Monday 15 July 2013

Five steps to finding an internship

Five steps to finding an internship
Securing an internship or a work placement can serve as a powerful bridge between the world of undergraduate study and your future career. This is doubly true for careers in accounting or taxation, where knowledge, experience and commercial acumen is critical to success.

Although there’s no denying the importance of the right internship, attaining the opportunity you want can be tricky. We’ve compiled a five-step guide to securing the work placement that will get you a step closer to your professional dreams.

Connect with the Big Four accounting firms

Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, Ernst & Young – Australia’s big four accounting firms might be financial powerhouses, but they also provide ample opportunities for aspiring young practitioners to get ahead. Ensure that you’re listed on each company’s database and subscribe to e-newsletters to keep abreast of yearly graduate intakes and opportunities for student placements. Being proactive and enthusiastic about professional development can give you a competitive edge.

Cast your net further afield

Although the country’s major accounting firms are a good place to start, it’s also worth approaching other organisations that interest you and asking them for a placement in their finance department or shadowing their head of accounts. Thinking outside the box can help you glean industry-specific insights along with practical experience, fostering your professional strength.

Find a mentor

If you know someone whose career you admire, it’s never too early to ask them to take you under their wing. Mentorships can often lead to powerful connections that can create opportunities for internships as well as job offers down the track.

It’s never too early to network

Networking events organised by The Tax Institute are a great way to build relationships that could open up future professional paths. Remember that networks only succeed if you cultivate them – that’s why it’s key to treat your professional contacts with respect. If you’re after an internship, it also pays to ask your allies to spread the word. Often, professional opportunities arise from word of mouth – keep your communication channels open and you’ll be heard.

Don’t be scared to follow up

Although chasing leads can seem pushy and aggressive, it’s also a professional art. If you’re yet to hear back from companies that you’ve contacted, it’s essential that you send them a short email expressing your interest and following up. However, it’s equally important to exercise manners and demonstrate your professionalism at all times. Treat every interaction like a potential career move and you’ll find internship opportunities easier to find.

Internships can be a great source of professional expertise and help you gain the skills and experience to break new career ground. Are you currently engaged in an internship? How did you secure it?

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