The biggest mistakes that accounting professionals make on their CVs / resumes

The job market is hugely competitive and candidates at all levels of seniority, across all sectors, are often guilty of underestimating the importance of their CV / resume, writes Matt Craven of The CV & Interview Advisors. It’s not just about spelling and grammar, the art of creating a great CV / resume has become much more sophisticated, with a knowledge of marketing techniques, psychology and global recruitment best practice needed to really master the topic.

In this article, we will cover some of the biggest mistakes that accounting professionals make when writing their CV / resume.

Hedging your bets

It’s not uncommon for job seekers to have a number of different roles in mind and the temptation is to create a generic CV / resume that won’t rule anything out. The problem is, recruiters and hiring managers are looking for a very specific person with a very specific set of skills, so writing your CV / resume in a rather ambiguous fashion will only result in failure to land an interview. If you do have multiple target roles in mind, create multiple variants of your CV / resume and make sure that your application is super focused each and every time.

Being too modest

Despite what you might think, CVs / resumes in general are often understated and fail to give evidence that the candidate is good at their job. This doesn’t mean you should fill your CV / resume full of superlatives, but it does mean you should provide evidence of your abilities through tangible achievements. Each position that you list on your CV should include, alongside your tasks, a liberal smattering of achievements. This could be projects you have worked on, new ways of working that you have introduced or positive business benefits that your work helped to drive. You can also consider using case studies on your CV / resume to showcase your biggest achievements on page one.

Firing the scattergun

The Career History section of your CV is an opportunity to communicate all the key duties and responsibilities from each role, but many job seekers end up writing a random list of bullet points in no particular order that is difficult to read. The issue lies with the fact that there is no context to the bullet points and no scene-setting. Starting each job with a company description, a role summary and details of the team you managed (if you are at that level) can make a huge difference. You can then list your key tasks, and as mentioned above, finish up with as many achievements as you can muster for each role.

Less is not more

There’s a big difference between writing War and Peace and creating a CV with too little information to sell you. Hiring an accountant is a large investment for an employer, and they want to make sure they are making the right decision. Making informed decisions usually relies on more information and not less. A good statistic that highlights this point is that 85% of recruiters and hiring managers will check out the LinkedIn profiles of shortlisted candidates. That tells us that they want to do more due diligence that just reading a brief outline of where a candidate has worked and what they did in each role. Up to three pages is acceptable as you become more senior in your accounting career.

Check out our workbooks here, which give you step-by-step guidance to write a winning CV / Resume. 

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