7 Tricks to Land a Great Accounting Internship

Posted by | September 24, 2013 | Tips for Interns

Have you always dreamed of being an accountant? Or maybe you decided to become one because you wanted the stability this option gave you? Either way, before landing a full time job, you will most likely have to get an accounting internship – it’s just how it is these days. Internships are the best ways of getting the experience you need for a job.

So click on to read just how you can land a great accounting internship!

1. Earn enough credits at college

While finishing college with a First Class Honours is something impressive, 2:1 or even a pass isn’t something to turn your nose at. There are different circumstances that could have led to your grades ending up the way they did – maybe you worked or had a family emergency. No matter what, make sure you have enough credits to graduate and get your degree. I’ll let you in on a secret: not many prospective employers actually care if you got an A on that difficult assignment or not. What they want is your ability to put your knowledge to work.

2. Search early

Don’t wait until you’ve graduated to apply for your accounting internships. Early bird catches the worm, after all! Apply for internships that have starting dates before you graduate – maybe you’ll be able to work something out with the employer, or you’ll simply start straight away and bring in your degree papers later on. It shows that you’re really committed to furthering your career, and that kind of persistence is really valuable.

3. Know the stats: 70% of new hires are interns

According to Online Accounting Degrees, 70% of new hires in this sector are accounting interns. It seems that many employers like to use the internship as a trial run, seeing if the intern would fit in with the company and what their work ethic is like. Any internship is an opportunity for full-time employment in the long run, depending on how impressed the higher ups are with you (and what the financial situation is like, of course).

4. Study the interview process

I can’t stress this enough: always prepare for the interview. You might be gifted with the power of gob but no amount of smart talking can be substituted for preparedness. Google sample questions asked during accounting internship interviews and prepare answers for them. Make flash cards, get your friends or family to role-play with you. Call the HR department and ask them about the process – how many stages are there, how many people will interview you, what is the dress code? Remember: dress for the job, not the interview!

5. Network with current employees to find out what they want in a candidate

Check LinkedIn for current employees of the place you’re interviewing at, or maybe you know someone who already works there or maybe it’s a friend of a friend who has an in with the manager. Don’t be afraid to ask them what the company is like, what are the specific skills and requirements they’ve set out for their accounting intern. Arm yourself with knowledge and show enthusiasm by reaching out to current employees (respectfully!) and I’m sure it’ll get back to the hiring manager. They’ll be impressed with your enthusiasm.

6. Highlight your flexibility

Is your internship interview scheduled before a busy period? Don’t be afraid to say that you’re flexible when it comes to working hours. Offer to stay longer, come earlier, whatever works. Is tax time upon you? Offer to help out with that even if you don’t get the internship – just the offer itself might change the employer’s mind in your favour!

7. Have some previous experience

It’s a catch 22, isn’t it? You need experience to land a job but you need a job to get experience. An internship is supposed to help with this, but don’t be put off if they want to hire someone with experience. Ask your family members and friends if they need any help with their taxes or any other accounting issues. You might not get paid for this but it’s always practical experience that you can mention during the interview.

Remember: most of new hires in accounting are interns, so it pays well to prepare for your interview and show your flexibility to make present yourself as the most desirable intern out there! Even if you don’t get the internship, helping out your friends and family with their taxes and bookkeeping will give you the needed experience, so keep that in mind.

Best of luck with your accounting internship search. Are there any tips that worked for you that you’d like to share with us?

 

— Author: Lena Zwolak

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