Resume Tips for Entry-Level Accounting Jobs

Writing an effective resume can be a challenge for newcomers looking for entry-level accounting jobs. Armed with a few resume tips, you can be emboldened to proceed — especially if you know that many employers are eager to hire talented graduates who possess the right skills.

Check out these five resume tips that can lead to your first accounting jobs:

1. Go with a functional layout

Many employers expect to see a chronological resume, as this style emphasizes work experience. However, it's not necessarily the best presentation for a recent graduate. Consider experimenting with a hybrid layout by combining a functional format with chronological. This layout starts with a detailed list of your specific skill sets, followed by a reverse chronological listing of your work experience.

2. Try a summary

The objective statement has traditionally been the first section on a resume. However, for accounting grads, career goals are often broad and subject to change. Good resume tips in this case include replacing the objective with a summary: a short paragraph detailing your most impressive skills and accomplishments. Customize this summary for each position by researching what the organization is looking for in a candidate and then focusing on those qualities.

3. Emphasize your experience

Work experience is one of the most important attributes for new accounting graduates looking for a job, according to a recent Accountemps survey. If you're just entering the workforce, you may feel you have little to add to this section of your resume. However, your work experience section is not limited to traditional accounting jobs. Include any paid or unpaid internships, temporary or contract jobs, and volunteer work related to finance and accounting.

In your education section, be sure to include any extracurricular activities that involved relevant accounting skills, such as fundraising, budget-keeping or event planning.

4. Mine for more skills

The more specific your list of skills, the better. Many organizations use filters based on keywords relevant to the job description. Perhaps your work in a restaurant included totaling receipts, or your volunteer work at a local school included managing a budget. Make sure to include several soft skills as well, such as communication, critical thinking skills and dependability.

Take a look at the Non-Accounting Job Skills in Demand and How to Build Them.

5. Check your verbs

Many accounting resumes fail to stand out because of weak verbs. One of the most vital resume tips to help you stand out is to use a variety of strong active verbs. You didn't just "contribute" or "provide," you "designed" or "spearheaded."

Start each sentence with an active verb. For example, "duties included managing sales accounts and budget" becomes "supervised sales accounts" and "analyzed and balanced budget." The result should be a list of concise, punchy phrases beginning with strong, creative verbs.

Trite as it may sound, every resume should be as unique as the applicant. A lack of professional experience doesn't mean a lack of skills. New accounting grads can successfully develop standout resumes by noting their accomplishments and abilities gleaned from professional experience gained from part-time jobs or internships, coursework, extracurricular activities and volunteer work.

Once you have your resume perfected, search for accounting jobs and ...


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More resume tips to help you land accounting jobs

Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2014 and was updated recently to reflect more current information.

Tags: Resume, Skills