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Small public firm to industry

I have worked as a senior accountant in a small public firm for the past 3 years doing tax and audit/compilations/reviews. My clients include manufacturers, construction, and service industry clients. I have my CPA license and MBA. Before public, I worked in the tax department of a large private university for 5 years.

I am looking to move back into industry and have applied for controller and senior analyst positions. I have only sent out 4 resumes so far and had one interview for a controller position with a manufacturer. I live in a smaller town with lots of manufacturers and some recruiters have pointed out that I do not actually have experience working in manufacturing, while others have acted like I could easily handle a plant controller position. In your experience, is actual experience in manufacturing necessary, or do some manufacturers value my experience in public almost equally? Since manufacturing is so prevalent in the area I live, I would really like to get in with a manufacturer.

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