A Letter To College Students: How to Succeed Without an Internship

Contributed by: Christine Chrysafidis, Senior Accountant

Some college students may be worried about missing out on a recent internship opportunity at various accounting firms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I don’t want to disregard internships because they are important. However, I’ve recently had several recruits express their concern about missed opportunities because of COVID-19. The circumstances over the last year due to the global pandemic are beyond your control and nothing to worry about. I am here to tell you some tips and tricks for entering the business world, even without internship experience.

Some key factors to consider when making the transition from college to career:

Expect a Learning Curve
Whether having internship experience or not, there will typically be a really big learning curve as you enter the workforce.

Stay Organized
At times, I’ve juggled multiple projects simultaneously. Having a notebook by my side to keep detailed notes outlining where I left off on any given task has saved me precious time on that dreaded Monday morning.

Study ASAP
Start studying for the CPA exam as soon as possible. You’re going to be doing this regardless of whether or not you had an internship. The good news? Internships don’t typically help prepare you for the CPA exam, so you are not behind.

Consider Cost Coverage
Many employers will cover a portion of the costs for your CPA exam and/or materials. Seek out these options. You also didn’t need an internship to have some of these costs recovered.

Sharpen Overall Skills
Communication and organizational skills are essential. These can be polished up anywhere, anytime, not just during an accounting internship.

Be Ready to Think
You may find yourself re-reading something a few times; it’s part of learning. Ask yourself questions to challenge your own ideas and ask others questions to learn and grow from more experienced employees as well.

Have a Good Attitude
No one likes every task assigned, but I can tell you from experience that maintaining a good attitude will help get you through. You can celebrate successfully completing the tasks you didn’t love later — it’s a great excuse!