Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Most Important Words in the Real World

By Blake Clauben, TSCPA Student Ambassador at Rhodes College, Memphis, Tenn.

For a rising senior, very few things are more daunting than the thought of finding a job upon graduating. As a collegiate baseball player with hopes of making it to the next level, I spent my summers playing in the Collegiate League to showcase my abilities to scouts. Therefore, I knew I was a little behind in terms of recruitment for the Big 4 Accounting firms, as several of my friends had utilized their summers working in the field which would aid them in securing an internship upon graduation. 

Instead, my route towards finding a job began by talking with alumni at our annual Meet the Firms program. They introduced me to several managers and partners of their respective firms. I made several contacts, and received many business cards, learning a lot about the different firms. But the greatest lesson I learned in regard to success with my job search came from my accounting teacher- "Say thank you!" 

Sending a thank you for a gift is something I have been doing for years, but writing a thank you for meeting someone was new to me. However, I soon realized that this type of etiquette was far more important than I first understood. 

As overwhelming as that night was for me and as many people as I met, the accounting executives met far more. I discussed my career as a baseball player and as a private pilot- in hopes that something I did or said would make me stand out.

But knowing that they had just met a great number of qualified applicants, I needed some way to reinforce the impression j made.  I used my thank you as an additional way to remind them who I was and what I could offer their firm. Included with the typical "It was nice to meet you." I also reminded them of our brief discussions of baseball, or flying, or my home state of Texas." I definitely feel this helped some of the recruiters remember me and peaked their interested in me further, leading to some follow up interviews. Those interviews were in turn followed up by additional thank you notes, each becoming even more personal until a closer connection began to form. 

I was very fortunate to be offered an internship, and now a job with Ernst and Young. I definitely think the thank you notes helped remind some of the recruiters about me and lead to this great opportunity. So while a high GPA and a lot of experience is what attracts the Big 4, I also believe that I made it to where I am today all because of the 3 words my college accounting professor reinforced:  Say thank you! Because not only are you being polite, but it definitely gives you the opportunity to say much, much more. 

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