My Job Recruiting Journey

During my senior year, one of my goals was to land an internship for the summer.  My plan was to intern for an accounting firm over the summer, get a full-time offer, finish my Master’s of Accounting, and then work for that accounting firm after graduation.  That was the plan…. but unfortunately nothing ever goes according to plan.

For accounting majors, the fall is the biggest time for recruitment.  All of the accounting firms come to Athens to recruit students.  I knew I wanted to do whatever I could to land an internship.  At the end of recruitment, I had no offers.  I was really bummed.  I continued to search for internships, and earlier this week I got an offer from a great accounting firm that I’m really excited to work for!

So how did I bounce back from my initial rejection? Back in October, I wrote a blog about keeping your head up no matter what happens.  I wrote the “Dream Big” blog to encourage everyone (including myself) to stay encouraged even if things don’t go the way you imagine. After not getting any job offers, I reviewed this blog and the story of Chris Gardner.  These helped me to continue dreaming big and work hard to reach my goal of getting an internship.  I have learned a lot this year through job recruiting, and I believe you can benefit from the things I learned:

1.      Don’t be discouraged even if you get denied. In the fall, I interviewed with multiple firms but was denied from all of them.  Yes, I was discouraged at first, but I realized that it was not the end of the world.  Just because someone says no to you doesn’t mean you are not a good candidate.  I’ve learned that you need to bounce right back up and continue striving for your goals.  I worked harder than before to find an internship.  I did more research to look for internships, and tried to refocus.

2.      Nothing is guaranteed. Going into the first round of interviews, I thought to myself “I’m going to get an offer from at least one of these firms.”  WRONG!  I realized that I shouldn’t have thought that way.  Because of that, I was complacent and didn’t do everything needed to get the job.  I just depended on statistics and the belief that I was bound to get something.

3.      PRACTICE! No one is naturally gifted at interviewing.  It is a skill that is acquired through a lot of practice.  I practiced over and over again with multiple people at the Career Center until I finally felt comfortable interviewing.  Before you go into your interview, make sure you know how to sell yourself.  The biggest advice I got was that the interviewer will make a decision within the first 5 minutes of the interview.  That is why your first impression and your first answers are the most important.  Make sure you have an answer to: “So, tell me about yourself.”  Be confident and sell yourself!

4.      Be Yourself. No matter what, you have to be yourself.  If a firm hires you for who you were trying to be, and then they realize you aren’t that person, things will not end well.  Everyone is unique and interesting in their own ways.  Make sure when you interact with people that you are being genuine and honest.

5.      Feedback. After my interviews in the fall, I received some valuable feedback.  Some firms will give you some feedback after the interviews, but talk to your career consultant about this before you go and talk to the employer to make sure that it is ok.  I realized that I needed to take the feedback and grow from it.  That doesn’t mean that I changed who I was.  I just needed to make sure that I showed more of who I was.  It is important that you listen to this feedback and act on it because they give feedback to help you in the future.

6.      Don’t give up. After the interviews were done in the fall, I was on Dawglink everyday looking for new job postings.  I applied to EVERYTHING.  Just because you got denied once, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep trying.  There’s nothing wrong with applying to anything that you want.

7.      Show interest. No one wants to hire you if you aren’t interested in working for them.  Have a positive attitude and make sure you smile!  Let them know that you want to work for them by expressing genuine interest.

Now, looking back at my experiences with recruitment, I’m kind of glad that I didn’t get an offer last fall.  I learned so much during this process and it has definitely helped me to grow as a person.  I realized that everything happens for a reason, and no matter what, I have to keep striving for my goals.  My hard work eventually paid off and I got an offer.  I am so fortunate to be in this position, and I know going forward that I’m going to continue working hard because nothing in life is guaranteed.

“If you have a dream, protect it.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.  If you want something, go get it. Period.”  -Will Smith (Pursuit of Happyness)