Whether you're new to Meet the Firms (MTF) or a seasoned veteran, it doesn't hurt to refresh your memory on how to be a successful recruit at this critical event. The last MTF we hosted was virtual, so this may be your first in-person accounting career fair experience!
If you are planning to pursue an internship or need a full-time job, you need to attend Meet the Firms! This event is your chance to network with premier employers and allow them to put a face with your resume.
For those of you who are underclassmen, this event is still important to you. Even if you don't speak to any firms at MTF, it is in your best interest to go to the event and do a "dress rehearsal" to see what it's like. When it's your turn to be recruited as juniors, 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. Rules For A Good Meet the Firms Performance:
Before the Event
Do Your Homework on the Firms: Know your employers of interest, especially their office locations, approximate size, and something they brag about. To find out more about these employers, review the employer listing in the Career Fair Plus app. Use the "Drop Resume" button on an employer's profile to send your resume to them in advance and ensure they know you're interested! (This does not replace actually visiting their table, but supplements it).
Have a Game Plan: Review the hotel floor plan and exhibitor map documents (provided in logistical email or using the Career Fair Plus app's in-person fair functionality) to develop your strategy for meeting employers of interest during the two-hour event. When attending the event, budget your two hours (120 minutes) wisely based on the number of employers you want to meet. For example, if you plan to meet 12 exhibitors, you'll have only 10 minutes per exhibit.
Know Your Location Preferences:
- Pursue an internship in the city where you want to work full-time
- Identify & rank two city preferences and recruit with employers in your #1 location preference.
- If your GPA is below a 3.0, 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.
- Most of our accounting employers are located within Alabama/Georgia.
- If your location preference is outside of Alabama/Georgia, you need a concrete reason for wanting to go there (family is a great one!), and be sure you have previously visited that city.
- Avoid saying, "Anywhere in the Southeast," as employers want to see that you have a desire to work in their location specifically.
Know Your Service Area Preferences:
- Most employers will ask about your service area preference - Audit, Tax or Advisory.
- Do your homework about the service areas, and be specific. It's always best to say SOMETHING, as opposed to "I'm open," which portrays a lack of commitment.
- Audit and Tax are the most common service areas, but Advisory is a growing service area.
Print Your Resume:
- If you do not leave a resume with every employer of interest, they are unaware of your interest.
- Print PLENTY of resume copies (at least 25) on professional resume paper to give at least one person at every booth. The OPCD in 101 Lowder will print up to 10 copies for you on resume paper for FREE!
- Keep your resume copies clean and crisp in a leather (or leather-like) padfolio that you carry with you. If you cannot obtain a padfolio, a tasteful folder for your resumes is fine.
At the Event
Dress for Success:
- Recommended attire for students is BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL, but do not buy a suit if you don't own one. Business casual is the minimum attire.
- 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. A low or modest heel is best from a comfort standpoint (you're on your feet for a while!).
- Make sure your 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:
- Provide each employer of interest a copy of your resume.
- Request the employer representative's business card in exchange for your resume.
- Write notes on back of business cards to help you remember details about the employer representative that you met.
- The hotel layout map (provided in your logistics email) will identify the student waiting area where you can make notes on business cards.
- These notes will assist you with your follow-up thank you notes to employer representatives that you met.
- FYI for booth setups: We utilize COCKTAIL TABLES vs. long tables with elaborate displays. This means minimal giveaways and more space for networking. Don't worry, there will be plenty of "freebies" as the process progresses!
Ask the firms about their recruiting timeline; do they have an Summer Leadership Program (SLP) or other opportunity to visit the office?:
Each employer will have a unique timeline for interviewing students for internship opportunities or SLPs. Ask questions of the recruiter to ensure you know what to expect and can plan ahead for application deadlines. These are becoming more common for SOPHOMORES.
SLPs are selective, 2-3 day conferences hosted in the firms' offices aimed to introduce prospective interns to the firm culture. These all-expenses paid conferences typically consist of a mix of career development, firm education, and networking events. Although not all students are ultimately able to attend, you should inquire about them and APPLY. As we learn of these opportunities, the weekly ACCT Recruiting News & Events Newsletters will advertise SLPs and the application/interview details will be posted on the SOA Blog.
After the Event
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 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 loves NASCAR," you can incorporate that into your follow up message to Bob. Email is instantaneous and the best route to take, especially if you have a question to ask.