There’s nothing like being able to refer to real-world experience on your CV when looking to kick-start your career. Here’s some advice about competing for – and nabbing – that dream work-placement position.
Try to score with the Big Four
When it comes to internships and graduate tax programs, a good place to start is Australia's Big Four: Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and Ernst & Young.
All four have programs for graduates of taxation courses, as well as student programs you can tackle while you’re completing your undergraduate tax training. Check out each company's website for more details.
But don’t overly narrow your options
Cast your net wider to include places like government organisations and big businesses that have large finance departments. If there’s a particular industry you’d like to go into after completing your taxation education, grab the chance to gather industry-specific work experience.
Have your elevator pitch ready
It’s a competitive world out there, so you won’t get far if you don’t master the art of effective self-promotion well before you start attending networking events or knocking on doors. Being able to introduce yourself in a memorable fashion can make all the difference when it comes to securing an internship. We recommend asking yourself three questions to help define your personal brand:
- Who are you?
- What are your accomplishments, passions, unique skills and strengths?
- What do you want, and where are you going?
Prepare for the internship interview
Strange as it may seem, it's your first unpaid job in the tax industry that may have the biggest impact on how your career unfolds. So treat it as seriously as you would a 'real' job interview and do the preparation required to ensure it's you – and not one of the many other applicants – who gets the chance to wedge their foot firmly in the door of a potential employer.
- Spend some time researching the organisation you're applying to
- Identify the top three skills or experiences you can bring to the table that other students can’t, and practice communicating them to a recruiter
- Prepare a few questions to ask your interviewer.
Build a network
Some of the best work placements are never actually advertised. Building a professional network early on in your student career, via social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, can be a clever way to hear about opportunities within the tax industry that you may not otherwise know about. Also, getting away from the computer and books and introducing yourself to professionals at industry events can be a great avenue to start forging relationships.
One last tip – consider investing in more vocationally focused tax courses. Having, for example, a Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law under your belt may provide you with a vital edge over the hordes of other internship-seekers. It's never too early to start shining!