Your First Accounting Job: Tips for Landing It

Tips for landing a job

Entering the workforce requires new graduates to adjust to new rules and expectations. Below you will find a few generally universal tips for landing your first accounting job.

Use the Career Placement Center

At most universities, a career placement center provides services such résumé assistance, facilitating practice interviews and posting job openings. Some top accounting universities provide placement assistance customized for accounting graduates. A career placement center facilitates interviews between recruiters and students. However, the career placement center should not be your only resources for finding a job, as you are competing with your fellow graduates. To get an edge, pursue all avenues available to you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your parents, siblings, friends, and distant relatives, who should all be on the lookout for job opportunities for you

Be Prepared

Landing that first job requires perseverance and an optimistic attitude. Graduates could interview over 100 times before receiving an offer. It is a good idea to have your résumé on hand wherever you go. Better yet, make up some business cards with your contact information and a professional picture. On the back, print an annotated but readable version of your résumé. Keep your business cards in your wallet or pocketbook and hand them out whenever you can. Even if it seems fruitless, every new contact could be valuable. One of these people might meet someone looking for your skills.

Get an Internship

Most accounting graduates are expected to have a summer internship under their belts before starting the search for a full-time position. Most companies look for interns that have completed their third year of college, but it is never too early to start the search. While you may be turned away early on, you will have gained valuable interviewing experience. Even if you come to accounting late in your college career, it’s not too late to look for an internship. Ask your professors and friends for leads. “I didn’t decide on accounting until my junior year,” says Jim Turley,” Chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young. “But a professor told me that the brothers Ernst were looking for an intern.”

No Experience or Internship?

If you missed the boat on finding an internship, it need not ruin your chance of finding a job. In fact, while larger companies may be competing for top candidates with internships, smaller companies may want to hire a quality candidate that they can train. Also consider volunteer work while looking for a job to replace internship experience. Does your church need someone to help with the books? Perhaps you could help out at a parent’s job or help out your fellow non-accounting students with their taxes. Any work you do in the area of accounting would benefit your résumé, and it would also show initiative, a trait companies seek when hiring new graduates.

Above all, always conduct yourself with professionalism during your job search. As a group, accountants are conservative. Interview attire should indicate professionalism. In accounting, clothing is not meant to call attention to itself, but it is meant to allow the interviewer to focus on you and what you have to say. While job searching, remember that every new person you meet could be a job lead, so proper conduct is especially important at this time, particularly when socializing, grocery shopping and even driving. It is never too soon to show professionalism.


About Sara Huter

Sara Huter has over 15 years of experience in the banking and energy industries, and over 10 years as an adjunct professor. Her work has been published for, the International Directory of Company Histories, the Encyclopedia of Business Insights: Global,, and Find out more about Sara at her Google+ Profile.