Landing a job at a Big Four firm is an esteemed accomplishment. I went through the recruiting process in college. Later, I became involved in recruiting at my own firm. Below are the five tips I wish someone told me when I was being recruited:
1. Grades are almost EVERYTHING
One of the most important screening tools to determine which candidates to invite to an interview is GPA. However, a lot of candidates aren’t entirely sure what their GPA needs to be. When I was in college, a partner straight up told me if you have at least a 3.5 GPA you are golden. If it’s below that, it’s definitely still doable, but you need to have some extra qualities going for you that make you stand out from the rest.
2. Start early
If I’m being honest with myself (and all of you), the main reason I got an offer with my Big Four firm is because I started EARLY in college. As a freshman I was attending career fairs and even “cold-emailing” recruiters at several different firms. As a sophomore I was applying for internships even if they specifically said “juniors only”. When I applied to that job, a partner emailed me saying I needed to be a junior for the internship, but that there was a leadership conference I could attend. That leadership conference ended up being my ticket right into the firm, and it let me completely bypass the entire interview process.
3. Attend (multiple) leadership conferences
The summer before you intern should be spent at leadership conferences with accounting firms. Going off of #2, the best way to get in on these is to individually reach out to recruiters, partners, and anyone you know that got the job at a firm you want to go to. Note that recruiting for these conferences is generally in January/February.
The reason I really want to stress this one is because this is literally how you’ll get your foot in the door. If you go to a leadership conference, you’re set. 99% of the time, attending the conference gives you an internship offer. And 99% of the time, the internship turns into a full-time offer.
4. Gain leadership experience in college
Make sure you’re a leader in at least one organization on campus. Even if it’s a tiny, 10 person club on campus, saying you’re the President / Vice President / Secretary of ANYTHING will give you that extra push to show that you’re involved on campus and a leader. This is what will make you stand apart from the rest.
5. Attend the career fairs
Networking is the key to all of this. Go to career fairs, Beta Alpha Psi events, and accounting events. Shake hands with people who work there. Get to know their experience. That will help you decide if you want to go into audit, tax, or advisory. Plus, you will have someone to vouch for you in the recruiting process.
Also, as a bonus, ask for their business cards/emails and send them a thank you email for networking. A message like this goes a long way to getting you a spot in the door.
These are some tips I learned from my experience, but if others have any other tips to add in – leave a comment below! Also happy to answer any questions you have. DM me on Instagram or shoot me an email.
Lets Get Fiscal