New-Media Firms Seek Finance Pros Who Think Out of the Box

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Jessica Mazor, a recruiter with KForce Finance & Accounting Professional Staffing, speaks to eFC's Emma Johnson about placing finance and accounting professionals in new media companies.

Before the recession, those in the financial sector wanted to say on Wall Street, but that is changing. There are a lot of weird little startups popping up - especially in publishing and social media and the technology that backs such projects, and they all need solid operations. Lots of them have private equity backing and others are looking for funding. They tend to be small, with as few as 13 to 70 employees, and they're all looking for finance and accounting professionals.

For those coming out of school or from investment banking, the easiest way to make the transition to this sector is into account manager or sales roles in advertising or operations, as well as accounts payable and receivable. Others can find positions as senior accountants or controllers.

These small quirky firms can be a great place for younger employees, as you get a lot of exposure, tons of experience and more promotions. They tend to be more interesting than Wall Street jobs, with flexible environments, telecommuting opportunities, and every employee gets more say and input since there is less red tape than in a big, traditional corporation. A lot of candidates I meet are looking for these things. They're very intelligent, creative people, and they want to be heard.

When Applying, Display Creativity and Personality

To qualify for these positions you really have to think outside of the box. Even for the finance person, you will be working on a small team and play a big role, so personality is really important. These employers are looking for resumes and cover letters that showcase an irreverent sense of humor and a creative mind. You might showcase these qualities through mentions of your hobbies and extracurricular activities, or creating a website to introduce yourself, including a video resume. Instead of mailing or e-mailing a resume, you can send them a link -- anything that completely stands out.

But really it all comes down to the interview. For every position I'm looking to fill, I'll have 20 candidates and on paper they all look fantastic. But in person they are bland and their personalities don't come through. I tell a lot of my candidates to take an acting class - there they do improv which really brings out your personality and challenges you to loosen up. Candidates tend to get really nervous, but these classes teach you to pull your personality out from the inside.

Salaries in this sector are lower than you would find on Wall Street. An account manager, operations or accountant position can expect salaries in the range of $50,000 to $80,000, while a CFO or controller will demand $140,000 to $180,000. If there are bonuses at all, they are very small. But people are still clamoring for these positions because they offer a chance to be part of something and really watch it grow. I don't see these jobs going away. In fact, I expect to see a lot more popping up in the next five to 10 years.

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