Friday, December 8, 2017

How Networking Helped Me Land an Internship

By Zachary McLeod, Student Ambassador for the West Tennessee Chapter

One of my biggest worries going into my junior year was finding an internship. For accountants, having a good internship is important because most internships turn into job offers. Networking helped me land such an opportunity. I recently attended a meeting with Chris Holmes, president and CEO of First Bank. “Meeting new people and networking is the key to success,” he said. That may have been the best advice I was ever given.

In the fall of my junior year, I started looking for an internship in audit. I love being able to travel, meet new people and network. Networking is one of your most valuable assets. It helps you find job opportunities and connect with others. Connections are crucial to getting a job right out of school.

At the time of my internship search, I worked for the University of Tennessee at Martin as a mail clerk. The job enabled me to meet many people at UTM, including everyone at the computer store on campus. My boss at the time told me the store was looking for an accounting student to intern for them. I quickly applied and spoke to the manager to let her know I was interested in the position.

The next week I met with the manager and found out after my interview I was accepted for the internship. It was a great relief off my shoulders. I was lucky enough to find a paid position that also counted as credit hours towards my degrees.

Working at the computer store has greatly increased my skills in accountancy. I complete the income and expense ledger and do justification reports every month. I was previously uncomfortable using Excel, but this internship has increased my knowledge of the software. I will be able to take what I have learned with Excel and other skills and apply it in my future profession. I am very thankful for the opportunity to work for the university and gain such a quality hands-on experience.

My best advice for students pursuing accounting is to constantly stay diligent in your work. Network with as many people as you can. Networking is always something you can continuously improve. Do not be afraid to take that leap. You may apply to a hundred different places, but you only need one to give you a chance.

About Zachary McLeod: Zachary McLeod is from Linden, Tenn. and will graduate with degrees in Finance and Accounting. He is currently completing an accounting internship for the University of Tennessee at Martin.