If you are planning to do an internship, you need to attend Meet the Firms ONE WEEK FROM TODAY (9/6)! No ifs, ands, or buts about it...this is your chance to network with all of the premier employers on campus, and allow them to put a face with your resume. I repeat - you will inhibit a successful job search by not going to this event. I cannot stress it enough!
For those of you who are underclassmen, this event is still important to you. The advice I always give students is, even if you don't speak to any firms, it is in your best interest to go to the event and do a "dress rehearsal." What I mean by this term is that it's so helpful to go through the motions just to be familiar with how the event looks and feels. This guarantees that when it's your turn to be recruited (junior year), you know exactly what to expect and you're ready for it! Don't be afraid to tell the firms that you are early in your ACCT curriculum and attending the event to learn more about the employers and career paths. I still advise following my steps below to ensure you make the best possible impression.
My Rules For A Good Meet the Firms Performance:
Do Your Homework on the Employers: When I was a campus recruiter, it was always my pet peeve when a student walked up to our table and knew NOTHING about our firm! Don't fall victim to this common faux pas, and conduct a brief research session on any employer you plan to visit. What locations do they have, what is their approximate size, and what is something they brag about? For the list of employers that you can expect to see at this semester's Meet the Firms, consult the Employer Profile Book. This is a downloadable PDF that has information about employers by size & location to guide your research. I send separate email with logistical info, including booth locations for these employers - READ IT!
Have a Game Plan: The event is only 2 hours, and there will be 50 employers with exhibits. If you do the math, that means you can only spend 2.4 minutes per employer if you visit all of them. Not happening! This means that you should devise a list of the employers that you KNOW you want to see (e.g. the ones in locations that interest you), and the ones that you will visit if you have some extra time at the end. Budget the approximate amount of time you can spend with each one so you don't end up short at 8 pm (e.g. if you have 10 firms/companies you want to see, know that you can spend about 12 minutes with each). A floor plan can be found here.
Know your Location/Service Area (Your "Elevator Speech"): Two questions that you'll receive when approaching a firm are, "Where do you want to work, and what do you want to do?" While this is not the only thing that a firm rep will ask (you'll have fun getting to know them, I promise!), it's definitely the most common lead-in so they'll know who to introduce to you at their booth. Your answers to these questions are very important to your overall recruitment process and the direction it takes.
Location Preferences: I know I've been through this before, but you should intern where you want to work full-time, and have at least 2 RANKED city preferences (and ideally recruit with firms in location #1). If you have below a 3.2 GPA, you should exercise caution with selecting locations outside of the Georgia/Alabama area, as you will begin to limit your employer options to the national firms, who have stricter GPA requirements. If you look at our list of employers and their locations, you will understand where the majority of opportunities are for AU students. If going somewhere out of our immediate geography, have a concrete reason for wanting to go there (family is a great one!) and be sure you've visited that city before. Avoid saying, "Anywhere in the Southeast," as firms want to see that you have a desire to work in their location specifically.
Service Area Preferences: Most of the larger firms will ask you what you want to specialize in at their firm - Audit, Tax or Advisory. This answer may be a bit of a moving target for you, as you may change your mind as you get to know more about the daily activities involved with that area. However, it's always best to say SOMETHING, as opposed to "I'm open," which portrays a lack of commitment altogether. If you're not sure of what Audit, Tax & Advisory do, click HERE. Audit and Tax are the most common choices. Advisory is a newer service area, so not all firms will be hiring that profile. We also have the Corporate/Industry route - which is an alternative to starting your career in public accounting.
Print Your Resume: At Meet the Firms, your resume is your calling card. If you do not drop a resume off with every employer that you are interested in or would like to interview with, they are not aware of your interest. For this reason, you should print off PLENTY of resumes (at least 25) on nice resume paper to hand to at least one person at every firm. Do not print off a bunch of copies in the Lowder Lab - this flimsy paper does not make a good impression! You can buy resume paper at any office supply store – HERE is an example. Keep your resumes clean and crisp in a leather(like) padfolio that you carry with you.
Dress for Success: Meet the Firms is business casual for employers, but all students should dress in BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL attire. What is business professional? A suit! Remember, dress for the job that you WANT, not the one you have. Men, shave and get a haircut; Ladies, avoid wearing too much perfume and jewelry. Everyone should make sure their attire is neatly pressed and doesn’t distract from what is really important - you and your resume!
Before Leaving Each Table, Drop Resume, Request Business Card: If you visit a table, they should have a copy of your resume before you leave. If you forget, it's fine to circle back and give one to the person you spoke to before the end of the event. Do not leave the AU Hotel unless you know that each firm you saw has a record of your interest. If you make it a habit to request the person's business card in exchange for your resume, you'll amass a good number of contacts at the firms. If you meet a lot of folks, this list will start to run together, so it's always good to write notes about the person you met on the back of their card after you leave the table (this can be in between tables or you can go into the auditorium adjoining the exhibit areas). These notes will assist you with your follow-up efforts, which are outlined below.
Say THANK YOU: Not only is it important to express your gratitude for the professionals' time (after all, some of them drove two+ hours one way to see us!), sending a follow-up thank you email or note is a good way to solidify your name in their minds. Remember that business card you grabbed and wrote notes on about your conversation? This is a great way for you to jog that person's memory about who YOU are. For example, if you wrote "Bob just graduated from the MAcc program and traveled abroad this summer," you can incorporate that into your follow up message to Bob. As for whether to go the snail mail or email route, it's up to your discretion. Just know that snail mail may take a while to reach your intended recipient, and you may not get a response. Email is instantaneous, and the best route to take if you have a question to ask . Either method is much appreciated by the professionals!
Apply for Jobs in Handshake by Friday, September 8th at 11:55 pm: If you’re seeking employment in 2018 (internship or full-time), the final step for your fall Meet the Firms experience is to ensure that you have applied for ALL of the employers that you’re interested in working for on Handshake. You may have met a new firm/company you hadn’t previously considered, or decide to withdraw your application from one that is not a cultural fit for you. Unless you already hold an offer, you should apply to approximately six (6) employers on Handshake. If you have a lower GPA (3.0 or below), you should apply to more than six employers to ensure you have some good options. You are required to interview with any employer you apply to, so only apply to positions you could see yourself accepting. JUNIORS:You can apply to internships that you qualify for in Handshake, but you also may want to use Meet the Firms as a time to gather information about summer leadership programs (2-3 day summer conferences for select rising seniors) - that application process is in the spring.
GOOD LUCK ON WEDNESDAY!! I'll be there to give a pep talk to anyone that needs it.