Are you looking to land an internship at an accounting firm? Nervous about recruiting? Unsure of what to expect? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then you have come to the right place!
Recruiting can be difficult and stressful for some people but it doesn’t have to be. ASA has developed this recruiting guide based on our own experiences in order to help fellow accounting students be more successful. By following these tips, you will be better equipped with the right tools to help you land that internship!
Part One: Preparation
Recruiting season is a very busy time with many big events and fast approaching deadlines. This is why it is crucial to have your resume and cover letters prepped beforehand. By preparing your applications early, you will be able to focus your time and energy on attending networking events rather than rushing to submit. This is also a good opportunity to get your resume and cover letters reviewed with your career advisor before you submit your applications. While this guide is meant mostly for recruitment, some helpful tips for your resume and cover letters are:
- Highlight your strengths and what makes you unique.
- Draw from a variety of experiences including but not limited to any relevant work experience(s), volunteering, and student clubs.
- Be honest.
- Showcase your personality.
It is best to start your job search on the Haskayne CareerLink/Elevate and look over their more detailed guides for tips and tricks on writing resumes and cover letters before scheduling a meeting with your career advisor. Take a look at the sample cover letters and resumes, and use them as a guide when building your own.
To access the Haskayne Elevate: https://elevate.ucalgary.ca/myAccount/haskayne/resources/accounting_resources.htm
Part Two: Scheduling Events
Both the ASA website and CareerLink have calendars detailing when and where recruiting events are taking place. Attend as many events as you can, as many of the same recruiters from the firms attend multiple events, which gives you a better chance of building connections, ensuring you stand out and are remembered. Some of the fall recruiting events ASA and CareerLink host include These events are all designed with students in mind to help ease you into networking in a more fun and casual environment, as well as bring a variety of firms in one place. This way, students are exposed to as many firms possible. Keep in mind that some events will require you to register on CareerLink before attending and may penalize you if you don’t show up and fail to cancel in a timely manner. Some events fill up fast, so be sure to sign up early for the events you are interested in. Finally, be sure to check out the ASA calendar for all of the upcoming events.
Part Three: Networking
Networking can be the most challenging part of recruiting for most students. One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding networking is that it is a one-way relationship where only students are interested in meeting recruiters and that the recruiters hold all the power. In reality, and many recruiters will tell you this, recruiters are just as eager and interested to meet you as you are to meet them. After making this realization, it makes networking much less stressful. Here are some easy and important things to remember when attending networking events:
- Be yourself – It is difficult to pretend to be someone you are not and recruiters can often tell when someone is not being themselves.
- Practice makes perfect– Your comfort level will grow with each event you attend so keep building those relationships and you will eventually ease into them.
- Come prepared with thoughtful questions – Recruiters often hear the same questions over and over again; if you can come up with something unique to talk about, chances are they will remember you. Research about the firms that will be present and prepare some insightful questions.
- Be polite – While being polite will not land you a job alone, being rude will ensure you don’t.
- Engage with other students – Firms like to see that you can include and get along with others, if you see someone trying to join in the conversation, let them in. This is also a great opportunity for you to meet new people.
- Don’t dominate or linger – Be mindful of the recruiters’ time and allow other students an opportunity to talk and ask their questions. Try to keep your conversations under 10 minutes and after exchanging business cards politely thank the recruiter for their time.
- Dress for success – Every recruiting event has a dress code, stick to it or you will stick out for the wrong reason. Don’t wear a suit to CPA Softball and don’t wear sneakers to the Big 4 Workshop Tour. The CareerLink has a guide for dressing appropriately that you can check out if you’re unsure. A sharp outfit may even give you a bit of a confidence boost!
- Talk to as many firms and different recruiters as you can – Make an effort to speak to as many firm representatives as possible, this way you will have a better understanding about the firm culture.
Networking with recruiters will give you all the information you need to know about the application process, positions available, and more about the firm itself. Networking will also give you useful information to integrate into your cover letters and ensure that recruiters remember you when going through applications. It is important to follow up with firm representatives; if you have a good conversation with someone, ask for their business card and send them an email shortly after the event or even ask them for coffee to continue your conversation. If you see a recruiter again that you met at a previous event, be sure to talk to them again to further build your relationship. If you are really nervous about recruiting, reach out to ASA on our Contact Us page and be sure to attend the workshops and seminars.
Part Four: Applications
Application openings and deadlines vary from firm to firm, so be sure to either ask recruiters during networking events to confirm or check out their websites for important dates. Company websites will often have their own internal application process, so it’s a good idea to log onto their websites and create a profile in order to access and save their job postings for when you are ready to apply. CareerLink also allows you to access most of the available job postings so you can easily search for jobs you are interested in and apply to them.
The application process is a critical step, so be sure to take your time when you are filling out your applications, that means making sure company names are spelled correctly, addresses are correct, and all required documents are included. Each firm might request different information from you, so be sure to double check everything before you submit and do not wait until the last minute. Mistakes, regardless of how insignificant they may seem, send a bad message to firms about your ability to follow detailed instructions. Be sure to look over your application and confirm that you have included all the necessary documents.
We hope this guide helps you feel a bit more comfortable and prepared this upcoming recruiting season! We hope to see you at the networking events and good luck!
If you have any questions, please reach out to us through our Contact Us page!
To download this recruiting guide as a PDF, click on ASA-Recruiting-Guide.