Career and Personal Development


This website is designed to provide information to students considering a career in tax, working on an MST degree or exploring that possibility, or seeking information on how to advance their tax career. It includes more than information on the technical skills and knowledge needed to be a good tax practitioner. It also includes information on the necessary "soft" skills needed to be a great tax practitioner and have a successful career and personal satisfaction. The SJSU MS Taxation program and SJSU offer many of the resources to help students become great tax professionals.

If you know of any information or links that should be added to this website or find any broken links, please let Professor Annette Nellen know. Thanks.

↓ Careers in Taxation
 Tax Engagement Opportunities
 Campus Resources
 Soft Skills
 Interviewing, Resumes and Job Search Tips
 Off Campus Resources

Careers in Taxation

A career in taxation typically requires an undergraduate degree in accounting or a law degree. Tax professionals often are licensed by the state (such as CPA or attorney) or designated as an Enrolled Agent (EA) by the IRS if certain requirements (including testing) are satisfied. For any of these professionals, further formal study in taxation is valuable, such as accountants earning a Masters of Science in Taxation or attorneys earning either and MST or LLM in Taxation. In addition, licensed tax professionals are required to take continuing education courses to maintain their license or EA designation.

Additional information

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SJSU MST Tax Engagement Opportunities 

The SJSU MST Program has designed several activities to provide its students with opportunities to practice what they are learning in the classroom and to further develop both oral and written communication skills, and interpersonal skills. You will learn more about these opportunities at Orientation, from announcements from Professor Nellen and Cathy Dougherty, and the MST notebook kept at outside of the classroom. These activities include:

  • Writing for the MST journal - The Contemporary Tax Journal.  There are also occasional employment opportunities, such as student editor or assistant editor, with the MST journal.

  • Delivering a financial literacy workshop on a basic tax topic to members of the community or SJSU students.

  • Attending a tax professional meeting of the CalCPA Society or TEI with the MST program paying your fee (you'll learn about these opportunities via occasional email announcements from Cathy Dougherty).

  • Participating in the IRS VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program

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Campus Resources

  • SJSU MST Program Career & Personal Development Retreat - for information, contact Professor Nellen
  • SJSU Beta Alpha Psi - if you are an MST student seeking employment, you should join BAP; MST students - the deadline to sign up for fall is usually end of August so don't wait until fall MST classes start
  • SJSU Career Center - information on workshops, career fairs and online tutorials

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Soft Skills

Several skills fall within the category or "soft" skills including communication, listening, strategic thinking, work-life balance, time management, ethical  conduct, information literacy and interpersonal skills. Below are some links to information about these soft skills. The SJSU MST program offers students opportunities to become better aware of these soft skills and to develop them.

Background Information - Why a strong set of soft skills is crucial for job seekers and career advancement

Soft Skills Categories and  Information Links

Interviewing, Resume and Job Search Tips

  • Reminder on social media - be sure your Facebook and other social media sites are professional; use them effectively to market yourself; also use social media and other sites to find job leads (including Craig's list) - see links below for helpful information
  • "Rev up your resume," NBC Philadelphia, 2009
  • Mistakes on Cover Letters from the Wall Street Journal (8/9/11)
  • Assortment of ideas using the Internet (use cautiously; are they appropriate for your job search?)
    • Do Google, Yahoo! and Bing searches using your name. A potential employer will likely do the same. Is there anything you'd like to change (if possible)?  Does your Facebook page make you look like someone your prospective employer wants to hire?
    • Set up a Google or Yahoo! alert to get emailed news updates on your prospective employer
    • "HOW TO: Land Your Dream Job Using Google AdWords" by Lauren Indvik (5/10)
    • "How To Find A Job Using Social Media" by Jeff Bullas (5/10)
  • Be sure to review the SJSU Career Center website for workshops and tutorials

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Off-campus Resources

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