Start networking in the first year of university (the earlier you start, the more practice you get!). By connecting with others, you can exchange ideas and gain career advice from experienced peers. Take the opportunity to learn about the working culture of a firm and what a specific job position encompasses.
An excellent place to start is by participating in career fairs, seminars and workshops organised by your university.
As an example, while working with the big 4 accounting firms, I often attend career fairs and university presentations alongside the recruitment team to share ideas and experiences. The team is friendly and are always happy to help!
- Internships/ work experience
The best way to secure a graduate role is through an internship! Some students secure multiple internships across different organisations and functions. If you are in this fortunate position, you will be able to make a more informed decision when accepting a graduate role that best suits your interest.
All big 4 accounting firms have different pathways into the firm, including work experience programs for high school students, cadetships for university students etc. Try applying for one of these to get as much experience as possible.
- Be open, genuine and interesting
Apart from good grades, employers are often looking for candidates with excellent soft skills and participation in extra-curriculum activities.
Think about how you can stand out amongst the other applications by demonstrating the skills and expertise that you can offer to the employer.
Not all accounting firms are the same, demonstrate a genuine passion not only in the role you are applying for but also in the firm that you are applying to.
Ask yourself, why do I want to work as an [auditor] in [PwC]. What attracts you to [PwC]. Why [audit]?
- Keep a pulse on the economy
It is highly beneficial to keep a pulse on the economy. The Australian Financial Review is an excellent source of information.
It is quite often during an interview that the employer would test your knowledge of the latest news or seek your view on the latest topical issues.
- Practice makes perfect!
Participate in practice/ mock interviews, especially if it is your first time attending an interview. A mock interview can boost your confidence and reduce anxiety by familiarising yourself in an interview setting.
You can also improve your communication skills, identify any weaknesses and gain feedback on your performance. Most university careers and employment department offers mock interview services.