into the accounting industry, working with PricewaterhouseCoopers, by focusing on transferable skills, networking, and education.

OS: What type of educational background and accreditation did you need to obtain to start your new career in accounting?

TN: To become a chartered accountant you need an undergraduate degree in any discipline. In addition to this you also need to take the 51 credit hours (equivalent to 17 university courses) as required by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO). After you have satisfied these two requirements you are eligible to begin the chartered accountant professional examinations.

OS: With no work experience in the accounting industry, how did you market yourself to employers?

TN: I knew that I could compensate for my lack of experience by volunteering and getting involved in organizations. I joined the Atkinson Professional Accounting Association (APAA). During networking events hosted by the APAA, many prospective employers are in attendance. This gave me the opportunity to network with a number of important individuals who were responsible for recruitment. By networking and getting involved in organizations, I was able to secure multiple employment offers, with PricewaterhouseCoopers ultimately being my choice.

OS: Did you find your skills transferable between the automotive sector and accounting?

TN: How to deal with different people from various backgrounds can be learned working in any industry and having this skill is really the most important thing when seeking employment. People and interpersonal skills can determine how successful you are at performing your job. Anybody can learn the technical requirements of a job, but it’s the transferable skills like communicating, critical thinking, and relationship building that are hard to teach someone.

OS: How did you illustrate your strengths on your resume considering your lack of experience?

TN: I made my resume very focused and only included information that was relevant to the position I was applying for. I described what I did, what I accomplished, and quantified my accomplishments as much as possible. I used quantitative facts achieved in my prior work and volunteer history such as,

  • Facilitated and signed 5 major Ontario contracts, resulting in increased revenue.
  • Managed over 300 client accounts and vendors (Accounts receivables/payables).
  • Increased APAA Student Membership by 30% through increased promotion, networking/professional development opportunities, and community initiatives.

OS: What advice do you have for people looking to make a career transition?

TN: Know what you are switching into. At some point you need to make a decision and this can only be done through your own research. Make sure that your decision will make you more marketable in the workforce not only today, but in the future. Take a step back and ask yourself, what do you want to do and where do you want to be in the next 5, or 10 years. I found myself deciding between various industries before my choice was made; graphic design, automotive, management, and my ultimate choice, accounting.
Ozzie Saunds is the founder/owner of www.ResumeToronto.ca and the InspiredMinds Group. Have a question about your resume? Email him at ozzie.saunds@resumetoronto.ca