6 resume mistakes accounting and finance job seekers should sidestep

  • resumes
  • August 08, 2017

As your career partner, we have a few pieces of advice to share when it comes to writing a great resume. Our expert recruiters spend a lot of time reviewing finance and accounting resumes, and let’s just say they can easily spot when a candidate makes a crucial resume blunder. We want you to land that dream job, so don’t let this happen to you! We’ve compiled a list of six resume mistakes you should avoid so your application doesn’t go barreling toward the trash bin.

1. Undermining your detail-oriented skills.

While having an error-free resume is important for everyone, it is vital for finance and accounting candidates. Most finance/accounting candidates boast about their detail-oriented skills. But what does it say about your skills if you submit a resume with grammatical or spelling errors?

Therefore, it’s wise to tap into a number of methods to ensure your resume is spotless. First, run spell-check. Then, get a second set of eyes on your resume to proofread it as well. And, pay very close attention to your contact information. Even the smallest typo can make it impossible for recruiters or employers to reach you.

2. Using an objective that won’t accomplish your objective.

When you have only six seconds to impress a recruiter or hiring manager, an unhelpful or vague objective at the top of your resume can waste valuable time and space. Many candidates choose to dump the objective altogether. If you are going to include one, don’t make it about what you hope to achieve with phrases, such as “looking for a role in investment banking” or “seeking an accounts payable position.”

Instead, replace it with a brief “elevator pitch” about who you are and the top contributions you have to offer the prospective employer.

3. AARG, EBITA, AP… Oh My.

The finance and accounting profession is loaded with insider jargon, acronyms and terms. It’s ok to use these when relevant and necessary, but don’t overdo it. Similarly, avoid excessive use of empty terms, such as “results-driven” or “change agent.” You want to utilize words that are specific to you and your skills, not ones that could be used to describe millions of other candidates.

In general, ax unnecessary words from your resume. Overly wordy and flowery descriptions may make the readers’ eyes gloss over.

4. Too many empty words, not enough keywords.

Digital technologies have changed the way job applications are sent, viewed and screened. That means, if you don’t have the relevant keywords embedded throughout your resume, it may get lost in cyberspace. Identify keywords that consistently appear in the job descriptions of roles you are pursuing. Then, look for strategic places to include them in your resume.

Candidates whose resumes best match up to the position and what recruiters are searching for online will be those who make it to the top of the pile. Several accounting/finance resume keywords to consider include: financial analysis, debt management, corporate accounting, financial planning and tax accounting.

5. Focusing on job tasks, not job accomplishments.

Recruiters and hiring managers are interested in learning more than just your past job titles and dates of employment. What’s more important is what you were able to accomplish when in previous roles, because this gives potential employers a better sense of the results you could bring to their organization.

For example, nearly any accounting candidate could claim they “managed billing.” But how many can say they “implemented a new billing system that reduced billing delays by 15 days”? Use quantitative information, such as percentage increases or decreases, cost savings and efficiency improvements.

6. Going for quantity over quality.

Limit your work history to only those positions or experience that aligns with the job for which you are currently applying. There is no need to mention every job you’ve ever had, particularly if it strays from the accounting/finance field. Focus on the last 10 or 15 years and delete any irrelevant jobs.

Similarly, avoid including generic skills simply to bolster your resume. For example, most finance and accounting candidates are capable of using Excel. Instead, include ways you are able to manipulate or use Excel in a way most other candidates don’t.

Now that you are ready to avoid these six resume mistakes, get out there and land your dream accounting and finance job!