September 18, 2015
by Ellen

Meet Jonathan

You have probably already seen, and possibly met with,  Jonathan, but I thought it’d be nice for you to get a more complete picture of this charming fellow. I wish I could take credit for the wonderfully written description that follows, but alas, Jonathan does such a nice job of referring to himself in third person that I have nothing to add.

— Ellen


Know Your Consultant… Jonathan York

Jonathan York, one of the new (bearded) faces in the LPDC, was born and bred a tar heel in the Old North State–North Carolina. York has many flaws and eccentricities, but we’ll not dwell on those here (not enough time!). He has been a poet his whole life, and his mother just stepped down as President of the NC Poetry Society. He still writes when some poems stubbornly refuse to remain unwritten.

Jonathan greatly enjoys travel, camping, and being outside generally. His last big adventure was a backpacking and couch-surfing campaign through Europe (from which Jonathan and Europe are both still trying to recover). York has visited such exotic locations as Athens, Figi, Scottland, Aukland, and Sycamore (IL). His charming girlfriend is Canadian, but York has never made it up north to the Maple Leaf Wonderland (no one calls it that, and it’s probably for the best), nor has he ever descended South to shake the proverbial maracas of Mexico.

These days, Jonathan spends hours upon hours reading much too slowly while desperately trying to read much faster to keep up with his studies. Working Monday and Wednesday mornings (Friday by appointment) he also spends time popping into the LPDC to help you with your writing and presentation skills.

September 11, 2015
by Ellen

The “right way” to do a resume

We’ve seen several resumes in the LPDC these past two weeks, so I thought it’d be a good idea to share a few of the most common issues.

1) Is there a “right way” to do a resume? My answer? Yes and no….

The Google machine will find a plethora of resume templates for you to choose from (yes, it’s ok to use a template). But some are better than others. The key here is to find something that looks clean and balanced on the page. Resumes should be easy to scan — the important stuff jumps right off the page — which means, you use consistent headings, large enough font, and don’t overcrowd your lines. You also need to structure it so that the white space and text are proportionate – don’t have crammed up paragraphs in an outline format that creates large margins.

2) Does it really have to be one page?

You will get differing opinions on this one. The answer depends on how long you’ve been working. For you, at this stage in your career, it should probably be one page. For people who have been out there working in the profession for several years, it can be longer because their qualifications can no longer fit on one page.

3) Which comes first, education or work experience?

The general rule is that you start with the stuff that best qualifies you for the job. For most of you, your MAS is what qualifies you for the internship or associate position you are applying for, so your education should be listed first. Once you’ve been out there for a while, your work experience will be more important, so you will start with that.

4) How much stuff should go under each heading?

For education: list your graduate and undergraduate degrees in reverse chronological order — MAS, BA/BS; include GPAs for both (if they are above 3.5), any honors or awards, and any student associations you belong to (especially if you had a leadership role in the organization). Only add extra lines of detail if you have enough space.

For experience: list any jobs you have had in reverse chronological order. Be sure to list all accounting-related experience, even if it means you have to leave other jobs off the list in order to keep it to one page, and add lines of detail that list the specific accounting-related tasks you learned. DO NOT list general, platitudinous “skills” — “I am highly qualified, hardworking, self-motivated, detail-oriented, and enthusiastic….” (Que eye-roll and groan… Who wouldn’t want employers to believe that?) You need to SHOW that you possess those characteristics through the information you include on your resume. Your 4.0 GPA shows you’re hardworking; your degree and internships show you’re highly qualified; your participation in student organizations shows you’re enthusiastic, etc.

5) Is there an objective here?

Ah, the dreaded objective line. Whether to include one is another point of debate. I, personally, don’t much care for them. However, they are useful in a few circumstances you may encounter. Whenever you give someone a resume that is not accompanied by a cover letter and/or an application for a specific job, you need to include an objective line that tells the recruiter what it is you are looking for. For example, “to obtain an internship for summer 2016″ or “to obtain an associate position to begin January 1, 2016.”

Ultimately, there is no one “right way” to do a resume. No rules, just guidelines. But, as always, we are here to help you figure it out. Shoot us an email to make an appointment:

See you soon!

September 1, 2015
by Ellen

Welcome Back!

Welcome!  Hope your fall semester is off to a great start.

Please stop by the LPDC (BH339) to grab a cup of coffee and say hello to our new consultants, Tom and Jonathan. Thanks to their help, we have expanded our consultation hours this semester:

Mondays (9am-3pm)

Tuesdays (9am-3pm)

Wednesdays (9am-5:30pm)

Thursdays (9am-3pm)

Friday (9am-1pm-by appointment only)

As always, we are available for walk-in appointments, but we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment ahead of time because we do get booked up (usually at that time in the semester when you really need us!). Please schedule appointments by emailing us at

Very Important Reminder:  Coffee and food CANNOT leave the LPDC!!!  We have been put on notice that if students continue to take coffee out of the LPDC and into classrooms, we will lose the privilege to eat and drink in the center. Don’t ruin it for everyone else — finish your coffee before you leave.

Upcoming Events:

Professional Written Communications workshops: Tuesday, September 1, and Friday, September 4. If you are in MGT 615, please register for one of these days by following this link:

Pizza with Barry: Tuesday, September 22, 11am-1pm in the LPDC.  Enjoy a free lunch and hangout with Barry. This is a great opportunity to come and ask questions before the ACCY Career Night or simply pick his brain about leadership or professional development.

Hope to see you soon!

Jennifer, Ellen, Tom, and Jonathan

P.S. For some great advice on how to start things off right, check out Ellen’s blog post:

July 1, 2015
by Ellen

CPA Time!

You’re finally done with the MAS! You’ll never have to worry about grades again – no more papers, no more exams…oh, wait…the CPAs! Commence panic attack. Actually, there’s no need to panic. Take a little time to bask in the glow of your success. Then take a deep breath and push through this last challenge.

At the end of every semester, I share anew my CPA study tips. Give it a read and then get started. You can do it!


Getting ready for the CPA exams? Freaking out? Yeah, I get it. I sat for two bar exams (California and Illinois) and the Ph.D. candidacy exams. The intensity of these life-altering events is enough to make even the steely of us crack. I still feel a little anxious when I think about it — trauma? Maybe. But you can harness that intensity and make it work for, rather than against, you. Use it — jump on the wave and ride it to shore. Your anxiety can become the fuel your brain needs to focus, if you impose a little structure on it. Here’s how.

1) Take a review course. This is a great way to get an idea of the scope of the exam, and the materials provided usually contain a relatively clear explanation of the relevant material.

2) Create your own subject matter outlines. It’s important to create your own outlines, rather than simply relying on the review materials, because the act of independently creating an outline forces you to actually process the material — you have to figure out how it all goes together. Each outline should reflect full understanding of the specific subject matter — if you were a super-genius, this would be your memory (the mastery you aspire to). Having a brilliant outline is crucial because it provides the foundation for your preparation.

3) Progressively memorize the material.

  • Break it down into sections and then break the sections down into layers. For example, take the first heading of the first outline level (I.) and the material that falls beneath it as your first “section.” Then, identify the layers — the heading (I.), the subheadings (A., B., C…), the next level (1., 2., 3…), the next level (a., b., c.,…)….you get the idea. Depending on the complexity of the material, you may have several layers.
  • Notecards are great for memorizing, but before you go there, try writing the outline out several times first. I literally used 100s legal pads when I was studying for the bar — writing out my outlines over and over. You could also type the material, if that works better for you, but there is something about physically writing the material over and over that helps me memorize it. Start with the big picture — the first level of the outline — write it out a few times. Then transfer it to notecards, memorize the notecards, and then write it out again from memory. Pacing around and saying the material out loud helps — kind of getting more senses involved. One of my study partners liked to create flowcharts, too.
  • Every time you add info, repeat what precedes it — like you are continuing the thought. This preserves the logical connections and helps you actually understand the material you are memorizing. For example, first you learn “I.,” then “I., A., ” then “I., A., 1.,” then “I., A., 1., a..” etc.
  • The key to memorization is repetition. Take your outline with you everywhere — stick copies in your bags, car, bedroom, coffee table — put it on your phone. Read through it whenever you have a moment or when you have a little shock of anxiety about the exam.

4) Stay calm and focused. Yes, it’s a herculean task, but it’s also doable. Thousands of people have taken — and passed — the exam. You will, too.

June 19, 2015
by Ellen

Finals, finals, finals!

Just a few weeks ago, I was helping you create a summer semester survival plan. Now here you are at the end of it! Phew. Time for the mad dash to the finish — finals.

Because I have written many posts about surviving finals, I will refrain from repeating myself here and simply give you the links to my two favorites:

“Finals again – time to meditate”

“Want to Ace Your Finals? Study at the Gym!”

Good luck; study hard; and congrats for finishing a tough semester!!

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