Career Tips: How to Land Your First Accounting Internship

Mar 15, 2024 3:23:12 PM Campus Job Fair Internship

Posted By: Skylar Wooden

Are you on track to graduate with an accounting or finance-related degree? You’re likely thinking about ways to add to your resume, gain real-world experience, and even decide which area of finance you want to work in. An internship is a fantastic opportunity to do all three.

If you are ready to explore your options, here are a few ways to find accounting internships and start your career growth as soon as possible.


When to Start Searching for Accounting Internships

You can start looking for accounting internships even as early as your freshman year of college. 

If that seems a little too soon, consider that the firms you want to work for may have programs that start early. This proactive search gives you plenty of time to research all of your options and maximize the networking, resume-building, and hands-on learning that you can have under your belt before graduation. By starting early, you’ll be a shoo-in for the jobs you want after graduation. 

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Where to Find an Accounting Internship

The first step to finding an internship in any part of the financial industry is to go straight to the source. 

Identify the firms in your area that resonate with you the most and explore the career pages of their websites. You may also try searching job boards, like Indeed and Glassdoor (be sure to filter your search by “internship”), and school-sponsored programs, like Handshake. 

Of course, there is always the tried-and-true method of word-of-mouth. Ask your friends, family, and professors to see who they might know in the finance industry that could connect you with potential internships, summer programs, and mentorship opportunities. 

Better yet, try all these approaches and see what works best for you!

🔍 RELATED: Explore internship opportunities at Blue & Co..


How to Choose the Right Sized Accounting Firm

Choosing the size of the firm you want to intern with is an important part of the search process. Small, medium, and large accounting firms all have their benefits, which is exactly why it’s necessary to decide which option fits your goals the best. 

Here are a few benefits of each: 

Small Accounting Firms

Small accounting firms can provide a closer environment, where you interact with most everyone in the office daily and get to know everyone very well. They can also be conducive to more direct client interaction and to wearing multiple hats, which could be a benefit if your goal is to learn several parts of the business in the beginning of your career.

Medium Accounting Firms

Medium accounting firms give you a bit more flexibility in the type of work you’re doing, which clients you work with, and what you want to explore within the industry. Because of their size, relative to a small office, these firms can provide you with a more comprehensive view of the industry and opportunities to try out different areas with different teams. They also usually have great growth potential when it comes to progressing in your career.

Large Accounting Firms

Large accounting firms tend to have higher budgets when it comes to areas like travel, conferences, and networking opportunities. They come with a prestigious standing and high earning potential that can help with resume building. 


How to Choose the Right Accounting Internship for Your Career

It is important to remember that not all firms are created equal. 

Begin by really thinking about what qualities you want from your work environment. Then start evaluation your options with those benefits. Remember, each firm is unique in how they approach their culture, talent development, and benefits

Consider the big picture view of what a firm is like to work for and choose your favorite based on how well they match your evaluation. Because you might land a full-time job offer after your internship, you will want to be sure that it’s an environment you can see yourself working in for years to come.


How to be a Stand-Out Candidate Among Your Peers

Once you’ve identified the internships you want to apply to, how do you stand out? When many of your fellow students are attending similar programs, it’s important to find your differentiators. That can look different for everyone. You might join industry-related student groups, find leadership opportunities at the campus level, or participate in volunteer work. 

To stand out even further, it’s helpful to make certain that the hiring manager knows who you are. Follow up on your application, add the person on LinkedIn, and identify mutual connections by asking professors if they know someone in that company. Don’t wait for recruiters to come to you! If you can find your “in,” you might just land your first choice of internship. 


Explore Internships at Blue & Co.

Blue & Co. is a growing accounting firm with award-winning professional development, great benefits, and a rich culture. Come join our team with a paid, three-month internship to start gaining career experience!

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