November 16, 2018

career fairs

Thinking About a Small Firm? Check Out This Virtual Career Fair

If all the recent talk about small firms has got you curious, AccountingFly is hosting a virtual career fair called Advance this Thursday from 1 pm to 5 pm ET that features 68 firms from across the country. You'll have the chance to chat with hiring managers from firms that have current openings, it's free and you […]

Going Concern Wants Your Schwag

Keep your pants on, folks – we’re talking Post-its, t-shirts, and whatever else you got your grubby hands on at this season’s campus recruiting events.

Career fair season is in full swing and many of you have already met with the firms’ campus recruiting teams, waited in line for hours to shake the sweaty palm of a 1st year associate, attended countless Powerpoint-heavy presentations.
u were bound to receive some goodies to go along with the “work-life is amazing here!” speeches. Professionals, I’m sure you hoarded the highlighters and page flags. Because I am pinned to my desk in Midtown and Caleb is busy eavesdropping on Denver coffee shop regulars, we were not able to travel to campuses this semester but we would still like to be kept up to date on the latest and greatest (and lamest) in campus recruiting schwag. Dig through those “green” bags from the career fair and share the accounting firm lovin’ with us.


What to share:

1. Mail us your extras. If you’ve got some great goodies you want to share with us, email Caleb for his address and put that shit in the mail. As a thank you, he’ll return the favor by sending you Going Concern schwag. Nothing says “too cool for management accounting class” like a Going Concern bumper sticker.

2. Take some pictures. Don’t want to part with that leaky coffee mug from Grant Thornton? Did you win a XXL winter PwC fleece at the University of Miami career fair but want to hold on to it “for when it gets chilly”? Send Caleb (suitable for work) pictures of the gear. Bonus points if the EY teddy bear is taking it to the KPMG stuffed puppy.

3. Tell us a story. Did something ridiculous happen at one of the recruiting events? Partners making out with interns? Intern on intern action? Did someone lose an offer because they had one too many flaming nipple shots?

For those of you worried about your privacy…

Come on now, it’s a moot point by now. It’s no secret that this site would not exist without the anonymous sources, tips, career advice questions, and cutthroat comments that you all provide every day. You make this place bearable, welcoming, helpful, and funny as hell.

Think about some of the stories that Caleb has covered here – PwC’s re-branding strategy, KPMG’s random hiring freeze, McGladery firings. Does he ever blow the top on his sources? Do I ever turn around and call the HR department of every firm who’s professionals reach out to us about looking for jobs? Ummmmm…no. We’re grown ups. We respect your decisions and appreciate it when they are relevant to a story for GC.com. You scratch our backs with tips, and we provide you and the rest of the industry an opportunity to sound off.

Why are we doing this?

We want to keep everyone up to date on how their potential bonus money is being spent on frivolous travel alarm clocks, obviously. That, and we thought it’d be fun – brainless, thoughtless, and not-as-negative-as-every-other-story-in-the-news-today kind of fun. Plus, we know that all recruiting efforts are not created equal. What is handed out in Chicago is not what’s thrown your way in Dallas. Do you really think Greendale Community College see the same hand-outs as Lehigh students? Hell no. Share the stories, share the free schwag lovin’.

Career Fairs: The Do’s and Don’ts of Emailing Recruiters

127. That is the number of unread emails in my inbox at this very moment (Wednesday @ 2:28pm). Two meetings, a list of high priority to-do’s, and a number of phone calls to return when I hit my desk before 8:00a this morning. What’s the point? We professionals are busy creatures and as much as we appreciate the thoughtfulness of a “thank you” email when we meet you at a Career Fair, we don’t want to hear about your interest in IFRS issues. In an effort to build off the advice in the comments of Monday’s post, here are some things to keep in mind before hitting send on your thank you email to us.


Do: Keep it short, but personal. When we attend a career fair, we can meet upwards of 200 students in an afternoon. Even if 25% send emails, that’s 50 interspersed amongst our regular business inbox. Keep it short, to the point, but also relevant so it doesn’t seem like you sent the same message to every firm. Tip: reference something professional the two of you spoke about, reference to the recruiter what professional you met, or thank them for the invite to an event later in the week; something to make the connection to your brief in-person encounter.

Don’t: Regurgitate your cover letter. It’s a “thank you” email, not an opportunity to over-sell your candidacy.

Do: Triple check your grammar. Nothing takes you out of the running faster than a misspelled name or the incorrect verb tense in a sentence. Sure, accountants are notoriously bad with spelling and grammar, but leave the misspellings to the managers. When you sign off, go with “sincerely” or “regards” followed by your name.

Don’t: Make us feel old. Mr./Miss/Ms./Mrs. are all off the table. We are not our parents, capisce? More importantly, you need to put yourself on the same level as us. You want to be treated as the adult you are, so speak to us as equals. This goes for everyone up and down the hierarchy (first-year professionals to partners). We’re all on the same level when it comes to addressing us in emails.

Do: Capitalize. keep the lowercase sentences to yourself. and your texting buddies. okay? okay.

Don’t: Attach your résumé. Submit through the website like the recruiter mentioned 32 times.

Do: Keep it light. Remember – we enjoy spending time on campus and interacting with the future of our firms. We had a great time meeting you – remind us of that.

Don’t: Get offended if you do not receive a response. Oftentimes the professionals will just forward the emails to the recruiter to keep track of. You wouldn’t expect a “you’re welcome” note if you were mailing a thank you note, would you?

Big 4 Recruiting Season: Career Fair Tips

Got a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected].

Good afternoon, GC’ers. I’m going to be devoting posts to general campus recruiting advice this week. College students – listen up. Already-employed cohorts – chime in with your own advice. Today I’m going to cover Career Fairs, everyone’s favorite meat market.


Questions you should be ready for – “Did you submit your resume through Career Services? Did you submit our firm’s additional paperwork? When do you graduate? What office are you interested in? Will you be CPA eligible up graduation? What practice are you interested in?” If you know what practiced you’ sure to have your paperwork submitted through the necessary online means. Don’t know what you’re applying for? Read below…

Know what you’re applying for – Nothing worse than talking to a student who is, “Uhhhhhhh, you know, I’m open to anything.” To me, that means you are unfamiliar with my firm’s services and you’re standing in line like a lemming because you know it’s good for you. Do you homework ahead of time about what practice groups are being targeted on your campus. Here’s a hint – focus on the job posts that are on your Career Services site; this is what each firm is focused on and actively recruiting for from your particular school. Don’t see Transaction Advisory Services listed? Probably ain’t gonna happen.

Suit up – Take a piece of advice from Barney Stinson and rock a suit to the Fair. It doesn’t need to be an expensive suit; heck, it doesn’t even have to be yours. Personally, I’m not a fan of the trend of suits becoming the norm at career fairs but it is better to match your competition than to assume “different is better.” Accounting firms are not Google; they breed a conservative culture. Play along, at least until you have an offer.

In an effort to avoid this becoming an Esquire-like blog post, I’ll keep my suit advice simple.

Ladies: Make sure your blouse is comfortably but securely buttoned, and take the potential of taller recruiters (aka wandering eyes) into consideration. Also, avoid hot magenta or any other color that would be included in a pack of highlighters.

Gents: That Calvin Klein tag on the outside of your jacket’s left sleeve? Yeah, that’s supposed to come off. Also, be sure to open your pockets and jacket vents before going to the Fair. It’s always awkward to see a guy trying to stuff a business card into a sewn up pocket.

Relax. Don’t sweat it. – Really, I mean that. Few things are more repulsive than shaking the moist hand of an anxious student. It can get hot at career fairs, I know. You can do a couple of things to chill out if you have a sweating problem: 1) Hold you résumé folder in your left hand and keep your right hand out of your pocket. This will let your hand breathe. 2) Small talk the person next you – it will help both of you relax. 3) A good swipe of your right hand on the back of your leg when you know your turn is coming up is totally fair game.

Always mints, never gum – There’s a good chance you’ll have to wait in line at the Big 4 booths. As you’re waiting in the mass herd of people, pop a few Tic Tacs or mints (avoid Altoids – too strong). They’ll help you relax and will be gone before you start speaking to the recruiter.

Business cards = cheat sheets – Ask for business cards when you meet with the professionals at the career fair (note – if they don’t have any, just remember to get their name so you can take notes later). Generally speaking, they are alums from your school and are excited to be back on campus and they can be a great resource going forward. They will also be at other events, even as early as the same week as the career fair. In between visiting booths, take two minutes to scribble notes on the back of the business card to help you remember who they were. “Black hair.” “Red glasses.” “Talked about baking.” “Mentioned she was an Eagles fan.” Reviewing these cards prior to next week’s firm-sponsored social event on campus will help you remember the connections much better.

Find out when they’ll be back – The five minutes you spend with the recruiters and professionals at the career fairs are not enough to earn yourself an interview. It is imperative you make personal connections with members of each firm. Beta Alpha Psi presentations. Cheesy happy hour mixers. Whatever. Go, shake hands, and laugh at their jokes. Earn yourself an interview.

Remember your manners – Thank everyone for their time. As happy to be on campus as they may be, many of the professionals will put in hours for work back at their hotels later that night. It is not always easy for them to take time off from work to make the trips back, so have a little respect for their time and their neglected inboxes.

Have anything to add? Email us or leave your comments below.