Applying without Work Experience

Grant Thornton


This is the single most useful site for graduate applications so, even though this might be a dumb question, I was wondering if you lot could help.

I’m applying to Tax at BDO and Grant Thornton (I’m applying to several others, but these are the two I like the most) at the London offices, but I don’t have any work experience in accountancy. I’ve recently graduated (with a 2:1 in Economics from Edinburgh) and thought I’d try and get some unpaid work experience at home, in Cardiff, but after 10 speculative applications, nothing has materialised. I don’t think it’s my CV/Covering letters, since the careers advisor said they were really good (she kept one as an example for others coming in :slight_smile: ) but I am not sure I’ll get any relevant experience before the deadline.

I’m worried because I don’t have anything that really shows I’m committed to the career beyond my attendance at careers events and talks. Will a lack of work experience mean my application is pointless? It’s so competitive, and I’m afraid I’ll be overlooked because I haven’t had an internship.



I shouldn’t worry, I have no work experience of accountancy and got interviews with the Big 4, GT, and some smaller companies (I applied for audit). You will get a chance to show your commitment at the interview! Good luck.


Don’t stress too much - I’ve managed to get to the partner interview stage with PwC with no relevant work experience. What they will be looking for though, is evidence of when you have provided excellent client service - this could come from having worked in a supermarket or as a waiter, etc. Just make everything sound positive as that was my downfall last year!

Good luck


No work experience needed at all, just enthusiasm and a bit of intelligence


Agreed. It’s all about demonstrating transferable skills from your education/experience to date.
If I’d had relevant experience before starting accountancy I’d never have started. As a trainee, auditing was the most dull experience of my life. Tax, on the other hand is challenging, interesting and you are actually delivering a service to help the client as opposed to the statutory necessity of the Audit.
Will you do ACA or straight into CIOT?