WE ARE HIRING: Tips for Navigating an Accounting Career Fair
We get it—navigating an accounting career fair can be nerve-wracking. But guess what? You’ve got this, and we’re here to help.
Before entering that career fair, remember that preparation is your secret weapon. After all, this isn’t just about any job; it’s about finding the perfect fit for your accounting career. So, get ready whether you’re gearing up for graduation or thinking about switching careers.
Let’s dive in together.
Get the Inside Scoop on Accounting Firms
We’re starting with one of the most crucial steps: researching the accounting firms you want to impress.
Here’s how you can do it like a pro:
- Website Deep Dive: Start with their website. It’s a goldmine! Pay special attention to their “About Us” page—learn their story, culture, and what makes them tick. Don’t forget to peek at their mission statement and core values.
- Services: Scope out the services they offer. Do they specialize in tax, audit, advisory, or all of the above? Knowing their strengths will help you tailor your pitch.
- News & Buzz: Look for recent news articles, press releases, social media, and blog posts on their site. This step will give you the lowdown on their latest achievements and projects. Trust us, mentioning their recent wins in your conversation will earn you some serious brownie points.
Remember, researching ahead of time isn’t just about impressing them; it’s about finding the right fit for your accounting career.
Thoughtful Questions and Responses
Now, let’s put that information you’ve gathered to work.
- Highlight the Right Stuff: When chatting about your qualifications and experiences, note what matters most to each firm. For example, if they’re all about nonprofit accounting, ensure your relevant experience in that sector takes center stage.
- Show the Connection: Make the connections so they don’t have to. Spell out how your skills match up with their objectives. Explain how your unique talents can help them reach their goals or tackle their challenges.
- Embrace enthusiasm: Express genuine excitement about the firm and the possibility of working there. Share what interests you most—maybe it’s their impressive client base, industry focus, or company values.
- Elevator Pitch: Lastly, be ready to impress with your elevator pitch. Think of it like your professional TL;DR. Keep it concise, polished, and packed with the most relevant bits from your resume. It should let them know you’d be a good candidate and leave them eager to learn more.
When it comes to first impressions, focus on feeling confident.
Here’s where to start:
- Dress for Success: This may seem obvious, but fidgeting with an uncomfortable piece of clothing all day will distract you. Choose an outfit that exudes professionalism and makes you feel good. When you feel good, you’ll look confident.
- Friendly Approach: Confidence and approachability go hand in hand, but sometimes we have to fake it to make it. If you’re feeling a bit unsure, remember that you can never go wrong by being yourself (the professional version).
Asking the Right Questions
- Accounting Firm DNA: Ask questions like, “Can you describe the firm’s company culture and values?” This question will show your interest in aligning with their ethos.
- Navigating Your Growth: Let them know you’re focused on your professional journey by asking about growth opportunities. “What opportunities for professional growth and development does the firm offer?” is a question that says, “I’m here to evolve and contribute.”
They should be prepared to answer.
For example, at LSWG, we’re committed to helping every team member grow to their full potential, so we offer the following:
- Educational Assistance Reimbursement
- Continuous Learning
- Paid registration cost to sit for the CPA exam
- Leadership Development
- and much more
A Spotlight on Soft Skills
Technical skills may be the foundation, but your soft skills build the bridges.
Here’s how to showcase your soft skills at an accounting fair:
- The Power of Storytelling: Don’t just tell them about your soft skills; show them through storytelling. Share specific, real-world examples from your past experiences where your soft skills made a positive impact.
- Adaptability & Problem-Solving Prowess: Highlight your adaptability, problem-solving abilities, and attention to detail. Let them know you thrive in high-pressure situations, handling challenges with grace and precision.
Accounting is not just about numbers; it’s about working with clients, colleagues, and teams effectively. If you do a good job highlighting your soft skills, it can set you apart as a candidate.
Networking and Building Connections
Networking can be awkward. But it’s the name of the game in an accounting career, and we’re here to help you navigate it.
After the event, don’t drop the ball:
- Connect and Collect: As you mingle, be sure to collect contact information from the professionals you meet. LinkedIn is your best friend here; connect with them to keep the conversation going.
- The Power of Follow-Up: Send a heartfelt thank-you email to those you connected with and express your gratitude for their time and insights. It’s a simple gesture that leaves a lasting impression. Remember to include something specific about your interaction in your email. They probably met many people, so the more you evoke your personal experience with them, the more likely they will remember you and engage.
Navigating Setbacks with Grace: Handling Rejections
It’s essential to remember that not every interaction will lead to an offer. Here’s how to navigate those moments with poise:
- Acknowledge the Reality: Understand that in the world of accounting career fairs, not every interaction will result in an offer or immediate success. It’s a part of the process, and it doesn’t define your worth or potential.
- Learn and Adapt: Use these experiences as opportunities to learn and adapt. Ask for feedback if appropriate, and use it to improve your approach for the future.
- Stay Resilient: Rejections are a part of the journey, and they can often lead to unexpected, better opportunities down the road.
Remember, it’s not about how many times you fall but how you rise after each setback that truly matters. Keep moving forward!
Navigating an accounting career fair might feel like a rollercoaster ride of nerves and excitement, but you’ve hopefully learned by now that the more you prepare and practice, the better it gets.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Learn about the firms ahead of time. Everything starts from here.
- Ask thoughtful questions to see if the accounting firm is the right fit for you.
- Dress for confidence.
- Don’t underestimate the power of your soft skills.
- Learning to build connections isn’t just about getting your next job. It’s for your career.
- Reframe rejection as an opportunity.
At LSWG, we are always eager to meet talented individuals like you and welcome them into the accounting profession. Look for us at the next accounting event near you, or take that next step and explore our current accounting job openings. The adventure begins now.