Become A CPA

Become A CPA

4 Tips to Impress Recruiters

by Sarah Baltzell, SPHR, Peterson Sullivan LLP | Aug 14, 2014

Smiling woman with coworkers in the background

Recruiting season is right around the corner, and as we wrap up our summer leadership activities at Peterson Sullivan, we are excited and looking forward to on-campus visits this fall. 

Are you a student who wants to stand out as a strong candidate this coming recruiting season?  Read on for some friendly advice to help you succeed in this fairly rigorous and competitive process. 

#1.  Network With Purpose! 

Do not let the first time your name flies across a recruiter's desk occur when you submit your resume packet for a campus interview.  Many firms offer summer leadership events, ongoing informal office tours, resume review workshops, and various other meet-and-greet opportunities.  Almost all are active on social media, and at Peterson Sullivan we have dedicated CAMPUS AMBASSADORS who are available year-round to connect and answer questions.

#2. Pay Attention To The Details!

Small things that are often OVERLOOKED can and will cause you problems.  Does your resume include an objective statement?  If so, make sure your objective is audience appropriate.  Around 10% of students who submit resumes to Peterson Sullivan either misspell the firm name, or send with the wrong firm name altogether.  Take advantage of spell and grammar check, second reviewers, and be sure you are submitting all of the information requested of you.  Firms are requesting items such as writing samples or professional reference letters in addition to the standard cover letter, resume, and transcripts. 

 #3. Do Your Homework!  (Yes, even though it's summertime.)

Learn as much as you can about the firms you intend to recruit with this fall.  Information such as physical location(s), mission, vision, values, strategic plan and goals, revenue, growth, merger and acquisition events, performance measures, and turnover will help you to understand the firm culture, and thereby your potential fit in it.  You can "account" at a lot of companies, so take the time to pick one where you are going to want to choose to bring your best to work each day and contribute to making it the BEST PLACE TO WORK. 

#4. Prepare To Become A "COMPLETE ACCOUNTANT."

Gone are the days when a high GPA and the ability to speak tax code automatically led to a successful career.  Accounting firms, including Peterson Sullivan, are looking hard for candidates who can demonstrate the knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and PASSION in many competency areas including, but not limited to: strong technical acumen, networking and business development capabilities, a commanding professional presence, participation and interest in the firm and its growth and improvement,  a commitment to continuous learning, and the drive to help build and then mentor empowered and engaged professionals and teams.  Think about how you can demonstrate your experience or ability in some or all of these competency areas and then tell your story.  We'll be here to listen.

About Sarah Baltzell

Sarah Baltzell, SPHR, is the Senior Director of Human Resources for Peterson Sullivan LLP in Seattle.  With over a decade of experience, Sarah is passionate about leading high functioning teams and building strong and diverse cultures. Find Sarah on LinkedIn.

You are not allowed to post comments.


The Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants is the only organization in the state of Washington dedicated to serving the professional needs of CPAs, educating consumers about CPAs and the services they provide, and encouraging students to study accounting and enter the profession.

Your Profession. Your Future. Your Advocate.


Washington Society of CPAs
902 140th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98005-3480

  • (P) 425-644-4800
  • (F) 425-562-8853

The WSCPA's business hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.