Gladstone Edwards will graduate from Brooklyn College in 2015 with his degree in accounting. Although graduation is months away, he has already accepted a full time Assurance position at EY, one of the big 4 accounting firms.
The full time offer came after Gladstone interned with the firm this past summer. With many accounting firms, getting a full time position is very difficult if you did not intern with them. it is never too early to start preparing for an internship and in fact can sometimes be too late if you wait until junior year. Gladstone actively participated in our mentor program, had his resume reviewed countless times and practiced his interviewing skills , which contributed to his success. Becoming a top candidate does not happen overnight, it takes years of preparation.
The Value of a Network and Mentor
Gladstone knows there were many keys to his success but he credits networking with having the biggest influence on his ability to land a position at EY. While he recognizes the importance of networking now, Gladstone did not understand the power of having a network until he made his first connection with an accounting professional. Whenever there was an opportunity to meet a professional either through a networking night or the mentor program, Gladstone took advantage. He participated in workshops that taught him how to network effectively as well as use LinkedIn.
Gladstone knew that these activities may not necessarily lead to an internship opportunity but that it allowed him to learn more about the industry, the career field and to practice his communication skills. Beyond it helping him receive an offer, he values the relationships he built along the way. While some students will focus on outreaching to a professional the moment they need a job or internship, the key is building relationships along the way. The key to landing a job and keeping your job is having strong relationships.
Being a Standout Candidate and Intern
His network may have helped him land an interview, but it was his qualifications that helped him land the internship. In addition to his very strong GPA, Gladstone participated in internships and extracurricular activities since he knew firms want someone that is well rounded. By assuming multiple extracurricular activities Gladstone was able to develop the necessary skills needed to effectively work in a team. He was able to supplement what he learned in class with real world experience. Employers always emphasize wanting to see a candidate that has more to offer than a strong GPA.
While having connections and great qualifications helped him land the internship, it was being a exceptional intern that helped him land the offer. To be able to receive a full time offer after his internship, Gladstone had to prove to himself and the staff that he belonged at EY. Whatever task was placed in front of him, he did it – and did it well. Whether it was making copies or actively participating in client work, he made sure he not only understood the task but also understand and see how each task fit with the larger scope of the work. By doing that and asking many questions he was able to show the staff that he had a long term interest in the firm.
Landing a Job Requires a Lot of Time and Effort.
There are many factors that played a role in Gladstone landing a job. Students need to put the effort and investment into their development to receive a full time offer before graduation:
- Start preparing as soon as your freshman year.
- Spend time to build relationships and network with professionals.
- Participate in career and professional development workshops at your college’s career center and beyond.
- Be active in extracurricular activities and most importantly take on a leadership role
- Strive to have a 3.5 GPA or higher
- Have your resume and cover letter reviewed several times and by many people.
- Practice your interview skills as many times as it takes to get it right.
- Know the industry and companies that you are interested in.
All of this sounds like a lot of work, it is. The job market is still competitive, which means there are many great candidates. To differentiate yourself from your competition you have to put 150% into the job search process. Employers do not want someone who will cut corners or want to take the easiest way out. Your approach to the job process is a reflection of how you will be as an employee. Show your potential employer that you are committed, sincerely interested and willing to work hard.