Your résumé is your potential employer’s first impression of you. Often, a strong résumé is what will earn you a first round interview. Employers or their human resources departments may receive a high volume of résumés and only have a few moments to initially glance at each one. If your achievements pop out, your résumé will get a longer look and potentially an interview.
A résumé has several sections. You should look at samples of accounting résumés to see various layout options. You can find samples online or at your university’s career services office.
The heading of your résumé is your name and contact information. Be sure to include your home address, your telephone number, and your e-mail address. The next section on your resume is your objective. This is a sentence that describes the position you are seeking and also mentions what you can contribute to the job.
After your objective comes your experience. This section is the bulk of your résumé. List all relevant job experience, starting with your most recent, and progress in reverse chronological order. If you have extensive accounting career experience but have also worked in other fields, you may want to divide this section into two headers, “Accounting Experience” followed by “Other Experience.” The name of your current and former employers should be bold, followed by the dates that you were employed and your title at each company. Look at résumé samples for ideas on how to format this section. Under each employer, create a bulleted list of your duties and accomplishments. Each bullet should contain one phrase that captures something you contributed to the company. Begin each bullet with a verb. You may want to reference a list of good action verbs, such as “directed” and “coordinated,” so that you do not feel tempted to use the same word over and over again. Try to use a different verb for each bullet point. Also, be as quantitative as possible. If you saved your employer a certain amount of money over a certain amount of time, include the figures.
Your education is the next section of your résumé. If you have a graduate degree, list that first, followed by your previous degrees. Include any honors or other awards that you received while you were a student. If you have just graduated and do not have much work experience yet, you might want to list your education before your experience section on your résumé.
The final section of your résumé is the skills section. List all computer programs relevant to your career that you are proficient in. Also, list any foreign language skills or anything else that could be an advantage to your career.
While applying to different jobs, you may want to tailor your résumé to specific prospective employers. Read each job description carefully. You may want to emphasize some of your accomplishments over others depending on what the job requires. You may even be able to pick out some action verbs to use in your experience section from employers’ job descriptions.
How long you have been working determines how long your résumé should be. If you are a fresh graduate or have only a few years of work experience, your résumé should fit on one page. If you have already established an accounting career, your résumé can be longer than one page but should not exceed two pages. If you need ideas, you can find free résumé templates online.
Once you have crafted your résumé, have someone you trust read it over. Take your résumé to the career services office at your university or ask someone who has experience in accounting careers to give you advice.