It’s the day of the big CA recruitment event and hopefully you’ve done all the preparing you could possibly do the night before.
The hard work doesn’t stop there, though – now it’s time to put on your game face and get noticed by employers!
(Still have time to prepare? Check out Part 1: How To Plan Ahead For CA Firm Recruitment Events.)
There is no magic trick to standing out, getting noticed and landing a student or entry level job with a CA training office. If you follow these tips and, most importantly, be yourself, you will be well on your way to hatching your career in accounting!
Don’t hand out resumes, but bring business cards
The purpose of CA recruitment events is not to hand out resumes, it’s to learn about the employers and their career opportunities, network, and get noticed. Instead, bring business cards so employers will remember who you are – they likely won’t contact you from your card, but some employers use them to remember students by putting the business cards of their “yes” candidates in one pocket and their “no” candidates in the other.
@talentegg Be confident. Don’t be intimidated by other students. Talk career, not job. Bring your card. Dress professionally but not boring.
— Allison Shillington (@ashillington) September 11, 2012
Ask genuine – but unique – questions
Most campus recruiters have been asked the same questions a million times – don’t be one million and one. Asking common questions for which the answers can easily be found by doing basic research says you haven’t done yours. Think long and hard about what’s unique about you, and use that information to ask questions you really want to know the answers to and which will also tell the employer something unique about you. Most of all, accounting employers are looking for students who fit into their organization, so your questions should also be looking for how the organization fits you.
“I spend a lot of time volunteering in my community and I want to keep giving back after I graduate. How does your firm help its employees do that?”
“I’ve been a tutor and mentor to younger students for the last three years, and it’s been an extremely rewarding experience. Will there be opportunities for me to be mentored, and eventually to mentor more junior colleagues?”
— JAMES DAVIDSON (@voiceofjamesd) September 11, 2012
Have real conversations with employers and other students
You don’t want to be that pushy jerk who hogs the spotlight the entire time. Both corporate and public accountants are often required to collaborate and work in groups, so employers will be watching to see how you interact with your peers too. Bring your fellow students into the conversation when you can to show that you’re a team player, and don’t be afraid to be the strong silent type and just listen for a few minutes.
Pay attention to what other students are saying, and then try to adjust your own questions and discussion points to be more meaningful – and help you stand out.
— CGA Ontario (@CGA_DoMore) September 11, 2012
Collect contact information so you can stay in touch
Don’t leave it up to them to contact you. Collect the full names, business cards, email addresses or Twitter handles of all employer representatives that you interact with so you can stay connected after the event. Connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter and email them to thank them for speaking with you at the event.
This follow-up is also a great opportunity to ask additional questions and get noticed again. Make sure you include information about who you are, where you met them and what sort of career opportunity you’re interested in.
Firm representatives who participate in campus recruitment typically attend multiple events and meet hundreds, sometimes thousands, of students. Chances are they won’t remember you right away, so it’s important to follow all of the steps above to ensure they can actually be reminded of their interactions with you.