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Making the Most of your Accounting Internship

So, you’ve landed an internship. What’s next? Whether or not this is your first taste of the professional world, you’ll want to make the most of it. After all, if you play your cards right, this could lead to your ideal accounting job. Even if you get sent fetching for coffee, keep a positive attitude and try to follow these tips.

Do your Homework

Once the accounting firm hires you as an intern, don’t stop there.  Do your homework.  What does the company look for in an employee? Are there full-time entry-level accounting positions available? Do your best to understand the goals of the company while bringing your own personal strengths to the position. Your boss will be impressed if you’re always one step ahead.  

Stay Professional

Just because you’re an intern, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Ask HR about the dress code, and follow it! Participate in work outings and happy hours, but remain polite and professional. Think of an internship as a trail period. If you make a great first impression, you’re more likely to make a lasting impression.  

Build Relationships

As one of you first professional experiences, you’ll want to generate contacts—contacts that can potentially last for years to come. Talk to your co-workers; ask them questions. Why not find out more about accountant staffing and the accounting industry as a whole from those who are in it? Ask what accounting staffing agencies they’d recommend. And be open to any advice they have for you in your job search.

Record your Work

Keep tabs on the work you are doing while you’re interning at the accounting firm and build some sort of professional portfolio. This experience will serve as a talking point for future resumes, cover letters and accounting staffing interviews. And when you’re done with the internship, don’t be afraid to ask for formal recommendations whether it be in a letter or on LinkedIn. This is something accounting staffing firms may ask of you in the future.

Speak Up

Let your voice be heard. You’ve done your research; now show your coworkers that you know your stuff. Offer ideas, help brainstorm solutions and understand you may have to stay late. If you’ve been interning there for a while, and you still feel your accounting skills aren’t being utilized, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask if your help is needed. The worst they can say is no. But most likely, they’ll be happy to see an intern taking initiative.