A Two-Minute Test for Your Resume: Writing Tips Any Accounting and Finance Professional Can Use

You’ve set your sights on landing a new accounting or finance job, perused the different roles and found a position that tickles your fancy. Now it’s time to whip your resume into shape.  

The fact that those crucial few pages can make or break your chances of being called for an interview is hardly a secret. How can you make sure you push your resume to the top of the hiring manager’s pile and not into the shredder?

Follow these eight resume writing tips to refine your on-paper persona.

1. First impressions are lasting

A crucial part of resume writing is paying attention to its appearance. Is the design and copy density inviting or confusing? Is it well structured for easy reading? Is the layout consistent? Is the font simple and a readable size and color, or will a hiring manager need shades and a magnifying glass to tackle it?

2. Cut to the chase

Your resume may not be your only opportunity to market yourself to a potential employer, but it will be your first. Does your resume writing style convey valuable information in a clear, concise way, without requiring a decoder? Does it get straight to the point? Does it focus on your professional merits and finance and accounting skills without digressing into personal or anecdotal information? 

3. Temper the tone

While you may be tempted to reveal every facet of your personality while writing your resume, remember that humor doesn’t always travel well across paper or screen. Save the wit and clever language for more appropriate settings.

4. When in Rome …

Recent research by Robert Half Finance & Accounting reveals that companies consider specialized talent and niche skills a priority when hiring for finance and accounting roles. Angle your resume toward the position for which you’re applying, the organization you hope to join and the finance and accounting industry as a whole.

Hiring managers often employ software that does keyword searches of resume content. Do your homework by carefully reviewing the job posting and incorporate relevant language into your document. 

5. Keep it real

Once you’re done with your resume writing, read the document aloud to ensure you come over as professional, straightforward and genuine. Flashy, overzealous resumes — or those that exaggerate or fib — will be passed by. 

6. Do sweat the small stuff

Be sure every aspect of your resume portrays you in a professional light. So nix any extraneous information, like insight into your favorite hobbies. Also leave off the classic statement “References available on request.” Even something as small as your email address could influence a hiring manager’s opinion. Would you want to hire someone with a handle like “hotlady2” or “smartypants1971”? 

7. Kill your darlings

You might find it helpful to look at resume writing as a team sport. Pass your resume to friends or fellow professionals, especially those with finance or accounting backgrounds. Ask them to highlight the strong points and underline areas for improvement (or bits they have to read twice). 

Even if some of their suggested deletions include what you feel are your strongest sections, take feedback on the chin and, where necessary, rework your resume. It’s far safer to have someone you trust help you in this process before you hit Send.

8. Proofread

Three-quarters of U.S. executives polled in an Accountemps survey said one or two typos are enough to doom a potential candidate. These minor errors can lower your credibility even if you have stellar finance and accounting skills. Run spell-check and, as a final step, pass your resume to an impartial third party to proofread.

As your career evolves, you’ll find yourself constantly revisiting and revising your resume. Remember to give it a quick once-over for every new job to which you apply and keep up to speed on industry demands for finance and accounting pros.

Check out resume writing tips from credible resources such as Robert Half’s Resumania™ series for valuable, relevant insights, and share your own resume tips in the comments below.