The bad news about accounting resumes is that if you make spelling or typographical errors, you most likely have zero chance of getting an interview, let alone a job offer. Why the bad news first? Well, there isn’t really a whole lot of upside or additional advantages to having a clean, well-documented resume – in this job market it is expected. Think of it as a “minimum” to getting to that next step, whether it be an interview or an actual offer letter. With that said, it is beyond critical to ensure you don’t get taken out of consideration as a candidate for an avoidable resume mistake.
Below, I will go through some of the accounting resume questions and tips I frequently discuss with students and entry level professionals.
Is it okay to have a resume longer than one page?
No. I don’t mean to be so blunt but I cannot think of any scenario where an accounting student would need a resume longer than one page. This seems to be the consensus among all of the campus and entry level accounting recruiters at the top accounting firms I have spoken to. Recruiters have to sift through thousands of resumes when they go onto campus, the last thing they want to do is spend more time than necessary reading through extra pages. The recruiter wants to be able to reference a few data points as quickly as possible: GPA, accounting GPA, internship experience, work experience, CPA exam eligibility, and leadership activities. There isn’t any reason you shouldn’t be able condense those items on to one page. If you are having trouble doing that, start reformatting and removing until you can squeeze it fits. Do you have a unique situation where you think a two page resume is warranted? Contact me and I would be glad to give you my opinion.
Document your best stuff above the fold
“The fold” typically refers to what you see on a newspaper above the crease. In the online marketing world, “above the fold” is what you see on a webpage before needing to scroll down. Above the fold is where the first impression of the information you are absorbing takes place. In resume speak, this would generally refer to the top 1/3 of the document. This will be the section that leaves the first, and most important impression on the recruiter or hiring manager. This section should include your GPA and work/internship experience as these items are usually most important to the decision maker.
Keep the text simple
You want to stand out from everyone else, I get it. If you use some crazy medieval looking font, you will certainly stand out but not in a good way. I always suggest using a basic but modern font such as: Helvetica, Arial, Century Gothic, or Georgia.
Make your contact info stand out
In today’s digital society, you don’t actually need to include your address on your resume anymore. That means you can replace it with other more modern modes of communication such as: Your cell phone number, your personal email address, a link to your LinkedIn profile (which should be set up as a resume itself), and your Twitter handle. This goes without saying but be sure to clean up your social media content before pointing the hiring manager in that direction. There are too many horror stories of people sending a hiring manager to their Twitter page which is littered with pictures of them partying.
Do you have any more tips for accounting resumes? Please share them below or reach out to me – I would love to hear from you.