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Getting Your Accounting Resume Right

April 11, 2016 - Posted to Resume Tips

Content getting your accounting resume right

Career opportunities for accounting professionals exist in every business sector, and that is a good thing. It means that accountants have a wider field and can usually find positions within organizational cultures they like. And the types of positions available are also varied – CPA, controller, CFO, financial planning, and so forth.

Focus on Skills and Accomplishments

An accounting resume should be developed just like any other professional document. What you want to do is show your value to the future employer. This means that you focus not on the responsibilities you had inn previous positions, but, rather, on the accomplishments, the areas of expertise that you have, and the certifications that you hold.

Craft Several Versions

You may have a variety of skills and certifications. Employers have a variety of needs. One generic resume will not suffice. You will want a different resume for a CPA position than you will want for a controller or CFO position.

You will also want versions that will be appropriate for the variety of organizations to which you may apply. Seeking an accountancy position with a bank will be very different than seeking one at Google. Your tone and verbiage will be very different, as well as the format you choose. A traditional resume format will work for the bank; a more progressive format that shows some creativity will be much better for Google.

Do your research before you submit a resume. Check out the company’s website and get a “feel” for the culture. You can then craft the right resume.

Get a Summary at the Top of the Page

Do not write a career objective at the top. This only tells a future employer what you want. What you want to place in that top position is a summary of your major achievements and expertise. Now, you are showing the employer what you can do for him/her.

Get Those Keywords In

Especially, if the organization is large, you have to assume that there will be a digital scanning process in place to screen for keywords that relate to both the position and the company’s needs. You can usually identify these from the posting and the job description. Use a few of the primary ones in your summary at the top and scatter them throughout the document as you describe your employment history.

Study Some Accounting Resume Examples

If you are new to resume writing, you will not produce a good one the first time through this process. You would be well-advised to look at a number of samples in a variety of formats. You will see some commonalities:

  • Employment history is not in paragraph form. Instead, the company and the position title are placed in bold, and perhaps a sentence or two gives a general summary of the position held.
  • Accomplishments, not tasks are listed in bullet points and in phrases
  • Action verbs are used to describe accomplishments
  • Certifications are listed in a separate section, along with awards and organizations to which the candidate belongs
  • There will be links to social media profiles, especially LinkedIn and any smaller platforms that are niche specific.

For the Entry Level Accounting Resume

If you are an entry level candidate, you need to look for those openings that state “entry level” or something similar. The expectation is that you won’t have much professional experience to present. But you will have other things to include. Think about the following:

What was your GPA in your finance and accounting coursework? If it was really high, it should be included.

Have you passed the CPA exam? Be sure to let that be known in the summary at the top of the page.

Have you earned any other certifications? Put them in a prominent place

Did you hold any positions related to finance in clubs or organizations in school? Were you the treasurer of a group?

Did you write any papers or complete any projects that got lots of praise from your instructors? You should upload those to your LinkedIn account and provide links to them.

You want an employer to know that you are skilled and ready to begin your career.

One Final Tip: As you create your resume, your constant thought must be how can I meet this employer’s needs? If you gear your document to that, the value you can bring will be apparent.