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Networking & Recruiting
By Angela Roberts, CPA
Have you ever heard the phrase...
"It's not what you know, but who
Well, the old saying is alive and well!
I'm sure you didn't enroll in
Recruiting 101 or Networking for
Business, but what you didn't learn
could hurt you. Its true recruiting
and networking are two critical
business skills they don't teach in
college and the majority of
accountants deem immaterial (a little
accounting humor), until necessary.
However, understanding recruiting will jump start your
career and understanding the value of networking will keep
A network is defined as an informally interconnected group
or association of persons (as in friends or professional
colleagues). The professors and students in your class will
be your peers for years to come, the study groups you
participate with now will become your professional network!
A career in accounting will mean working with teams to
strategize and solve problems. We all learn thru sharing our
knowledge and information. Your network will be
references for you and points of reference for you in
learning and making decisions. Connecting and sharing
with good people will be critical for your career no matter
what path you take. Networking is done anywhere and
anytime, in your personal life on the ski slopes, the golf
courses and cocktail parties. Don't be afraid to network,
shake hands and introduce yourself. This is how people and
businesses grow. Your ability to lend a hand or share your
knowledge is always valued. In a world of text messaging
and e-mails it's easy for people to stay connected. Staying
in touch will help you grow your network and quite possibly
connect you with your next accounting position.
Networking will undoubtedly provide you with opportunities
to learn, share and grow.
There are several accounting organizations that provide a
forum for networking, the Colorado Society of CPA's, the
local chapters of Institute of Internal Auditors www.iia.org,
the Institute of Management Accountants www.imanet.org,
and the various industry organizations also provide great
networking events to meet and learn.
It's wise to remember that the purpose of a networking
event is to meet potential business contacts and to have
them meet you. I once read you are supposed to hold your
drink in your left hand, because the right hand is the one
you will be using to shake hands with people you are
supposed to meet and a cold and clammy hand would not
make a good impression. I was also told to put your name
tag on your right shoulder, thus while shaking hands, your
greeter can focus on your name, and hopefully remember it
after the cocktail! Searching for conversation? Offer to
introduce people, share a great book you've read and have
Building a strong network will provide opportunities both
professionally and personally. Go the extra mile and share
your network, it might land someone else a great
opportunity. Remember who you network with today you
might be working for tomorrow.
Recruiting defined by the Merriam-Webster online
dictionary defines recruit "to seek to enroll (recruit
prospective students)". Every year companies send out
their top recruiters to colleges and start identifying future
employees they will court and interview for positions in
their company. It starts with networking among the
student accounting societies. This is where networking and
socializing might initially be difficult for those reserved
accountants. It truly doesn't matter if you're shy or
outgoing, every personality is welcome. Just remember a
few important notes.
The Beta Alpha Psi accounting societies are a great place to
start. The professors at your college can guide you in
making connections and joining circles of influence to
assist you in starting a map for your career. The Colorado
Society of CPA's is also a great place to join as a student
member and help you find a mentor to help you chart your
path, just visit online at www.cocpa.org for more
information. Joining and participating in these accounting
societies provides many opportunities for recruiting,
including the opportunity to intern during your college
years. Internships are great for college students!
I have to admit that in the midst of studying for finals my
junior year, I still had not heard of the Big 4 (ok, it was the
Big 8 then). However, getting involved with Beta Alpha Psi
provided me the opportunity to submit a resume for a
"mock" interview. Yes, the resume was small and mostly
consisted of positions in restaurants, regardless, I did pull
one together and managed to interview with 3 different
companies. The IRS "mock" interview was ruthless, I'm not
sure I even understood all the questions! However, the
interview process was an excellent experience. This
exercise gave me the understanding and tools to better
prepare for the questions of the "real world" that everyone
talks about. This is where I learned the value of recruiting
and how the process worked.
When graduation is over the students that understood both
recruiting and networking will probably already know
where they are going to work!