Have you ever wondered why you’re forced to jump through so many hoops when applying for a bank loan? References, documents – it all has to be perfect. After all, you’re being entrusted with a large sum of money so you have a lot of convincing to do.
What you probably don’t realise though, is just how similar this process is to applying for a job. You’ll need strong references and a perfectly presented CV and – wait, you have spell checked that CV, haven’t you?
Poorly spelled CVs are just one of the countless problems we come across with talented candidates. Many people don’t understand that even the smallest mistake, can create huge holes in their application. As an applicant, it’s your job to convince your future employer that you’re the best candidate for the role; worthy of the title and salary. Add this to the challenge of having to stand out amongst hundreds of other well-written applicants and you begin to appreciate just how much work is involved.
To help you get your CV up to scratch, read on for our six key resume points specifically aimed at professionals in the Accounting and Finance sectors.
This is by far the most common problem we see. Incorrect spelling of company names and locations coupled with overly simplistic or convoluted sentences can leave readers frustrated. So, how can this affect your chances? Well, boasting exceptional accuracy and attention to detail and then leaving spelling mistakes in your application isn’t going to fill any reasonable employer with confidence. Your CV will have a big impact on where your career might go, so take pride in it. Print off a copy and read it aloud. If it doesn’t sound right, change it, and get someone else to read over it for good measure if possible.
Consider who’s going to be reading your CV before you send it off. In the Accounting market, one size does not fit all. If the recipient isn’t an Accountant, how will they understand all the technical jargon? Would they have heard of your company? If the answer is no, have you explained the size of the business and what they do? This context is vital for understanding how and where you fit within the organisation. Don’t make the reader work for this information, you’re trying to convince, not confuse them.
You’re an experienced professional, so start with what’s most relevant. For example, if the job advertisement is asking for someone with experience in Xero or SAP, make sure your experience is clearly shown. Your education is important but should only feature your most recent degree(s) and postgraduate Accountancy qualifications. Whilst you should leave out specifics such as your Year 11 Biology results, if you have recently started your career in the Accounting profession, including your High School UAI/ATAR can help demonstrate a track record of achievements to a potential employer. Your work experience and most importantly your achievements are what make you a truly valuable candidate, so make sure they’re grounded with facts and can be verified by your referees.
Hiring Managers are pressed for time. Shortlists need to be drafted and deadlines met. If they can’t find a mobile number or email address, they will usually end up calling another candidate. The accountancy job market is highly competitive, so if you miss a call, remember to follow up by responding to their voicemail via email or phone as soon as you’re able. When under time pressure, it can often come down to the candidate who is immediately available or at least, contactable.
Not everyone in the workforce is “a highly motivated team player with a drive to make a difference” and yet somehow, 99% of candidates have this right at the top of their CV. Stick to quantifiable facts and focus on achievements and your job responsibilities that make you unique. For example, if you administrated payroll for over 200 employees and cut payroll time by 2 hours each week, you should definitely include this information. When explaining your accomplishments, avoid waffling by staying succinct and using bullet points.
If you have months or even years of time in between your roles, can you explain them? Will these dates be supported by your referees? Maybe you took some time off to travel after choosing to leave the Big 4 and now you’re looking for that first role back. With good reasoning, it won’t be an issue but bear in mind that failing to address these gaps in your employment history could cause your application to hinder your job search efforts. Again, the key is not to leave your reader with questions. Always have all the information they need there in front of them.
So, with all the above taken into account, what does an ideal CV look like? Take a look at our sample Resume Template here in our Job Seeker Toolkit. Putting in the extra time to format and proofread your CV will pay dividends, so don’t put it off! If you need assistance in perfecting your own CV or help in getting connected with great opportunities, then don’t hesitate to contact one of our specialist Recruiters today.
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Having a good CV is not everything. Find out at 3 Critical Things You Need To Do Before Applying For Your Next Accounting Job about what else you can do to improve your application.