resume writing for finance/accounting professionals

I have made a couple of earlier posts on resume writing generally, but this post is specifically directed at finance and accounting professionals. The first rule is to use lots of numbers - it looks good; it says: Finance/Accounting.

Formatting

Particularly for accounting/compliance focused professionals, you cannot be too conservative with how you format your resume. Definitely only use black and white. Use two fonts at most, and certainly no fancy borders, wordart etc. On balance I think it is better not to include a photo. Plain and conservative is the rule.

Employer information

Make sure you put all of your responsibilities and achievements under each relevant employer. It doesn’t hurt at all to let the reader know what industry your employer is operating in, whether they are listed or private, multinational or domestic etc, and to give some idea of the size of the company in terms of turnover and staff (numbers!). Employers want to know what kind of reporting and compliance environment you have been operating in.

Responsibilities

Certainly indicate the size of the P&L or BS that you are responsible for (whichever looks better!). Let the reader know if you have managed or supervised any staff. Take the opportunity to make it clear if you have been handed any additional responsibilities due to good performance. Use numbers.

Achievements

I can’t stress enough how important it is that you include this section and do a good job on it. This is what will differentiate you from the rest. Make sure that you have a number of achievements on your resume for each position, and be very specific. Use numbers. You reduced the closing time by 2 days. You shaved 3% off costs in a business with a  $500m cost base saving 15 million dollars. Numbers…you get the idea.

Reasons for Leaving

Employers see a lot of downside when a key finance person leaves. If you have had a few jobs in quick succession, but have reasons that will reflect well on you then don’t hesitate to include a reason for leaving section after each job explaining why. Keep it short and clean, and make sure that it could not possibly be a reason for leaving the job you are applying for!

Systems

Include under each employer what systems you used. If you have particularly strong skills in a certain ERP or in Excel, then that is probably worth including at the top of your resume as well. Spell out exactly what modules you can use, or the level of your Excel experience.

Qualifications

No reason not to include your membership number for any accounting qualifications you have and your year of graduation/qualification. It makes people feel better….numbers!

Personal Stuff

Keep it very short if you include it at all. You are not being hired because you love playing the trombone and doing improvisational theatre. Having personal information on your resume says that you have trouble separating your work and your personal life, which is a big red flag to employers.