Guides & Handbooks

Career Development Handbook for MPAc Students

Part I: Overview & Mutual Expectations

The Graduate School of Management and Career Development staff work diligently to develop career and internships opportunities, provide contacts with local, regional, national and international companies, and implement programming designed to enhance your job or internship search knowledge and abilities. It is expected that you will take individual responsibility for your career development and job search. You should be working assertively on career management from the beginning of the fall quarter. You must be proactive.

In order to use the services of the Career Development Center, all students are required to complete all of the following as explained in detail in Part II of the MPAc Career Development Handbook:

  1. Complete the Summer Webinar Series and corresponding assignments
  2. Attend orientation Career Development workshops and events
  3. Adhere to on campus interview protocol and professional conduct

These requirements will provide students with a foundation for their job search and assure they receive the maximum benefit from services and resources available. It is necessary to complete all requirements and remain in good academic standing in order to utilize Career Development during your tenure at the GSM.

What You Can Expect From Career Development

You have just read some of our expectations of you. Now we want to let you know what you can expect from us. We will:

  • Work with you in a professional and ethical manner
  • Be available to discuss your individual concerns, career development strategy, and job search processes
  • Provide you with opportunities to meet employers regarding career positions.
  • Provide the latest organizational information, resources, and training programs in job search strategy and career management
  • Keep conversations, statistics, and career management records confidential, and only release them with your consent or in aggregate form (Submission of a resume to the resume book or for a resume referral is implied consent to the release of information contained in the resume.)
  • Be sensitive to your needs, interested in your suggestions, and flexible enough to adapt our operations to accommodate them

The tight-knit size of the Graduate School of Management’s MPAc program allows for a great deal of interaction between students and the Career Development staff. We will work closely together to help you develop the career plan and job search strategy that is right for you. We are dedicated to assisting you and look forward to a close and productive working relationship during your year at the GSM.


Part II: Student Requirements & Procedures

Summer Webinar Series & Assignments

Entering MPAc students are required to complete the summer Webinar Series & Assignments prior to attending orientation in September. These webinars are housed on the UC Davis SmartSite. You will use your UC Davis Kerberos ID and Passphrase to access the course on SmartSite. If you have not set up your UC Davis email/Kerberos ID, you will need to go here before you can begin. Once logged in, click on “My Sites” then “CD Course – MPAc 2014.”

There are five webinars with accompanying assignments:

  1. Resume Guidelines
  2. Cover Letter
  3. Networking & Elevator Pitch
  4. Informational Interviewing
  5. Interview Tips and STAR Analysis Guidelines

In order to be best prepared for Orientation and fall recruiting events, we ask that you complete the webinars and corresponding assignments by early August.

On-Campus Interviewing: Protocol & Professional Conduct

All on-campus interview schedules and their respective resume deadlines will be posted on the Symplicity calendar and announced in the Career Development and MPAc Newsletters. Reminders may also be sent out via e-mail. Typically, you will apply online through Symplicity and then you will be notified if you have been selected an on-campus interview (instructions for applicants may vary, so please do read directions carefully). Please check-in with the receptionist in Student Affairs to let him/her know you have arrived on time for your interview(s).

Interview Guidelines

Interviews are important part of your job search strategy. We expect that you will participate in a highly professional and ethical manner. We know we can count on you to:

  1. Not use on-campus interviewing for “practice”
  2. Pursue only those positions in which you have a genuine interest
  3. Respond to all invitations (in a timely manner) from companies inviting you to sign up on a pre-selected interview schedule, even if the response is to decline the interview
  4. Show up on time and well prepared for all scheduled interviews
  5. Give an honest and complete account of your work experience and education on your resume and truthfully answer relevant questions from interviewers
  6. Discontinue your job search and notify all other potential employers after you have accepted an offer for an internship or career position
  7. Honor all “accepted” career agreements made in writing and/or verbally
  8. Remain in good academic standing
Honoring Interivew Appointments

Twenty-four hour notice is required to cancel a scheduled interview.

If under extraordinary circumstances (car failure, sudden illness, death in the family), you are unable to participate in an on-campus interview, you should call Career Development at (530) 752-7658 as soon as possible.

Part III: Career Development Events & Resources

Information Sessions and Job Treks

Career Development staff organize company information sessions and “treks” (company visits) throughout the year to enable students to learn more about potential employers. Employers use this time to share their company history, promote their organization, describe their company culture and talk about career paths and opportunities. Treks give students the opportunity to meet more employees and experience the culture firsthand.

Most companies will require you to sign up in advance for these events; MPAc staff will notify you what the procedure is to sign up for information sessions and treks prior to the event. We take your sign-ups seriously and will expect you to show if have signed up, and so does the recruiter. Note: the employer determines individual student eligibility for each event. Career Development will notify you if the employer determines you are not eligible to attend.

Career Development Advising and Communication Workshops

We are planning to hold regular group advising sessions and communication workshops throughout the academic year. Please plan to attend all of these sessions and workshops. We make every effort to schedule them around your classes so that it is convenient to attend. As you go through your job search, collaborating with your classmates and staff can be an invaluable exercise. In addition, staff are always available for individual advising by appointment.

Business Etiquette Workshop

The GSM Business Etiquette Workshop is one of the most popular offerings in the Career Development series. It has received national recognition, including a profile in The Wall Street Journal. A nationally renowned etiquette expert takes students through a variety of situations that could occur over a lunch or dinner job interview or with clients during business transactions. You will learn how to put “your best fork forward for a polished business image.” All students are invited and encouraged to attend. The next workshop will be announced.

Alumni Network

Although the Graduate School of Management alumni base is relatively small, most alumni are very generous with their time and are willing to give time to students, particularly those who are prepared for discussions and who are appreciative of the time that is provided.

GSM Online Alumni Directory

The Alumni Directory is for use by Graduate School of Management alumni and students and contains contact and employment information for most alumni. This contact information is maintained by the staff and is updated frequently as alumni submit changes to the Graduate School of Management. Current Graduate School of Management students can search alumni by name, graduation year, industry and functional area, company, title, work city, state and zip. The directory displays the most current contact information available, although the accuracy and reliability of the data is dependent upon alumni updates. In addition, alumni can choose to have some or all of their contact information displayed in the Online Alumni Directory.

Note: The Online Alumni Directory is for individual communication only. This information is not intended for placement purposes, but it does allow you the opportunity to contact alumni for informational interviews and questions. Please review the Informational Interview Webinar prior to contacting alumni. Misuse of this directory and the information it contains is prohibited and will result in loss of access to the directory. The Online Alumni Directory is password protected and the alumni expect that you will not share your username, password or information gathered from the directory with anyone who is not a current Graduate School of Management student.

Part IV: Career Management Guide

Your resume is a key tool for obtaining interviews. A resume is a concise summary of your educational and work experience, accomplishments and skills. Obtaining an interview is the main goal of a resume.

Think of it as a marketing brochure. Your goal is to generate initial interest in your product. It needs to be visually appealing and grab the attention of the reader within the first few lines (and within a scanning time of as little as 15-30 seconds). Your resume will need to motivate the reader to take action and call you for an interview.

If you are considering a career change, it is essential that you relate your skills and abilities on your resume to the accounting field. Keep your goals and your audience in mind each time you set out to write or revise your resume. For help getting started, watch the Resume Webinar.

Resume Formats, Content & Examples


Although there are 3 general formats for a business resume (chronological, functional and combination), the most effective marketing piece combines the best elements of each as detailed below.

  • Chronological (with Functional Experience Headings) – The chronological resume lists your education and work experience in reverse chronological order and presents other relevant information when applicable. Using the elements of a functional resume, you can use functional experience titles as opposed to the generic “Work Experience”, such as “Accounting Experience” or “Management Experience” to target your resume.
  • Combination (Functional Headings with an Employment History) – The functional/combination resume plays down your work history and focuses on the functions you performed. The functional resume can be very helpful if you feel you may not have experience which is directly related to your career objective, but the skills you have developed are transferable. Even though it plays down your employment history, you should still list all of your employment in reverse chronological order at the bottom in the employment history section.
The Content

Always be thinking about specific tasks, accomplishments, and results, quantifying and qualifying as much as possible.

  • Quantifying: numbers, percentages, dollar amounts, scopes of projects, number of counties, countries, people, programs, etc.
  • Qualifying: descriptors, software programs you used, businesses or high profile clients’ names with whom you may have worked, answer who, what, when, where, why and how

Cover Letter Guidelines

Good letter writing techniques are as important to your job search as an effective resume. This is usually the first correspondence you have with a potential employer and it should always be accompanied by your resume. Use your cover letter to promote your unique abilities and to highlight a few outstanding and relevant accomplishments.For help getting started, watch this Cover Letter Webinar.

Cover Letter Template & Outline

MPAc Cover Letter Template

Your Name
City, State, Zip


Name of Recipient (include Mr. or Ms.)
Name of Company
City, State, Zip

Dear Mr. (or) Ms. ______________,

Paragraph One – “Why I am Writing”

  • Use a “grabber” statement: why are you the best candidate for the position?
  • State your interest and purpose for writing to the company
  • Reference the name of the publication/web site if you are responding to a classified ad
  • Avoid canned phrases, i.e. “Please find enclosed my resume for the position of –”
  • Avoid beginning every paragraph and/or sentence with “I”

Paragraphs Two & Three – “How I’m Qualified” & “Why I’m Right for this Job”

  • Use accomplishment statements with specific examples, and link them to the employer’s needs
  • Don’t emphasize your desires, focus on how you can contribute to this company with your past experience and education
  • Use terms that the employer uses in the advertisement or that are industry-specific
  • Focus on the company, show interest in their products or services and exactly how you will make an immediate contribution
  • Again, beware of beginning a paragraph with “I” – use sparingly.
  • Never use bullets in your cover letter, these are reserved for your resume.

Final Paragraph – “What I’ll Do to Follow Through”

  • Briefly restate interest/key qualifications.
  • Take the initiative and state when you will follow up this letter with a phone call.
  • Let them know they are free to contact you in the meantime.
  • Thank them for their time and consideration.


Type Your Full Name

Important – Always, always, always proofread for spelling, syntax and punctuation errors. Make sure your fonts are consistent in type and size, and double-check that you have addressed the letter to the correct person, company and position. Have another person read before sending if you can.

Other Business Correspondence

A cover letter and resume are not the only forms of communication you will use in your job search. Here are some guides and samples of requests for informational interviews, resume and cover letter submissions, thank you letters, acceptance and rejection letters.


With email as the predominant form of business correspondence, it is imperative to follow the same professional style as you would any business correspondence. You might use email to send thank-you notes, to submit resumes and cover letters to potential employers and to request informational interviews. Make sure to maintain a professional demeanor even in email; avoid using internet slang, emoticons or acronyms (e.g., LOL).

Email: Resume & Cover Letter Submission
From: Joanna Doe
Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 8:43 AM
To: Mr. John Smith
Subject: Wells Fargo – Environmental Finance Group

Dear Mr. Smith,

As a student in the UC Davis Master of Professional Accountancy program, I was forwarded your email about the job opportunity with BDO. I wanted to introduce myself and let you know that I applied for the Audit Associate position just this week. I have attached
a copy of my cover letter and resume for your review.

The Audit Associate position is exactly what I’m looking for and I assure you that my
capabilities are strongly suited to the job. I would like to have a conversation with you either in person or over the phone to discuss the position further. I’ll follow up with you within the week and please feel free to reach me with any comments or questions.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Kind regards,
Joanna Doe
MPAc, 2015
UC Davis Graduate School of Management