Applying The Proximity Principle To An Entry-Level Accounting Job Search

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Finding an Entry Level Accounting Job

In my spare time recently I’ve been enjoying listening to a few podcasts, one of which is “The Ken Coleman Show” where Ken shares job search advice with callers looking to land their dream job.  Frequently the “proximity principle” comes up on Ken’s calls, and I’ve found a lot of truth in that concept.  In applying it to my own specific niche, namely accounting careers, I’ve come to the conclusion that this idea could be highly valuable for entry-level and soon-to-be-graduates in our own profession as well.

In a nutshell, the “proximity principle” is the idea that in order to land the position you are targeting, you need to put yourself in proximity to those that have the power to get you there. How does that apply specifically to accounting entry-level positions though? I think it comes down to networking…

When you are getting ready to graduate, it’s easy to depend on “the system” to get you an entry-level job. And to some extent this makes sense.  However, it doesn’t work for everyone 100% of the time.  Sometimes individual students need to do more.  This usually comes in the form of networking.

If you want to ensure that you land the best job for you specifically, try applying the proximity principle to your own situation. Go where the people are that have the power to connect you or hire you.  Where is that?  The people that have the power to hire you in accounting and to recommend you be hired can be found in many places, but the highest probability outside of career fairs is at professional association meetings.  Association meetings such as your local CPA Society, IMA chapter meeting, Internal Auditors Association meeting, or one of many other accounting organization meetings are usually excellent opportunities for you to engage with those individuals influencing the hiring process.  In these situations, you are more likely to be moved to the top of the stack if they are in a position to be hiring, as well as be considered for positions that may not even have been advertised yet.  Either one is very beneficial.  Having met a decision maker in an organization where you may want to work in advance of the interview process goes a long way towards increasing your chances of landing the job.

If you are approaching graduation or simply looking for your first internship, don’t leave it to chance as to whether or not you are selected through a career placement office or from an advertisement response. Take your destiny into your own hands by applying the proximity principle to your own job search.  Go where the true decision makers are, and make an effort to get to know them personally.  It takes additional work, but increases your chances dramatically.  At a minimum, you will get experience interacting with other professionals; but more likely though you will find the position that best fits your overall career desires.

Until next time, I wish you the best in your career!

Mark Goldman CPA