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The WSCPA will be closed Monday, May 27th in observance of Memorial Day.

7 Tips for Attending Meet the Firm Events

August 18, 2022

by Benjamin Warren

As you come back to school for the fall, you’re sure to be invited to Meet the Firm events and career fairs. The WSCPA even has its own Meet the Firm Fair which is taking place on Wednesday, September 28 in Bothell, Washington. 

Whether you’re new to these events or a seasoned pro, the WSCPA wants to make sure you have positive interactions with firm representatives and recruiters. Here are 7 tips for getting the most out of any Meet the Firm events you plan on attending.

Tip #1: CPA EXAM ELIGIBILITY DATE
Include your CPA Exam eligibility date on your résumé in a location that is easy for recruiters to find. This shows recruiters that you’re serious about getting your CPA license and how far along you are in that process. If you aren’t sure about your CPA Exam eligibility date, contact me at bwarren@wscpa.org, and we can figure it out together. The WSCPA is a great resource for learning about CPA requirements and finding support to stay on track!

Tip #2: VISIT EVERY TABLE
It’s normal to be nervous and anxious to meet with recruiters, especially at your first Meet the Firm event. Visiting every table will help you get some practice and calm your nerves before you meet with your top choices. This is also a great chance to learn about all the opportunities available to you. Take the time to get to know the firms and what they can offer. And of course, there’s always the free SWAG!

Tip #3: MEET THE RECRUITER HALF WAY
You don’t have to engage in a one-sided conversation where the recruiter does all the talking. Initiate the conversation, have an introduction prepared, and be ready with some questions. Prepare in advance by knowing which firms are going to be at the event. This will help you determine which firms you’re most interested in and what questions you want to ask them.

Tip #4: KNOW YOUR PLAN
Are you planning on getting your master’s degree? Which area of accounting most interests you? When do you plan on sitting for the CPA Exam? These are the types of questions firm representatives and recruiters might ask you. They want to hear your academic and professional goals. Have these answers handy and know what your timeline is for achieving those goals before you’re asked.

Tip #5: KNOW WHEN IT'S TIME TO GO
You’ll have a limited amount of time to visit every table and meet with recruiters all while other people are waiting their turn. Keep that timing in mind and have an exit strategy. This could be a simple, “Thank you for your time” or ask for a business card. If there are people waiting, you can mention that you don’t want to hold up the line or keep the recruiter from talking with other people. Whatever your strategy is, make sure you know when and how to exit a conversation.

Tip #6: AVOID REUNION MENTALITY
It’s possible you’ll know people at the event, including recruiters. If that happens, remember to keep it professional and, again, try not to hold up the line. There may be opportunities for more casual networking during the event, or you can ask to catch up with them afterwards. Spending too much time chatting with friends, colleagues, or classmates may prevent you from being able to meet with all the firms. Again, your time is limited! Maximize it so you can visit with as many firm representatives as possible.

Tip #7: JOIN YOUR PROFESSION’S ASSOCIATIONS FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Professional associations, including the WSCPA, offer all sorts of opportunities for networking. Leveraging those memberships and actively engaging with such associations can give you advanced notice of events, including access to exclusive recruiting fairs and job opportunities. Noting your professional association memberships on your résumé shows you’re invested in your future and the accounting profession. Along with the networking benefits, professional associations can provide opportunities for professional development, advocacy for the accounting profession, and even discounts on a wide variety of products and services.

You’re now ready to get out there and network with recruiters at your next Meet the Firm Fair! That next event might even be the WSCPA Meet the Firm Fair on Wednesday, September 28 in Bothell. You’ll have the opportunity to meet and mingle with firms from western Washington with time for open networking and engagement activities. This event is only open to WSCPA student members and space is limited so register now. Also, make sure your résumé is up-to-date before the WSCPA Meet the Firm Fair by booking a timeslot during our Virtual Résumé Review on Wednesday, September 21. Contact me, at bwarren@wscpa.org, if you need assistance registering for either event or have any questions.

Benjamin Warren is the WSCPA Student Outreach & Initiatives Coordinator. You can contact Benjamin at bwarren@wscpa.org.