After years of study, hard work, and planning, your future is finally here. You want to join a firm that believes a team doesn't mean the end of the individual, that knowledge has a greater value when it is applied, and that technology is more powerful in the hands of a true craftsman. While others may wait for tomorrow, you want experience today. Your opportunity to put into action all that you have learned can be put to the test at Clifton Gunderson. Build your future today.
Cover Letter Tips
Do you really need to send a cover letter with my resume?
Yes, it's a professional must! Always include a cover letter.
Well, you want to use your cover letter to introduce yourself, and to tell the recruiter why you are applying and why you should be considered for the open position.
Be sure to personalize each and every cover letter you send out — don't be generic — in order to ensure the recruiter takes time to read it. Invest the extra time and add a creative and interesting twist.
Don't rewrite your resume in the cover letter.
Think of the letter as your opportunity to tell the recruiter why you are unique and a great fit for the open position. You can also briefly touch on additional skills or experience you have, which are not highlighted in your resume. Always remember to explain why these skills would be an asset to the position and the company. Don't be afraid to use your cover letter to brag about some of your brightest highlights.
What are your intentions?
Spell it out! If you are making a career change, or moving from one city to another, be sure to explain the situation clearly and communicate why you are making the change. Never assume that the recruiter is going to be able to figure it out.
Why are you different from the other candidates?
Use the cover letter to express this. Be creative! Tell the recruiter in a unique way why you are different.
Let the recruiter know when you are available and where to call you.
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- Have a firm handshake
- Look the interviewer in the eye
- Be confident in your answers
- Be positive
- Dress appropriate
- Ask questions if you have them – be proactive and enthusiastic
- Remember you are in a professional environment—speak in a professional manner
- Thank the interviewer for his/her time and consideration
- Always ask for a business card
- Always send a thank you letter, whether the job is a fit for you or not. You never know if you'll run into the person professionally or personally down the road somewhere.
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Books to Read
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10 Tough Questions
- Give me a brief overview of your current position.
- Draw an organizational chart and describe how you fit in your organization.
- Describe your most significant accomplishment in your current or most recent position, or in school.
- Translate one of your most comparable accomplishments (from your most recent position or in school) to the major goals of the position I just described.
- How would you implement the major goals of this position if you were to be hired?
- What are your salary expectations?
- What do you want to be doing three years from now?
- What types of problems do you like to solve?
- How would others (peers, subordinates, supervisors) describe you and your style?
- Why do you want to leave your current position?
The 10 tough questions listed above are open-ended questions. They are designed to compare your past performance at school or in your current position to the current opening for which you are interviewing. You may find the questions difficult to answer at first, but once you begin answering, you will find it easier.
There are NO right or wrong answers to the questions asked in an interview—they are designed and structured to meet the needs of the position, and the firm you are interviewing with. Take some time to look over the questions, answer truthfully and in the most positive manner possible.
When discussing salary requirements (Question #6) be honest about your salary history. If this is your first job out of college and you are asked your requirements during the interview, it is fair to ask the starting range. At that point, you may state your requirements, but you will need to justify your range requirement.
Recruiter: "The range for this position is $40,000 to $45,000."
Candidate: "Based on that range, my requirement is $42,000. I have worked in an aggressive internship program, and already have real-world experience that a person without internship experience would not have."
If you are an experienced professional making a career move and you are asked about your salary requirements:
Recruiter: "The range for the position is $55,000 to $60,000"
Candidate: "Currently my salary is $50,000, and this position is going to require me to work more hours and has more responsibility than I currently have. I am bringing my experience, my knowledge in technology and the industry, and am the kind of person that can hit the ground running. Based on that, my salary requirement is $55,000."
A great answer to question #7 is:
"Three years from now I want my career to have progressed. I would also like to be in a spot where I am continually learning and growing. I would like to own a house or condominium by that point."
This answer shows that the candidate wants to not only career climb, but also continue learning and growing. Perhaps the open position has no growth opportunities available, and the type of candidate that will succeed in this position will be very stagnant. In that case, this answer shows that the candidate interviewing will not stay with the position very long since it won't offer long-term opportunity. It is the responsibility of the recruiter to offer you a position that meets your needs as well.
Then again, maybe the open position requires that the person continually learns and grows. In this case, this candidate is showing great potential in that area.
A poor answer is:
"Oh gosh, I don't know. I guess I want to still be with your company and oh wow, this is hard, maybe I will be back in school too. I don't really know."
Obviously, we know that we don't know exactly where we will be in three years, but the idea is to show that you are goal oriented and have an idea of the progression you would like in your life. Answer positively, briefly, and with confidence.
When reading through the questions above, focus on answers that will tell the truth about your personality in a positive and professional manner. For example, if you were asked question #9, a weak answer would be:
"They would say I am nice."
A better answer would be:
"My supervisor would tell you that I am a hard worker, I am not always as detailed as I need to be, but that I can be counted on to do a good job. My supervisor would also tell you that I am very valuable to the team I work on."
The second answer tells the recruiter that you know you have areas that need development, but that you are a team player and a value to the company you work for.
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Interview the Organization
It is very important to keep in mind, especially for new college graduates, that not only is the organization interviewing you, you too are interviewing the organization to make sure it is a good fit for you. After all, you want to work for a firm that is going to provide you with the experience you're looking for. Ask the questions now! Remember, your goal is to find a job that fits you.
Ask the interviewer questions too!
- How long have you been with the company?
- What have you enjoyed most about working for this company?
- What was attractive to you about my resume?
- What are the top three goals of this position?
- Where do you see the ideal candidate five years from now?
- What is the complete interview process for this position?
- What is the target start date for this position?
- What opportunities are there for continued education?
- Does your company encourage employees going back to school for an advanced degree, or industry certifications?
- What is the benefit package?
- Please summarize your retirement plan.
- What are the travel requirements?
- Please tell me about vacation/paid time off.
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The Interview Process
Resume and Cover Letter
Build a resume that highlights your significant accomplishments at your current and past jobs, at school, and in extra-curricular activities. Use your cover letter to share more details in regards to your significant accomplishments.
How to Prepare for a CG Interview
- Check out our web site and brochures
- Visit your placement office and school faculty
- Talk to our interns and CG employees
- Dress professionally, feel free to wear a suit!
- Make good eye contact
- Have a firm handshake
- Be yourself!
The best way to prepare for a CG interview is to think about your most significant accomplishments, and exactly how you accomplished them. Think about what sort of impact you made in your former positions, and what satisfaction you got out of them. We believe that past performance is a great indicator of future performance, so we will ask you all about your past performance. Please don't be shy about sharing it!
After the Interview
Send a thank you note. In it, tell us why you are interested in Clifton Gunderson!
We will make you a verbal offer, and mail an offer to you so you can look it over. While making a decision, you should consider all of the details about your new position such as day-to-day responsibilities, benefits, travel (if any), career path and growth, and especially mentoring opportunities. Now, take a step back and look at the big picture by considering Clifton Gunderson as a firm, public accounting, professional services, and long-term career opportunities. We will want a response from you as soon as possible!
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New Employee Tips
- Your initial impression is lasting
- Be confident
- Dress for the position you want to be in
- Be honest about your abilities
- Be positive at all times
- Enjoy yourself
- Give your best effort to your job
- Don't be afraid to talk to any of your co-workers and managers
- Talk to your manager or mentor about issues before discussing with others in the office
- Be open to constructive feedback
- Offer suggestions for projects and office improvement
- Don't be afraid to make mistakes—this is how you learn
- Admit mistakes
- Keep good relations—you never know when your paths will cross with clients and employees again
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