My first day at the CPA firm started this week! The training has been intense, but everyone has been very nice and understanding. There are almost 40 people in my training class, and I've spent a bit of time getting to know the other new hires and interns.
It's been interesting talking to them to discover how they came to know about and interview at my firm. After a lot of insightful and encouraging discussion, one theme became clear: the importance of networking in finding a job during or after college.
So if you’re currently an undergraduate or just graduated, here are some of the networking platforms you should take advantage of to land your next position or internship.
Take advantage of your college's career fairs throughout your time there. When attending, have an updated copy of your resume and a five-minute elevator pitch to offer prospective employers. Career fair reps meet hundreds of students so your task is to stand out and get noticed.
Therefore, ask thoughtful, unique questions of the employer and talk about your career aspirations, not just a job. Dress well as this is your opportunity at giving a stellar first impression. Be sure to collect the contact information of all the people you speak with to inquire about next steps and to connect on social media.
Joining an extracurricular club not only boosts your resume when job hunting, but also exposes you to industry leaders as well. If your college has an accounting or business club, there are many benefits if you decide to join. You could possibly go on field trips to local CPA firms and/or have influential guest speakers at events.
If you attend a presentation, talk with the speaker once it is over to get a business card and tell him or her about your goals. Don’t be afraid to reach out via email to follow up. You may be able to acquire a new mentor from simply sending a follow up email.
Many top accounting firms utilize LinkedIn as the number one social media platform to find and screen their potential new hires. They also use it as a way to plug in to the world around them and contribute articles and commentary about what is going on in their industry. They’re the thought leaders in the accounting world online.
Because of this, it’s important that you keep your profile up to date, upload a professional photo, input a clear, focused headline and use a lot of keywords to make sure your profile can be easily searched by recruiters. Be sure your grammar/spelling is impeccable too!
I've personally found success when I was in my Master's program with networking with classmates before or after class. It's a convenient way to discover how others are getting their foot in the door early on. I was able to use my classmates as a personal reference and it helped immensely during the interview process.
So if you’re not already networking with your own peers, this is something I highly recommend you do. You may find out some really helpful advice or interesting tidbits you didn’t consider before that could otherwise help get you noticed by recruiters and firms.
--Shannon Neumeyer, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review