In this Career Moves article, the Student Professional Development Center presents the inspiring journey of Zach Sellers, a remarkable individual who has navigated the challenging yet rewarding landscape of career development with the assistance of Elon's dedicated professionals.
Zachary Sellers ’24 is an accounting major and North Carolina native. Sellers’ story is a testament to resilience, adaptability and the transformative power of career services.
The influences of his family have guided Sellers’s career journey. Initially, he aspired to follow in his mother’s footsteps in clinical research, deeply inspired by her work on clinical trials to improve people’s lives. However, his father’s career as an internal auditor also left a significant impact on Sellers, drawing him towards the world of accounting and finance. This dual influence led him to Elon as a psychology major with a finance minor. His heart yearned for clinical research, but finance appeared more practical.
In his sophomore year, he recognized that psychology wasn’t his true calling and sought the guidance of business advisor Chris Baker, who played a pivotal role in helping Sellers align his major and professional certifications with his career aspirations. Sellers’ goals shifted from clinical research to aspiring to become a chief financial officer. Encouraged by Baker, he connected with his current advisor, Patty Cox, in the accounting department and shifted to an accounting major.
Sellers made extensive use of Elon’s Career Services. He sought assistance at the Porter Center for resume refinement, ensuring his resume passed AI screening. He attended job fairs, fostering connections with recruiters. He also worked on building his LinkedIn profile to enhance his professional image when applying for jobs. Career Services was his go-to for business-related queries, helping him make informed decisions during the job hunt.
“Though it can seem scary or you might feel less than willing to reach out for help, doing so can open doors that you might have never imagined for yourself. I never imagined working for a Big Four until I was told I was a good candidate, and I think that is something to be cherished, as sometimes people might see things in you that you don’t see in yourself. Once I realized that the Porter Center would meet me where I was and help me get where I wanted to be, I let down my walls. Once I did that, I was about to get the support I needed, and I succeeded,” Sellers said.
A pivotal moment came during his sophomore year when Sellers embarked on his internship search. Unfortunately, he began applying late and couldn’t secure an internship. This setback led to a summer job where he actively networked, learned about different professions, and researched companies for his future applications.
Sellers’ job search journey wasn’t without its challenges. Despite having a list of desired jobs, he struggled to secure first-round interviews. The Porter Center recommended LinkedIn job alerts and using WayUp, a platform helping match applicants with suitable positions. These strategies allowed him to send around 40 applications by the end of September in his junior year.
One challenge he encountered was maintaining motivation in the face of initial rejections. The encouragement he received from Career Services and his advisors to “own up to your mistakes” and “ask for help” proved instrumental in his progress.
Sellers attributes his successful placement at EY to the support and connections he built through Elon’s alumni network and career fairs. Meeting an Elon alumnus, David Campbell, made a profound impact. Lunch with Campbell allowed Sellers to gain insights into the interview process and the culture at EY and to ask candid questions about the company.
His interactions with advisors like Patty Cox, Chris Baker, Lauren Bosselait, Corinne Townley and Cindy Sweeney played a vital role in his success. They offered guidance, helped him tailor his goals, and provided valuable advice on the job market and graduate programs.
Sellers’ refined interview skills, thanks to the Porter Center, were pivotal in securing job offers. He also learned how to focus on the best-fit companies, resulting in successful interviews and offers. Elon helped him build a professional LinkedIn profile, master the art of connection-making, and prepare for interviews. The support he received was invaluable for his professional growth.
His partnership with Career Services helped him understand his career goals and plans. Conversations with advisors guided him toward his dream of becoming a Certified Risk Manager and a Partner at EY.
Sellers advises fellow students to overcome hesitations and make the most of Career Services, as it can open doors they may not have imagined. The support he received was instrumental in his success.
He has accepted a return offer with EY and is studying for the CPA exam. He aspires to earn a Master’s in Risk Management, become a Certified Risk Manager, work in the private sector, and establish his own Risk Consulting firm.
His journey from academic exploration to a promising career at EY exemplifies the power of determination, support from advisors, and leveraging Career Services. His story inspires fellow students to overcome obstacles, connect with alumni, and strive for their dreams with confidence and perseverance.