Back to Insights

Tips from a Recruiter to Stand Out in Your Job Search

April 18, 2018 4 Min Read Career Guidance
Kristin M. Seeger, CPA Director, Talent Acquisition

One of the most common questions accounting students ask me is “What do you look for on a resume and in an interview?” So here’s a peek into my recruiter’s mind.

When I review a student’s resume, I’m typically looking for three things. First, I look at your GPA. This gives me an idea of how well you’re comprehending what you are being taught in your classes. Most firms use a GPA threshold for their selections. I typically use one as a guide because you need to draw a line somewhere; however, it’s not the only factor.

While someone may have a high GPA, if grades are all they’ve focused on during school, I may question how well-rounded they are. Experience and activities are equally important because they show me what else you’ve been doing with your time and perhaps something about your decision-making abilities.

Many students think they need an accounting internship to be considered for an interview or an offer. Not having that type of experience isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for me because I believe you can demonstrate a positive attitude, solid work ethic, maturity, and good problem-solving and communication skills in any job.

If you don’t have an internship on your resume, you should include any work experience you’ve had. The trick is to think creatively about the skills you acquired and the impact you made in those jobs, and how they can transfer to the accounting industry (also be prepared to talk about those things in the interview). So if you scooped ice cream for the summer, were you responsible for opening and closing the store? Did you deal with a difficult customer? Or times of high volume? Talk about that. How did you adapt? What did you need to do differently? Did you manage to satisfy the customer?

Besides being able to define your responsibilities and demonstrate that you understood their purpose, I like to see how you added value along the way. If you had the same job as someone else, how did you do it better? I want to know what you did to stand out because those are the expectations I’ll have for you here. How did you help develop your colleagues? Did you reduce the number of steps in a process to make it more efficient? Did you offer suggestions to lower expenses or increase sales? That is the kind of person I want to hire! I look for someone who is a solid team player and thinks like a business owner. 

I also want to know more about the activities you’ve been involved in while on campus. What are you doing to better yourself or others? Do you participate in any clubs or sports? Are you giving back by volunteering your time? How are you leaving your school a better place than when you got there? Are you willing to stand up for what’s right and be a leader to your peers?

I want to see that you’re well-rounded and a contributor to your campus, and that you have leadership attributes. We look to hire people who are interested in a career with us, not just a job. Our expectation is that someone will work themselves out of their initial job and move up the ranks. As our staff accountants progress to seniors and managers, we need them to counsel and coach the people who work for and with them. Good communication skills are important, as are compassion and patience.

Many people think the key to getting hired is getting good grades in their major. While that can play a part in the decision, I look at the bigger picture of who you are as a person and the type of team member I think you’ll be here at Kreischer Miller, combined with how well you’ve prepared for our discussion.

Kristin Seeger is the Recruiting Manager for Kreischer Miller and is responsible for the entire recruiting function of the firm. She joined the firm in 2007 after beginning her career in audit at KPMG and then working as a recruiter for accounting professionals. She enjoys making people smile and being an inspiration to others. When she's not out making connections, she enjoys exercise, reading, and spending time with family and friends. Contact Kristin at Email.

Subscribe to the blog

Also check out:

Contact the Author

Kristin M. Seeger, CPA

Kristin M. Seeger, CPA

Director, Talent Acquisition

Contact Us

We invite you to connect with us to discuss your needs and learn more about the Kreischer Miller difference.
Contact Us
You are using an unsupported version of Internet Explorer. To ensure security, performance, and full functionality, please upgrade to an up-to-date browser.