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Building a Better Auditor: Job Hacks for New Grads

Blogs Mahmoud Hassan, CIA, CISA, CISM, CCSA Jan 09, 2024

In today's highly competitive job market, new graduates often find themselves facing a daunting challenge when trying to secure their first job. However, there is a technique that can set them apart from the crowd and significantly increase their chances of success. Allow me to introduce the concept of prototyping and how it can be a game-changer for landing that dream job.

Meet Julia, a recent graduate with a degree in finance and a huge passion for investment and capital markets. Like many graduates, she has encountered the harsh reality of a saturated job market, with candidates vying for limited positions. But Julia took a unique approach to stand out. She opened her own investment account with a brokerage firm and started investing her own capital, fully aware of the risks involved. She began with a virtual account, and when she learned the fundamentals, she started investing her own small fund. By doing so, she gained valuable first-hand experience toward her goal of becoming a fund manager. This approach can be referred to as prototyping.

Prototyping is a concept well-known among entrepreneurs who aim to pitch their business ideas to potential investors. By creating a sample or model of their product, entrepreneurs can effectively showcase their vision and demonstrate its feasibility. What makes prototyping so powerful is its ability to transform abstract ideas into tangible products that can be tested and validated. New graduates are similarly selling their ideas to potential employers. Therefore, after choosing a career path, graduates should consider designing a prototype to proudly present on their resume.

The Power of Prototyping in Internal Audit

In the world of internal audit, a field known for its meticulous attention to detail and critical thinking, prototyping can be a transformative tool for graduates seeking to enter the profession.

Here are some specific ways fresh graduates can leverage the power of prototyping in the world of internal audit:

Comprehensive process documentation: Internal auditors are responsible for examining an organization's processes and making recommendations for improvement. Graduates can choose a specific process within an industry they are interested in and thoroughly document it. This documentation can include process flows, control points, and suggested improvements. Presenting this as a prototype not only showcases an understanding of the field but also an ability to analyze and document complex processes.

Risk assessment in action: Risk assessment is a core aspect of internal auditing, and graduates can conduct a risk assessment for a targeted area within an organization — perhaps one they work for or one they are interested in. This could involve identifying potential risks, evaluating their impacts, and suggesting mitigation strategies. Creating a risk assessment prototype demonstrates a grasp of risk management principles and an ability to provide valuable insights to organizations.

Tailored audit programs: Internal auditors develop audit programs that outline the steps and procedures for conducting audits. Graduates can design an audit program tailored to a specific scenario or industry. This program should demonstrate an understanding of audit methodologies, risk assessment, and control evaluation. Sharing this prototype highlights a preparedness to step into the role of an internal auditor.

Including Prototyping on Your Resume

Incorporating an internal audit prototype into a resume can have a profound impact on how potential employers perceive your qualifications. Here's how to effectively integrate a prototype into a resume:

Create a dedicated section: Design a dedicated section on your resume that showcases your prototype project. Give it a compelling title, such as "Internal Audit Prototyping Project," and provide a brief description of the project's objectives and your role in its development.

Highlight achievements: Under this section, highlight the achievements and insights gained from your prototyping project. Mention any notable improvements or recommendations you made, emphasizing the value you can bring to a future employer.

Include relevant skills: List the skills you acquired or honed during the prototyping process. This could include skills in risk assessment, process documentation, data analysis, and critical thinking, all of which are highly relevant to the field of internal audit.

Provide supporting evidence: If possible, include visual representations of your prototype, such as process flowcharts, risk assessment matrices, or audit program outlines. Visual elements can help recruiters better understand the depth of your work.

Share results and impact: Conclude the section by discussing the impact of your prototype on the organization or scenario it was designed for. Highlight any positive outcomes or lessons learned from the project.

Prototyping is a powerful tool that can help you stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of landing your dream job, whether it's in internal audit or any other field. By following these steps, you not only make your resume more compelling but also present yourself as a proactive and capable candidate. Embrace the power of prototyping, and you'll be well on your way to a successful career.

Mahmoud Hassan, CIA, CISA, CISM, CCSA

Mahmoud Hassan is chief internal audit officer at Neoleap Financial Company, a subsidiary of Alrajhi Bank, in Saudi Arabia.