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An Accountant’s Guide to Writing a Resume

Updated: Sep 19, 2021

Resume writing isn’t exactly an art form, but it is a vital part of the job-hunting process. Your chances of landing an interview hinge on submitting a solid resume. A resume is typically a hiring manager’s first glimpse at a potential employee, and most resumes only receive a few seconds of attention before managers make a decision about a candidate. Because accountants possess specialized skills and knowledge, it’s important that their resumes accurately portray these abilities.

This guide explains how to write a resume for an accounting job: from the initial outline to the finishing touches.

Feature Your Education and Certifications

The accounting world is massive, and there are certifications and licenses for nearly every specialty in the industry. The most common license is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), but in addition to CPAs, there are Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs), Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs), Certified Management Accountants (CMAs), and many more! If you have one or more certifications, include them on your resume.

While all CPAs are accountants, not all accountants are CPAs. If you’re starting out in the accounting space or if you’re studying for your exams, you can still find a great accounting position. If you’re an entry-level job seeker or an experienced professional looking to make a career pivot, place your education at the top of your resume, prior to your professional experience.

The accounting world values and sometimes requires continuing education. Accountants are expected to stay on top of trends, best practices, and laws that govern their work. In fact, most certifying organizations require licensees to take a certain number of approved continuing education courses in order to stay current. Showcasing your training, education, and certifications will attract recruiters and will signal to hiring managers that you’re committed to continuing your education and building your skillset.

Link Your Experience to the Requirements

Link your experience to the job for which you’re applying. If the role requires performing bank reconciliations and preparing payroll and if you have this experience, include those details on your resume. If you’re applying for your first accounting role, link your other experience to the accounting role. For example, if you’ve worked as a cashier, include the details of your experience counting, handling, and reconciling large amounts of cash and entering data into a system. Although this experience is not exactly the same as managing a petty cash float and drafting journal entries, it does show that you have similar experiences.

Include Relevant Skills

Include skills that are relevant to the accounting industry, the most important of which are Excel skills and accounting software proficiency. Often employers want to see the software that you have used in the past to help them determine how much training you’ll need when you join the team.

Remain transparent about your skill level. If you are only an Excel beginner, do not claim that you’re an expert. The interviewer will quickly figure out that you’ve exaggerated. The same goes for accounting software - if you haven’t used the software in another job, you are likely not proficient and shouldn’t state that on your resume.

Pay Attention to the Details

Attention to detail is an important skill for accountants. Just as you ensure the accuracy of your accounting, you’ll apply the same attention to detail to your resume. Because your resume is a reflection of your skills, spelling or grammatical errors, mismatched fonts, or inconsistent formatting will demonstrate that you don’t pay attention to detail. If there are errors in your resume, the hiring manager can’t trust that there won’t be errors in your accounting!

Remove Unnecessary Information

Hiring managers and recruiters have little time to spend on each application they receive. For example, hiring managers review over 100 resumes for a junior accounting position. Highlight only important, relevant information on your resume. Remove unnecessary details such as your hobbies. You want the person reading your resume to focus on the things that make you a fit for the job, including your education, qualifications, work, and volunteer experience.

Common Mistakes Accountants Make on Their Resumes

Typos: Triple-check your resume for typos and grammatical errors, which make it look sloppy and unprofessional. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to read over your resume, as well.

Including Personal Information: If you live far from the company’s location, it may not be a good idea to include your home address. Some organizations prefer employees who won’t have a lengthy commute.

Including Salary Information: Don’t include salary information from your previous positions unless specifically instructed to do so. Revealing your salary history can potentially indicate unprofessionalism or entitlement and can affect your salary negotiations later in the hiring process.

Using Nicknames: Be sure to use your full name on your resume, even if you typically go by a nickname.

First Person Pronouns: Avoid first-person pronouns when writing your resume as per resume formatting standards. Describe your experience without using first-person pronouns. Begin sentences with action verbs: “Prepare payroll…”

Unprofessional Voicemail: Record a professional-sounding voicemail that includes your full name. If your current voicemail is too casual, re-record it before sending out your resume.

Let Optimum Staffing Solutions Guide You

Optimum Staffing Solutions can help both candidates and employers with the placement of accounting professionals. For the best staffing agencies in Greensboro, NC, as well as for the best staffing agencies in Charlotte, NC, contact Optimum Staffing Solutions.

A Greensboro temp agency, an Atlanta temp agency, as well as a Charlotte temp agency, Optimum, can provide your company with a highly skilled freelancer, contract, temporary, or direct hire professional along with HR Services. Of the temp agencies in Greensboro, NC, Atlanta, GA, and the temp agencies in Charlotte, NC, Optimum offers small to medium-sized businesses a wealth of talent to fill their positions.

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