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I got asked about this and think it will be helpful to post this for more people to see.
I'm not an expert so this is just based on my own experience.
You need to first make sure you want to work in public practice. It's not for everyone. If you don't like long hours, stress, juggling work and study, then audit might not be for you. If you want to work more in tax, NTR, review, then work-life balance is not bad. If you want to work in industry eventually, then keep in mind switching from public practice to industry can be hard in the beginning. In come cases, it might be better to start in industry and work your way up. However, I don't want to deter you from applying for a firm. Apprenticeship is a rewarding experience comes at some cost. You can afford it if you are still young.
If you have made up your mind. There are several ways:
1. If you have really solid background, good language skills, high marks, try the campus recruitment events. In Vancouver, all CA firms hire new students in fall every year. You need to attend those events to find out when is the due date and how to apply. The networking may help you if you are very good at it. For me, it didn't make a difference. They will still give you interview if your application stands out. Back then when I applied, we submit a generic form called CACEE form which includes your resume and cover letter and other information like school, GPA, extra curricular activities, etc. I will give it a shot no matter what as it's good job searching experience.
2. If you failed the first route, try to apply for the job postings posted on job searching websites. I found my first firm job from craigslist. It's a small firm, so they didn't go through the campus recruitment. You can also try other websites like Glassdoor, Workopolis, etc. Bigger firms have career page for openings on the firm websites.
3. It will be helpful if you know people working in a firm that can refer you.
4. I think there are speed interview events hosted by CGA/CA institute, so you can attend those.
5. Worst case you can try those firms that hire "volunteer" staff accountant. You can gain some experience and leave for a paid job. One of my co-workers did it this way.
6. I don't know if cold calling works as I never tried it myself. Generally most companies don't like that type of applicants. But it can be an option too. Just be prepared for denial.
If you are invited to an interview, be well prepared. Be sharp, be sincere, be motivated, and hope for the best.
So much I can think of. It will be hard at the beginning, but eventually you will get there.
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