In this day and age where large and small businesses are looking for every possible way to track, control, and lower their expenses, the need for accountants has only grown. If you are a young business or finance graduate or an MBA holder, you are one step closer to getting an accounting job and starting a great and rewarding career.
While having a finance or business degree or an MBA is great for those looking to start a career in accounting, they still need to beat the competition, which includes hundreds of thousands of other graduates vying for the same kind of job. In order to filter out the best among the competition, most large and medium sized accounting firms have set up internships.
These internships give employers an opportunity to sample newly hired accounting professionals without actually committing themselves seriously from their end. An internship is good for the accountant too, giving them the chance to see if they like the job and the company as well. Nevertheless, there is no denying that getting an internship can be difficult. Given below are eight tips to help you land one:
Maintain the right attitude
Internships can be either paid or unpaid, but even the paid ones do not offer much of a monetary reward for the work you do. Paid internships with a good package are extremely rare and difficult to get, so you need to be mentally ready to accept a low-paying or even an unpaid internship and deal with being unpaid or poorly paid with 8-10 hours of grunt work and training.
Get enough credits and GPA
A lot of universities and colleges do not allow students to seek an internship if their GPA is below a certain level or if they do not have enough credits. Check with your university and find out the specific rules and cutoffs, and make sure you pass them.
Write a good resume
A good resume should tell recruiters that you are ready to start an accounting internship. You can find a lot of expert advice online on how to write a good resume, so read what you can. Highlight your major qualifications and strengths right in the first half of your resume, especially if you have experience in certain specific areas of a business, like auditing and compliance, financial and strategic planning, accounting standards, profit and loss management, etc. Check out accounting resumes online at sites like AccountingResumes.net and CareerBuilder.com to spark some ideas if you are unsure of how to go about putting together a high quality resume.
Join an accounting fraternity
An accounting fraternity can open up many new opportunities and internships for you. You can join a local chapter and attend their functions and meetings to learn about these opportunities. You could also make good contacts within the industry by talking to the alumni.
Have an advisor or mentor
Almost every school has a career advisor who can help give you some information about available internship programs. You can find more opportunities at career fairs and events too. During these events, you can share your business cards with company representatives and industry professionals.
The right appearance counts a lot, especially when you are going for an interview for an internship or meeting possible and existing industry contacts. Accounting firms are especially formal, so remove any metal piercing, and hide your visible tattoos.
Get written details
If you do get an internship, make sure to get the details like the duration of the internship, the hours of work, the department you will work in, and the stipend you earn during the internship in writing. Written specifics help protect you later on.
Verify the internship before agreeing
Before you agree to the internship, talk to your career advisor or mentor and see if it meets the requirements set by your school, if any.