By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Aalap Shah brings experience in the online, retail and service sectors to his latest venture SoMe, a full-service digital marketing team he co-founded focusing on social media. His background in entrepreneurship and start-ups is fully rounded out by his experiences with the Big4 and at least one other venture close to his heart.
“I got my CPA and worked in the Big4 in internal audit consulting,” he told us from Chicago recently. “In between my Big4 experience and this social media business, I opened up a pair of specialty toy stores in the Chicago suburbs. The toy business is special because you’re making kids happy,” he said. “I have a two and a half year old now and it’s a delight to watch
her have the right toys that spark her imagination.”
The stores were a perfect fit for Shah who “loves people and assessing their needs” but he eventually sold them and moved into his present enterprise where he works with clients on their digital campaigns to bring awareness and exposure to their brands. We asked him about the best ways to use social media to further a career in the Big4 firms.
“Things like LinkedIn, Twitter and your own content marketing with your own blogs can really push you forward or hold you back,” he said noting a tailored approach is needed when you’re working inside the Big4 framework and networking to CPAs who often have a conservative approach to social media.
“You can really use LinkedIn to advance your career internally by networking at your Big4 firm so partners and colleagues will see your achievements and pull you in on projects, or you can shape it to get to the next position you want.”
He goes on to say optimizing your LinkedIn site is important to its success although many people don’t understand what that actually means.
“LinkedIn allows you to have a one-on-one conversation, just like the one we’re having here,” he says adding you can message people within certain industries or groups to have these interactions online through the business orientated website. These human connections are the stuff of networking for those looking to advance in the Big4 according to Shah, who elaborates on what he thinks is the best recipe to use.
“I don’t believe in being extremely direct and saying, ‘I want a job at your Big4’, but rather building these connections and saying things like, ‘I really like what’s going on at your firm and I’d like to learn more.’”
He says success often comes from using those offline and online networks together to create opportunities.
“I find that LinkedIn and social media profiles are really helpful in showing who people are, what they like to read and do, so you have some conversation starters, especially when you’re not so good at networking.”