You want to give yourself every chance to succeed when you start the job hunt, which means you’ve got a lot of moving factors to organize. Before you can start applying to the jobs you’ve bookmarked, you’ll need to make sure your resume is up to date and puts you in the best light possible. A better-looking resume means a better chance at an interview.
If you’re in the resume stage, you’re likely in one of two positions: You’re a new graduate looking for your first job in accounting or finance, or you’ve been in the field for a while and you’ve decided it’s time for a change. Whether you have decades of experience or nothing more than a recent college degree, a well put together resume is the key to landing interviews.
Know What Finance and Accounting Recruiters Are Looking For
When completing your resume, think of what your future employer will want to see on paper. The hiring manager may be looking at thousands of applicants, so including your most relevant experience important. Accounting and finance employers usually look over:
- Cover Letters
- Experience and Accomplishments
A brief cover letter summarizes why you are an ideal candidate for the job. Your education, experience, and accomplishments speak to what you’ve already done in the workforce, and your skills section will describe what you bring to the table and prove your industry acumen. You’ll find these elements in most resume examples, but you should know how to orient yours towards a hiring manager in finance and accounting.
Be Honest and Concise
When writing your cover letting, be as concise and honest. Highlight your most important attributes in a short and sweet text so hiring managers have to read as little as possible. Do not over exaggerate your past accomplishments or inflate your numbers. Instead, emphasize impressive and straightforward aspects, such as your 4.0 GPA.
Use the Right Keywords
During the hiring process, a company knows what it’s searching for, and you should too. Hiring managers look for certain keywords as they quickly scan through endless resumes; bigger firms sometimes use automated software to do it for them. In either case, identify those keywords and be sure to include them in your resume.
To look for a company’s keywords, look at their job listing. While describing the responsibilities of the position, the company includes keywords that you can use to your advantage. Use the same verbiage in your resume to tailor itself to that particular position; if you do it right, you can increase your chances of being noticed by automated software. This is one area where it pays to use specific terminology in your resume.
On a similar note, you don’t want to get caught up in shorthand that the hiring manager might not understand. You may be used to a personal or company wide system if you’ve been in the same place for a number of years, so double check that you didn’t slip into any old habits while updating your resume. Throwing in jargon that the reader won’t understand just gets confusing and won’t help your chances, so keep an eye out for it when you proofread.
Ready to get started?
Visually Optimize Your Resume
In case it hasn’t become clear yet: Hiring managers review a great deal of paperwork and can only allot so much attention to each applicant’s resume. The way you organize your resume visually can make a significant impact on how it’s received. If it’s too confusing to find the relevant information, you’re probably going to get passed on.
Now you just have to decide what’s most relevant and put it in the spotlight. If you’re a recent graduate and you don’t have any work experience in the accounting or finance industries, your education section will probably be at the top of your resume. Remember, keep each section brief and to the point so all the pertinent information is laid out in front of the reader. Include the name and location of the school, when you attended, your field of study, your GPA, and any honors or accolades from your time there.
Those who have been out of school for a while and already have a history in the accounting or finance industry will typically put the most recent—or important—position at the top of the resume. Then the line goes down in reverse chronological order. If you’ve had a number of jobs in the industry but you had an impressive education you want to emphasize, you don’t have to list every job you’ve ever had.
If visual organization isn’t your niche, you can always search for resume templates online. Even most word processors should have built-in templates you can use to get the professional look you’re going for. Resume templates can be lifesavers when it comes to optimizing your CV for the hiring manager.
Match the Job Description (But Don’t Lie)
When the job hunt is on, the last thing you want to do is waste time. If you apply for jobs that your resume does not suit, you’ll waste other people’s time as well as your own. When you find a listing that appeals to you and inspires you to update your resume, make sure the resulting product matches what the listing asks for. It’s worth repeating that stretching the facts and inflating the numbers to make yourself look better is a bad idea and will ultimately catch up with you.
The accounting or finance job listing will likely include hard and soft requirements, and it might require detail specific skills. While it may be easy enough to brush up on your Excel skills before putting them to use again, don’t claim to have mastered SageOne on your resume just because you saw it on the job listing. Only apply for the jobs that you honestly believe you’re qualified for.
The goal is the same with every resume: to land a job. Prove to the company that you’re the long-term solution the company needs. If you start with a neatly organized resume, you are on the right track to landing your dream job.