Skip to main content
9 answers
12
Asked 1217 views

Are there any advice or tips on how to properly network with professional accountants?

I am a second year accounting student that have attended many career fairs, networking events, and clubs to start building the all-important connections. However, I feel I have not made much progress each time I go to a different event. My questions are generic despite how hard I try to come up with new topics to talk about. In the end, I become unforgettable easily. Do you have any advice or tips on how to leave an impression when trying to network with professional accountants?

#accountant #accounting #networking #big4 #big-4 #first-impressions

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

12

9 answers


3
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

David’s Answer

Hi Esther! Well, first of all, it's wonderful that you're getting yourself out there to network. A few thoughts for you:

1) Professional Accountants are people too! I know it can be easy to be intimidated, but remember that they were just like you once! See if you can connect with them on a personal level. "What challenges did you face when you were my age?"

2) Don't ask questions just to get answers to that first question. The easiest way to be "forgettable" is to only ask a question to get the answer to that question and then moving on. Make sure to pay attention to their answer, and ask a followup question about the answer that they gave.

For example, if someone answered the above with "When I was your age, I had trouble with self confidence." Don't just say "thank you" and move on to the next question! Ask them a followup! Maybe "that's really interesting! I struggle with that a bit myself. You seem really confident now; how did you change that about yourself." Make it a conversation.

3) This is intertwined in the above two points, but people love to share about themselves. Ask them to share their own stories. Some people share stories about themselves naturally, but sometimes you have to be a bit more direct ("how did you do that?"). As the saying goes, life's too short to experience everything ourselves. Learning other people's stories is one of the best ways to enhance your understanding of the world
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the tips! These three strategies answer a lot of my concerns. Esther
Thank you comment icon You're welcome! David DiGiammarino
3
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Minaz’s Answer

Hi Esther! I really like David's response above. I'll add a little more to that. When you meet someone and make connections at networking events, follow-up with a thank you email/ note. Handwritten notes go a long way since they're so rate.. but even an email works! Tailor the email/ note and make it personal. Include something that came out of your conversation.

Also, try to follow-up periodically. If someone mentions they like reading, you can send a note about a good book you came across..

Try to network with the recruiter/ HR person. Have them point you to who you should talk to based on what you're interested in (e.g. tax or audit or advisory). Make it more about quality rather than quantity i.e. try to build deeper connections rather than trying to network with as many as you can.

I hope this helps!

Good luck!
1
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Molly’s Answer

Great question! My advice as a recruiter is to make your conversations personal. So instead of asking a professional what their favorite/ least favorite part of their job is and then moving on, ask them what was their biggest challenge this week or how do they personally incorporate work/life balance. Once you begin the conversation and make it clear that you are interested in them as a person, build off those responses. For instance, If they say that they have a dog and they need to balance their schedule to get home to take the dog for a walk during lunch, maybe connect that to your love of dogs or animals. If you see that professional again at another event, they may remember you as the dog lover who also has a golden retriever at home. You've now made a personal connection and made yourself stand out. The individuals I remember most are the ones who tell me a story about themselves or connect themselves to a story I tell them.
1
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Mahmoud’s Answer

Hello Esther,
I'd say trying to land an internship in one of the big4 firms would give you a firsthand knowledge with accounting professionals.
In addition to actually experiencing the work environment they work at and then they could see the potential and what you bring to the table.
Hope this helps, good luck!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Kristina’s Answer

I think it is great that you are starting to network and looking to create more meaningful experiences. I remember networking with professionals when I was a student, and I have since had the opportunity to network with students now that I am a professional. I agree that sometimes networking can be tough, and you might walk away feeling like you did not gain much from that conversation. I do, however, have a few tips that could help create more meaningful conversations based on experiences that stuck with me.

1) Try to ask specific questions routed in an experience. If you ask a general question, you will likely get a general answer. For example, you could ask about how they have grown since they began their career, challenges they have overcome, what their favorite recent work experience was, etc. This will encourage them to tell a personal story rather than give a standard answer.
2) Ask about areas beyond the work itself. These will help you get an idea of company culture. For example, they may participate in community service projects, sports, or other activities as a company,
3) As you talk, try to find common interests you may want to bring up. I have had many conversations about personal hobbies during networking events. This helps build a connection that will likely carry forward into the job.
4) Don't be shy and don't get discouraged. The more you network, the more comfortable you will get. It can be scary at first, but try not to dwell on it. These are normal feelings that most people experience throughout the process.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Matthew’s Answer

Hi Ester! Great that you're being so proactive in your career search. I have 3 pieces of advice for you:

1) Big 4 Internships often go to students who will have 150 hours next year.
If you have 150 hours as a sophomore, systems will often automatically filter you out based on your grade. Don't let that discourage you! If you reach out to a contact at the firm, they can flag your application and help it not get automatically filtered out.

2) Reach out to alumni on LinkedIn
This helped me a lot with understand culture at the firm. It also helps in interviews because it demonstrates that you did your homework.

3) Follow up!!!
Sending a thank you email to the recruiter who came to visit is a great way to stand out! It also demonstrates your interest and they can help you with actionable next steps.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Sabina’s Answer

Hello,
I would say go to recruiting events either with school organizations and clubs or events that your business school hosts. If you find it difficult to network with professionals on your own, don't be afraid to network with a friend or a group of friends. Just try having a conversation with the professionals. Don't forget they're regular people too who probably have common interests as you. Making personal connections goes a long way in networking. Additionally, don't forget to follow up the following day thanking the professional for their time during your conversation.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Ekat’s Answer

Show your enthusiasm for the profession.
Inquire about their career journey - folks enjoy sharing their personal stories.
Aim to discover shared interests and common ground.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Emma’s Answer

Hi Esther,

I agree I think it's great you are already attending networking events. I think personally, some people like to get to know you, instead of the generic questions that a lot of students have. Once they get to know you, it'll open the door for other questions and form a more personal relationship, making you 'not easily forgettable'

0