Good luck to those who are able to attend summer events with the accounting firms of your choice! Hopefully you are able to make some connections and get a good feel for the culture and environment of the different offices. Here’s a few tips to make the most of the office visits, leadership programs, and social events the firms are putting on.

1) Have fun and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

These events can be fun, at least I had fun at mine. You should be genuinely enjoying yourself and having good conversations.  Being stiff and uptight is not the image you want to give off. Try to relax and forget that your professional future is being determined by your performance at the event.

If you didn’t get invited to an event (yet) then reach out to all of your contacts you have made via meet the firms or networking events, and just send them a simple email saying something like:

“Hey ____, I wanted to check in and see if your office was doing any summer office tours or leadership programs. I really enjoyed meeting with you and would love the chance to hear more about your office.”

If for some reason you haven’t yet made any contacts, reach out to your professors or career center and ask them to get you in contact with the firms. It’s really important to build connections as soon as possible and as many as possible. These summer recruiting events are probably full but they may can make an exception or someone may have a change of plans. If you don’t ask, you won’t get anything.

2) Ask good questions, such as:

  • What do you like about the job?
  • Do you enjoy working in the teams environment?
  • Do you get to travel for your clients?
  • What type of clients do you work on? Do you like that industry?
  • What industries does your office work on primarily? (If asked what industry you’re interested in – it is OK to say you aren’t sure yet. If the office is heavy financial services, and that is your interest, then express that interest)
  • Did you start with (insert firm) after college or did you transfer (transfers between firms happen somewhat often)

Remember that it isn’t really opportunity to show off your technical background in accounting. It really doesn’t set you apart, you’re in the candidate pool because you have good grades, so this is “fit” based and making sure you’re not a weirdo and someone they can put in front of their clients.

3) Follow up with contacts

Get business cards or emails, and follow up with them afterwards. Obviously this is a pretty basic thing you would be surprised how many of the candidates don’t bother to send a thank you email. Here’s  a sample thank you email:

Hey ____,

I just wanted to send a you a quick thanks for spending your time at (event) and talking with me (yesterday/today).

Try to plug in something that was discussed in the conversation, to reinforce a name to a face like:

I’ll definitely have to try out that sushi spot next time I’m in the area

I’ll have to remember to get tickets to that game/concert

Thanks for the advice on not taking partnernship tax next semester

The length of the email is judgmental, but I would prefer shorter rather than longer emails. It is OK to ask a follow up question to get the dialogue continuing, but don’t request something that will take them a long time to gather information and  respond, because something will likely take priority.

Thanks again and enjoy the summer – i’ll look forward to talking with you again at (next recruiting event).