Find Your First Job

How to gain work experience

Every jurisdiction’s experience requirements for your CPA license will vary, so check with your board of accountancy to make sure yours will qualify.

Prepare for your job search

Ideally, you’ll gain work experience after your senior year of college. Most states require at least two years of experience in public accounting before allowing you to practice as a CPA. Many also accept accounting experience in other areas such as industry or government, but that usually means they require that you practice for more years. Internships are a good idea, too. While you don’t have to have one to become a licensed CPA, internships help you build a résumé and are the main way organizations find new hires.

Essential Wisdom for Your Job Search

Most people know that they want to get a job after they graduate, but there aren’t really classes that teach you how to get that post-college dream job. Lucky for you, we've got a few tips to share through the hunt for a new job.

Know What Accounting Employers Look For

Aside from passing the CPA Exam beforehand, which is great, but not absolutely necessary, here’s how you can make sure that when you walk into your next recruiting session or interview, your skills and experience stand out. 

Get (and Use) a LinkedIn Account

LinkedIn is a viable path to professional networking, through integrated connections and activities.

Differentiate Yourself

The key to scoring that first job out of school is finding a way to stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips that, if implemented correctly, will help you better distinguish yourself and launch you into an outstanding career in accounting.

The possibilities are endless

Many aspiring CPAs struggle with whether to start with a large global firm – in many cases a so-called “Big Four” firm – or to go with a smaller regional or local firm, a government agency or a small private company. Working for a large firm can take you anywhere in the world you want to go. You can also expect to join a group of coworkers who are your age and share a lot of your interests. Plus, some people like having a big name on their resume, wherever they end up taking their career. On the other hand, working for a smaller firm can give you greater responsibility earlier in your career. Not to mention more access to the senior people who can make a big difference in your career growth and professional development. Many CPAs choose to work for smaller firms because they find it easier to maintain the work/life balance they’re looking for.

Consider a Summer Internship

Many people end up working at the places they intern. Amanda Brown, a recruiter at Big Four firm KPMG, affirms that “our internship program is our main pipeline for full time hires.” 

Understand the Recruitment Process

"Big Four" company representatives visit campus during Winter and Spring on the lookout for Juniors to be summer interns, and then they’re back in the Fall looking for people to hire after graduation.

Plan Your Career

Still unsure? Get some help deciding where you’ll fit best with our Plan Your Career tool.