Written by John Reschke
Well folks, it’s that time of the year again, spring recruiting is about to kick off at college campuses around the country and I can hear nervous excitement when I talk to my fellow students as they prepare. I was in their shoes just last year asking those who came before me, “How did you get your internship?” Since so many of you are pondering that same question, I thought I would kick off my inaugural blog by revealing the “secret” of getting an internship.
The most integral thing I did to land an internship at my first choice firm was join a student professional organization. I can’t emphasize how great of a resource these organizations are; they’re dedicated to helping you build the skills you need to land that internship or job you want.
By joining a student professional organization, you get tons of opportunities to network and meet lots of firms in a short amount of time. At every meeting, a different firm, or even multiple firms, present to the student members and explain what it’s like to work at their company and in accounting in general. Then students get a chance to ask the professionals any questions they have about the industry.
Most student professional organizations also hold regular interview and resume workshops, and these are often taught by the professionals from firms you want interview with. So in addition to polishing your interview skills, you get yet another opportunity to network.
Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t have time for this extracurricular stuff!” and I can understand that. Being a full time member of these professional organizations can take up a lot of your time. Fortunately, there are many student events that happen both on and off campus that are open to everyone regardless of whether you’re a member of the organization. For example, at UCF, the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants hosts a field day in which all students are invited to meet area CPA firms. Some firms even host meet and greets and open houses in their own offices.
For those of you who are already involved in a student professional organization, know that you’re on the right track to landing a great internship. Those of you who aren’t yet, look into your college’s student professional organizations today and make some room on your calendar for their next meeting or event. You’ll be glad you did!
As a final thought, I would like impart some advice one of my McGladrey coworkers shared while presenting at a UCF Beta Alpha Psi meeting that resonated with me very strongly: “If you’re not polishing up your resume and interviewing skills, if you’re not out there networking and meeting people in the profession you aspire to be in, then someone else is.”