Careers: Top 7 Tips for On Campus Recruiting Season
With on campus recruiting around the corner we all remember how overwhelming it can be. Everybody here went through the recruiting process and we’ve put together a list of our top 7 tips for students participating in on campus recruitment to help you prepare and start your career in public accounting.
- Do your homework: about the firm and the industry. Nobody you will meet during recruitment expects you to be an expert about their firm or accounting but they do expect you to ask educated questions and be knowledgeable about the field you are going into. It’s important to learn about each firm you are interested in. Make sure you go into recruiting events knowing about each firm’s specialties and structure. Also make sure you know how the CPA process works, that way you can focus on the opportunities and culture of each firm.
- Practice an elevator pitch: If you had one minute to sell yourself what would you say? What differentiates you from another candidate? Why are you going into accounting? What do you love to do outside of school and work? Most people save these key facts for their interviews but you would be surprised how important it is to make a memorable first impression and stand out from the crowd. Remember that firms meet a lot of equally qualified candidates, so try to include an interesting or memorable fact about yourself so it is you who stands out from the crowd! Take some time to run through your pitch with friends or family before so you can casually slip it into conversation.
- Don’t forget business cards at home: Recruiters meet a lot of students during recruiting season. You want them to remember you! Be sure to exchange business cards with your key information such as your name, school and expected graduation date. You can even include a photograph and link to your LinkedIn profile. (Remember your business cards don’t need be fancy as long as they contain your essential information)!
- Speak to as many reps as possible: you never know who makes the final recruiting decision so it’s important to talk to everyone you meet and treat everyone with respect regardless of their level – always put your best foot forward. The more people you talk to, the more you will learn about the firm, the culture and the type of experience you will have when you start working. As you meet more people you will start to notice similarities between the people and a given firm and this will help you to get a better feeling about what a given firm is truly all about.
- Ask meaningful questions: Stay away from general questions that would have been answered during the information session or that can be researched on the firm’s website. Your time is limited during recruiting so be sure to ask questions that you really want the answer to; whether it is about charity work and community initiatives, training and mentorship programs the questions you ask firms representatives will not only help you to figure out what firm you want to work at but they will also give the firm a better idea of who you are.
- Take the time to say thank you: If you want to stand out from the crowd take a few minutes after each recruiting event and send a thank you note or email to the people who you’ve met. Whether you met for a few minutes at an information session at school or participated at a firm tour; saying thank you shows that you are interested and appreciate the time firm representatives took to answer your questions. Believe it or not this small gesture keeps you at the top of the recruiter’s mind.
- Make the best choice for you: If you are in a position where you receive multiple offers you have to make a tough decision on where you want to work. Don’t pick a firm based on where your friends are working or on where you may feel outside pressure to choose. Take time and ask yourself some important questions. Where do you see yourself working and fitting in? Where do you have the greatest chance to learn and grow professionally? Where did you feel like you fit in the best? It’s time to make your mark in the professional world so ensure you are making the right choice for YOU.
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