Employers spend an average 15 seconds looking at your résumé. So how do you grab their attention and land the accounting or finance job of your dreams? Follow these 7 tips to improve your résumé and cover letter.
1) Mention your designation
Show your credibility by highlighting your CPA designation, which gives employers confidence!
2) Summarize your skills
At the beginning of your résumé, include a short job-offer-specific summary of your experience and skills. That way, employers can see all your strengths at a glance. Focus on your expertise: For example, if you have expertise in accounting software, mention it.
3) Explain your achievements
Your résumé should describe what you can bring to the employer. In addition to job duties, mention concrete results for each previous job you have held, such as your contribution to the financial health of the company (e.g. negotiated a 10% discount with a supplier, improved the efficiency of the management process, etc.).
4) Liven up the content
Use action verbs as much as possible to describe your work experience. Aim for no more than 2 pages for the résumé and 1 for the cover letter: Their goal is to stir interest! Depending on the type of organization, a sharp graphic design or a dash of colour can be help you stand out.
5) Functional or chronological résumé?
Functional résumés are less popular than chronological résumés and often criticized for being hard to read. However, a mixed résumé (a skills section followed by experience and achievement sections) is an interesting option.
6) Personalize your letter
Research the employer, its mission and its values. Then adapt your cover letter accordingly by highlighting how your profile matches the company and the desired job. Make sure that you clearly specify the job you want and the name of the person who will receive your file.
7) Avoid the type of errors that beginners would make
Looking for your first practical experience in accounting? Don’t neglect the “employment” section of your resume. Mention your relevant work experience, extra-curricular activities and any related community service. And finally, make sure that your writing is good. All employers are sensitive to spelling mistakes and may set aside your application based on that criterion alone!