BDO asks students applying to the firm for work placements or for co-ops to submit two documents. One is the cover letter. The other is the resume.
You're three-dimensional. How are you going to get everything you are, and everything you have to offer an employer, on two pieces of paper?
What should I write in my cover letter?
You can stand out by focusing your cover letter on why you want to work at BDO—tell us what makes you unique. We're different, too. We're in the mid-market. We're mid-sized. We're proud of who we are. We have a different focus―different clients and a different culture.
"On top of joining a good firm, you want to be doing work that's of interest to you. And we want students who are engaged in the work," says Lindsay Dale, Campus Recruitment Manager at BDO.
Focus your letter on why you want to work with us. Tell us why the type of client work we do excites you, or why you think our culture could be a really great fit.
"Tip: People at BDO especially value leadership, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills."
Tell us about your involvement with sports teams or clubs, from music to the accounting society. Highlight team projects, and include what you did. Goals accomplished together take special skill sets. University-level assignments can be really demanding.
"Your cover letter is an opportunity to show off a little bit and be proud of what you've done," Lindsay suggests.
What should I put on my resume?
Put down all of your experiences. Any sort of work experience is great. You're not required to have had a job before applying to work with us, but you probably do have transferrable skills you could list.
If you volunteered, tell us what you did. Highlight your accomplishments in academics, in sports, in your community. All of that is really great for us to see.
If you worked in the grocery store or at a clothing shop, mention it. Customer-service experience is valuable.
"We work in a client-service firm, so you need a client-service mindset coming in," Lindsay says.
What kinds of opportunities are there for students at BDO?
While a service focus is common to all roles at BDO, showcase what makes you a good fit—we hire students for a wide range of opportunities.
We hire for the more traditional areas of our practice, like Audit and Tax. We hire into our Advisory service lines, including M&A, Valuations, Forensic Accounting, Financial recovery, risk, strategy and operations—to name a few. We hire comp-sci students for the BDO Technology practice. We hire for our National office, into Marketing and HR.
How are you uniquely qualified for the jobs that interest you? Include those details in your cover letter and your resume, too.
What will make me stand out to the Campus Recruitment team?
If you write a cover letter that tells us why you want to work at BDO, and you write a resume that tells us what you've done, you will stand out to our recruiters, who really do read every single application.
Make it easy for us to read your resume: make sure the format is clear. Get a friend to proofread your cover letter and resume. Then, spellcheck it. Then, double-check that you got names right. Then, give it to another friend to look at again. "All those little details build up to make a strong resume," Lindsay adds.
What should I do next?
"My biggest advice to students is to take any opportunity to get to know BDO—get to know the Campus Recruitment team in person. If we're on campus doing events, come out to meet us. And, if we aren't on campus doing events, send us a message on LinkedIn and ask to have a coffee chat with somebody to learn a little bit more about working at BDO. Students who reach out to us, who say, 'Hey, do you have time for a 15-minute phone call?' really stand out. The best way to stand out is to connect with us," Lindsay suggests.
Relationships are "a huge focus of the firm, so students may not realize they're building up that skill set, but it will help them along their career as well, reaching out and creating those connections."
Connect with opportunities at BDO.