The Real World (Your Post-Grad Prep Guide)

For many college students, senior year means some anxious thoughts about graduation—a bittersweet transition into the “real world.” And we’re not talking about the show on MTV.

Over the years, we’ve talked to A LOT of recent accounting graduates who chose a career in public company auditing. Here are a few things we’ve heard about the best prep work for your first post-graduate year.

  1. Pass the CPA Exam.

    By now many accounting students have already connected with an accounting firm, had the opportunity to intern to see what the real world of auditing is like, and some have even already received a job offer before graduation day…. [Underclassmen take note!]. But there’s one more important step…Now it’s time to focus on passing the CPA exam! Many firms strongly encourage new hires to get a CPA license within their first few years on the job. Some firms even offer financial perks if you pass the CPA exam shortly after being hired. More money? Count me in! A CPA license also shows your commitment to the profession, a keen understanding of technical skills, and if you want to move up the ladder, that license will be your ticket to get there!

  1. Develop yourself on LinkedIn.

    Employers are Googling you (and that’s a good thing)! Make sure you’re presenting your best self. Upload a professional headshot (hint: that cropped group shot of you and your friends at a party isn’t going to cut it). Update your information with school activities, relevant internships, and work experience. Don’t forget to create a custom URL! Once you’re ready, have a LinkedIn-savvy friend give it a once-over. LinkedIn is an excellent way to continue to build connections!

  1. Tap into your alumni network.

    Never underestimate the power of a good connection. People want to help each other. Reach out to an alumnus of your college and see if you can grab a cup of coffee with him or her! You never know what doors may open. Do a bit of homework in advance of the conversation and bring some informed questions and ideas on how the alum can help you.

  1. Visit your career center.

    From resume reviews to mock interviews, the career center is there to help. If you have yet decided if auditing is for you, they have comprehensive libraries with valuable info about career options, salary guidance, and more. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and to seek advice. They’re there to help you shape your future!

  2. Confidence is KEY.

    Don’t assume that because you’re young you have less to offer. You have a perspective unlike anyone else. Your opinions matter. Speak up when you think you have value to add to a conversation. If all else fails, try a power pose before heading to a meeting or interview!

  3. Remember: You’re going to WORK.

    Sure, you worked hard in college, but being in the workforce is a whole new ball game. Take some time to mentally prepare for how your life is about to change. It’s an exciting time! Enjoy what’s left of your collegiate chapter, and get excited for what’s in store.