Can Attending Accounting Conferences Land You a Job?

From the mailbag:
Hello Andrew,
I hope you are doing great. I am trying to decide on whether I should attend the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) national conference coming up in a few months. I am not sure if recruiters go to these type of conferences to recruit campus hires or experienced hires. I now fall under experienced hire since I graduated over 10 months ago even though I only have one year experience in tax.  I have a master’s degree in accounting, and I completed the CPA exam last year. Going for this conference will cost me a lot of money, my questions are (1) Do you know if the big 4 recruiters go to these conferences to find campus hires, experienced hires, or both. (2) Do you think I should try to attend this conference? I am an international student and I am currently seeking a tax entry level position.
This is a great question and I’m happy to save your a few hundred bucks! The short answer is no. I would not attend an accounting conference to try and find a job.
While I’m not familiar with NABA, my experience tell me they probably have the same policy as Beta Alpha Psi when it comes to their conferences:
No recruiting.
Why? These organizations try to be about the total picture of accounting. Not just finding a job. They want to build up your skills, get you involved in the community, and they use these conferences to do so.
But even if NABA does allow recruiting, I still wouldn’t count on that. I would get you on a plan to target 15 firms you want to work for (see how to find the 15 firms here)

I know this may seem anal, but if you’ve chosen 15+ companies to target, and research all the contacts you need to email, this has taken you some serious time. But hey, this is you CAREER. We’ve got more to do.

I want a beautiful resume, a consistent cover letter, and drafted emails to each target.

The cover letter should have the targets name, office address, and email at the minimum. This shows you’ve done your research and you are talking directly to them, this IS NOT spam, and when their name is on it, they will feel compelled to respond.

Note: If you want help preparing a cover letter and resume, email me here, I am happy to help out.

Once you’ve finished the cover letter and resume, save them as PDF’s and attach them to your emails. Save the emails as drafts and send them all the day after the Career Fair.

If you met the firm at the career fair, only send the resume to the hiring manager, but email everyone you spoke to thanking them and expressing your excitement about the firm. For more on the career fair, check out my full career fair strategy.

If you didn’t meet the firm, this is your chance to get in with them. You have the contact, email, and an individualized email and cover letter! Do that 15+ times, and you WILL get interviews… It’s just a numbers game.

Reaching out to all of these firms THIS WEEK will be a way to get many more offers than attending a conference. You don’t have to wait, and you don’t have to pay to find a job. You just have to get to work!