Many accounting students enter Auburn’s program with the long-term goal of completing an internship. Whether it be in public accounting or in industry, an internship is a fantastic way to gain valuable experience in the accounting profession, grow as a professional, and build new relationships. However, the recruiting process for an accounting major can be rather complex, and it takes many students several semesters before they become comfortable navigating these unchartered waters.
Over the past three years, I have had the privilege of participating in the recruiting process with many of my peers and interacting with many different employers across the accounting profession. Through countless accounting socials, interviews, and other accounting-related events, I have gained quite a bit of knowledge on the recruiting process. I have concluded that three essential tips will not only bolster a student’s chances during the internship hunt, but also to help them to further enjoy the process.
First and foremost, know where you want to work, and why. One of the biggest advantages of being an accounting student is the opportunity to live and work in a variety of different places. Whether it be in your hometown or a completely new environment, there are countless great places to work. Furthermore, many firms have multiple office locations (some firms are local/regional, while others operate on a national or global scale) so there are likely to be multiple office locations available within a given firm. However, at some point, it is necessary to make a personal decision on location preference to continue progressing throughout the recruiting process. I personally felt that solidifying a location preference gave me both peace and excitement, as living in a new city brings many new adventures. Lastly, I find it important to know why you want to go to the location that you choose. Answering “Why?” is not only practical, but it also personable. Having a solid reason as to why you wish to go to the location of your choice is a great way to further conversation.
In addition to knowing your location preference, I find it extremely important to dress appropriately and professionally throughout the recruiting process. Appearance says a lot about a person, and dressing to succeed gives you an added level of confidence as you mingle with employers and peers. All accounting majors should plan to build their professional wardrobe throughout their time in the recruiting process. Many events will require business professional or business casual attire, so students should plan accordingly. Occasionally, there will be “casual” or “nice casual” attire requirements, but it is still important to dress accordingly under these guidelines. Slacks, dress shirts, ties, and a sport coat or two are essential for the recruiting process- but do not let cost become a stress factor. Auburn’s Campus Career Closet is a fantastic resource, and there are other affordable options out there as well.
Most business students know the importance of a strong resume. However, equally important to building your resume is knowing your resume. It is no secret that building a resume is one of the most important aspects of a student’s time at college. However, it is vital that accounting students have a strong understanding of their resume and the activities and accolades that compose it. This is important for two reasons. First- being genuine goes a long way with people. When in an interview or a discussion with an employer, resume questions are likely to come up. When that time arises, you do not want to risk being caught off guard. If you engage in activities that you enjoy and have a deep understanding of the content on your resume, this issue will never present itself. Additionally, building your resume through participating in activities and organizations that you enjoy provides a much more enjoyable college experience. By participating in activities solely for the sake of boosting your resume, you are cheating yourself out of valuable experiences and meaningful relationships. For example, during my time at Auburn, I have participated in Beta Alpha Psi and worked a part-time job. I have made new friends and gained valuable knowledge through both experiences, and I have “professionalized” myself along the way. By getting involved in quality organizations, you will enrich your time here at Auburn, grow as a young professional, and ultimately make yourself a more marketable internship candidate.
Though the internship recruiting process is not simple, it can be a very enjoyable aspect of an accounting student’s time in college. By following these three tips, prospective interns can reduce the intimidation that comes with entering such a crucial process and be successful in their hunt for an awesome internship.