Accounting Students: How to Start a Conversation with a ProfessionalMGR Accounting Recruiters in
I remember 20+ years ago attending a dinner function as the “student guest” of an accountant well into their career. The purpose of the function was to get students introduced to prospective employers. I spoke a couple sentences at the most, and then politely ate dinner while the older professionals at the table talked about whatever it was they were discussing at the time. I had no idea what to say.
Fast forward 20+ years now… I own a recruiting firm for accountants and regularly attend similar functions where I’m on the other side of the table, as one of the professionals the students are there to speak with. It’s an interesting turn of events.
So as a student, how do you capitalize on this opportunity? It’s difficult to know what to say when you are in a group of people that are 15-40 years your senior, and you have yet to venture very far into their world. However if you will employ this one simple technique, you will find it easy to have a meaningful conversation. The technique is this: Ask them about themselves.
Asking someone about their own career, family, where they are from, how long they’ve been in town, etc. is the easiest way to get a conversation started. Most people will easily talk about themselves given the opportunity. And if done right, they will remember you as an attentive, interesting, and polite individual.
Another thing that will happen is that you are likely to find something, be it small or large, that you have in common. That too will make you more memorable to the professional that you are trying to get to know.
Whatever you do, don’t spend the time at these functions talking to the other students that you already know. Get outside your comfort zone and strike up a conversation with the people that you are supposed to be there to meet… the professionals that are already engaged in your desired field and that may help you in your job search down the road.
Starting a conversation in these networking situations can be difficult, but if you utilize this one technique, you will find that it can become much easier.
I wish you the best in your search.