Before job application deadlines, many of the firms will hold information sessions and networking events to give you an introduction to the company. These events are a great opportunity to meet professionals and explore which firms are a good fit for you. Here are some helpful tips to get ready for networking events.
1. Try to learn more about the company’s service lines (Advisory, Audit, Tax)
If you have decided on which service line you’d like to apply to, then try to talk to professionals within that line. This way you can take some time to ask about the industries (like Technology, Financial Services, Retail) that are common in the area. For example, if you decided to apply to Audit, then you may already have a general understanding of what audits are. Now you can take this opportunity to ask each professional how they conduct in audit in their industry.
If you’re undecided about Advisory, Audit, or Tax, then try to talk to a variety of professionals to get a feel for each service line. Hopefully, by the end of the networking sessions, you will find that one line that fits you best.
2. See if you mesh well with the people
We all know that cliché: I picked X company because of the people. There is a lot of truth to this cliché though, because if you’re working on an intense audit and stuck in a conference room for 12 hours a day with your team – you’d better like the people you’re stuck in that room with.
3. Take notes
During info sessions, firms will give a brief overview of their job opportunities, benefits, and company culture. Take some notes on things that interest you, because these notes might be helpful when you are writing your cover letter, interviewing, or deciding on job offers. For example, a firm might have an international rotational program that sounds perfect for you!
Also, if someone hands you their business card, quickly jot down some notes on the business card to help you remember your conversation with them. When you are writing a thank you email to the person, you can reference your notes to remind them of your conversation.
4. Suit up
If there is a dress code for the event, definitely follow the dress code. Hint: “campus casual” doesn’t mean wear whatever you’d wear to class. A safe choice for “campus casual” would be a pair of jeans/khakis, a nice blouse or shirt, and a blazer.
However, if there is no dress code, then wear the best business clothes you have. Overdressing is better than underdressing, because accounting and finance are still fairly conservative fields. If you don’t have business clothes or a suit yet, try to buy the best-looking formal clothes that you can afford. Looking the part (with your clothes) is sometimes half the battle.
5. Write thank you emails
You don’t have to write a thank you note to each and every person you meet, but if there were a few people that you really got along with, then definitely write them an email to thank them for their time.
6. Finally, don’t dominate the conversation
There is always that one person who dominates the conversation and doesn’t let anyone else talk. Please, don’t be that person.
Networking events are a great way to understand a firm before you apply, so make the most of these events! Good luck!