How to Answer “What’s Your Greatest Accomplishment” as a New Accounting or Finance Graduate
Today I wanted to give you some advice on how to answer that dreaded question, “What’s your greatest accomplishment,” specifically geared if you are a new accounting or finance graduate.
Why Your Greatest Accomplishment Matters
Your greatest accomplishment should be something that personally to you is something that is an accomplishment and something where you learned skills that you can apply to that prospective employer that’s going to hire you.
Moving Beyond "Graduating from College"
I always ask this question when I interview a new grad. The most common answer that I hear is. “My greatest accomplishment is graduating from college.”
Now that is a great accomplishment but let me give you some ways that you can kick that up a notch.
- Ask yourself, were you working? Were you raising a family?
If so, you most likely had competing priorities. You had to learn how to be organized, have good time management skills, how to prioritize the things that were most important, how to make sure you hit your deadlines with your homework with your family obligations. These are all good skills that that prospective employer is going to want to see when they hire you.
- Did you work full time and pay 100% of your tuition expenses without getting a loan?
Awesome, especially for new accounting and finance graduates, you were able to develop all the traits in number 1, plus having good money management skills to not go into debt while putting yourself through school. So that’s an awesome additional accomplishment.
- Were you going to school during COVID? Did you start out in person? Did you get sent home and had to figure out how to do everything online? Were you going to be a freshman in college across the country and get notified at the last minute that they weren’t holding classes in person, and you had to start virtually?
These were huge blows during that time. Were you able to pick yourself back up, be resilient, have grit, have determination, and you know, finish your freshman, sophomore, junior, senior year, going through all of that while still getting a 3.5 GPA? Awesome. I know a lot of people that haven’t. It was tough. But if you were able to do all that, that is truly an above and beyond accomplishment that you should tell your prospective employer in that interview.
- Were you the first person in your family to graduate from college? Again, another personal great achievement. Was everybody supportive of you going to college? Were there people, friends, family members that maybe didn’t go to college that were looking at you like, well, you’re crazy.
I’m sure you had some people that supported you, but I’m sure you had some naysayers out there. Were you able to put the naysayers aside? Were you able to be different from everybody else and still pursue your dream of graduating from college, that adds value to the perspective of an employer as well.
Take it to the Next Level
A good way that you can take the greatest accomplishment of “I graduated from college” up to that next level is say,
“I graduated from college. I had to work full-time to put myself through school. I had to really be organized, have good time management skills with my work schedule, my school schedule, the projects, and the homework. I had to have, I created myself a to-do list, so I knew exactly what I was going to do and when it needed to be due. Also, I’m the first person that went through school so there were some people that weren’t necessarily supportive, so I really had to not focus on what they were saying and really focus on my goals and my accomplishments. And I graduated and I’m very excited!”
This is an example of how you can take that greatest accomplishment of “I graduated from college” to the next level.
I hope this helps, but if you do have any questions, reach out at the contact information below. Thank you.
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