Posted by Michelle Schusterman on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 06:00
It’s love at first sight: A company posts an accountant job description, and you know, without a doubt, that this is your dream job. But even though you feel sure you’re the perfect candidate, you never even get called in for an interview. What went wrong?
Most likely, the problem isn’t you — it’s your resume. No matter how impressive your qualifications and education, a resume that doesn’t match the specific accountant job description may never cut through the clutter and grab the hiring manager’s attention. Here are five resume-writing tips that can help your future employer realize you’re the candidate who fits the bill.
1. Match the employer’s keywords.
Many companies filter their incoming resumes through a computer program to weed out candidates who aren’t a good match based on keywords. That filter means your resume may not ever make it to the hands of a hiring manager. Study the accountant job description and look for keywords and action verbs such as “diagnose,” “financial compliance” and “sales forecasting.” Use these keywords wherever applicable in your own resume. Don’t forget to match your job title and location to the job description as well, if possible. The more your keywords align, the greater your chance of rising to the top of the stack.
2. Specify your skills and certifications.
Does the employer spell out "certified public accountant," as well as use the abbreviation “CPA”? Then you should do the same when you list your accounting certifications in your resume. The same principle applies when the position requires proficiency with particular systems and software. If Microsoft Dynamics is the system you are using, but the job description mentions Oracle, be sure to include on your resume any Oracle training you’ve had.
3. Show your results.
Instead of simply describing your duties at each job listed in your work history, try writing miniature case studies that include specific results. For example, stating that you “inspected accounting systems” is fine, but take the description a step further and offer a statistic that shows how you helped your firm increase its efficiency or helped to reduce costs. Including results will demonstrate to your potential employer that you’re a problem solver who is aware of the importance of your role in an organization.
4. Include less obvious soft skills.
Don’t gloss over the soft skills on your resume. In fact, employers are increasingly looking for a few unlikely soft skills in their accountants. For example, mentioning your public speaking skills tells a potential employer you’re capable of presenting your ideas and reports to clients. Business acumen is another important soft skill. It’s not unusual these days for "social media savvy" to show up on an accountant job description. Be sure to mention your skills with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other applicable tools.
5. Focus on the future.
You may not meet one or two requirements of the accountant job description right now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to refer truthfully to those requirements on your resume. Not too familiar with Sage? Sign up for a workshop. No experience with message management? Find a webinar. In addition to including your continuing education efforts on your resume, be ready to discuss them in the interview.
What resume-writing tips do you have for matching an accountant job description? Share your advice in the comments below.