Prepare for Success at Meet the Accounting Firms!

The tips below will help you prepare for stellar networking at Meet the Accounting Firms on October 10th, 6-8pm in Price Center Ball Room A. Take a moment this weekend to read them over and ready yourself for the accounting networking event of the year!

Not an accounting student?  Not a problem – some of these tips can apply to business students attending networking events or interviews, as well.

What to wear
Dress for the event is professional.
Men: Wear a suit (black recommended) with a conservative-colored tie and dress shoes.
Women: Wear a suit (black recommended) with conservative-colored blouse and dress shoes (HEELS NO HIGHER THAN 3 INCHES), minimal make up and accessories.

Don’t have a suit? You’ve got the weekend to shop!

What to bring
• Resume (What should my resume look like? Review the Job Search Handbook PAGE 7 for an “Alex Accounting” template)
• A professional portfolio to hold your resume (no wrinkled resumes, please)

How to prepare
It is important to research the companies and firms that will be in attendance before the event. A Google search of “Firm Name + Careers” will give you great insight into what the company does, what they are seeking in a candidate, and what their corporate culture is like. Doing research will help you prepare for conversation with the recruiters.

Registered Firms and Companies (do your research!):
• AKT LLP
• BDO USA
• Becker Professional Education
• California State Auditor
• CBIZ MHM, LLC
• Defense Contract Audit Agency
• Deloitte
• Employment Development Department
• Ernst & Young LLP
• Gattio, Pope & Walwick LLP
• JGD & Associates LLP
• KPMG LLP
• Lavine Lofgren Morris Engelberg, LLP
• Life Technologies
• Moss Adams
• PROVEN Staffing Consultants
• Roger CPA Review
• RPR Partners, LLP
• Squar Milner

Good starting point questions for recruiters
Ask questions that begin with the word “what” or “how.” These types of questions create conversation. If you ask a person “Do you like your job?” they will say “yes” or “no” and the conversation ends there. If you ask a person “What do you like about your job?” it opens up a friendly conversation.
• What is a typical day like for a new associate at Firm Name?
• What is the best part about your job?
• What are some challenges at entry level associates encounter?
• What are some of the benefits of working for a large/small firm? (Do your research so you know which are the large and which are the small firms!)

Be prepared to answer
• Why you are interested in Firm Name? (Do your research!)
• Why did you choose to study accounting?
• Which field of accounting do you want to pursue? Tax or Audit or Advisory? (You must choose one. Recruiters won’t know which hiring department to forward you to unless you pick one area to pursue. Do your research to decide which to pursue!)
• Your preferred location (pick a city or location you want to live in after you graduate. Again, you must choose one, otherwise recruiters won’t know where to forward you. Do your research to find out where Firm Name has locations)
• What accounting coursework have you completed?
• Do you plan to pursue your CPA license? What is your plan? How will you meet the new requirement that will take effect January 1, 2014? (Don’t know about the new requirements? Review the new Tip Sheet. The blue sections are the existing requirements; the green and red sections are the new requirements. You may need to take extra accounting or ethics classes after you graduate! Consider graduate school, a continuing education program like UCSD Extension, or community college)

Prepare in advance
• Make a list of your goals and accomplishments, memorize it. These can be your leadership roles, your academic successes and awards, your job aspirations and skills (Any job experience is ok! Worked in fast food? Well then you must have great customer service skills).
• 2-3 questions to ask the firms and companies
• Practice out loud!!! In the mirror or to a friend. Practice your handshake, making eye contact, introducing yourself, speaking about yourself, and your questions for the recruiters. Practicing out loud will boost your confidence.

Do Not
• Call an accounting firm a “company.” Consulting and accounting companies are called firms. Life Technologies is a company. Deliotte is a firm. (Do your research!)
• Ask recruiters about confidential financial details about their firm or their clients. Instead, keep the conversation light and friendly.
• Ask about salary. Leave that discussion for when they offer you a job. You can find salary info on your own at salary.com.
• Talk about yourself too much. Show you are interested in them and their company or firm by asking them questions.
• Hang out at the snack table. Eat before the event so you can spend more time networking and zero time eating.
• Be afraid! Recruiters are here because they want to recruit UCSD students. Prepare yourself by practicing, smile when you meet people, and have confidence in yourself. If you are nervous, start out small: talk to non-recruiters like Becker Professional education, or me (Christina Martinez, your Rady Academic Advisor! 🙂 ). Or, many firms will bring along a junior staff member closer to your age. Start a conversation with them, then move over to speak with the senior person.

After the event
Send a thank you note to employers you had a good connection with and who gave you a business card. You may ask for their business card, politely, after you have a good conversation with them. A good way to ask is: “It was great to meet you and learn more about Firm Name. I would like to follow up with you. May I have your business card?”

Review the Job Search Handbook PAGES 29-30 for thank you note tips

And one more reminder…
Do your research!

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