Study the Accountant Job Description to Improve Your Resume

A pen lying on an accountant's job description points to "Technical requirements"

When it comes to applying for your next financial position, don't overlook the importance of the accountant job description as you prepare your resume. Paying close attention to this is the key to getting your resume noticed in a sea of competing applications.

Interacting with technology

First of all, if you're submitting it through a company's website, your resume may initially be screened through an applicant tracking system designed to eliminate job seekers who may not be qualified for the job. To improve your odds of getting your resume past these technological gatekeepers, incorporate keywords or phrases from the accountant job description into your resume and cover letter.

Keep in mind that you're dealing with an algorithm, not a reasoning human, so your wording should be consistent with the job description, even if certain terms have essentially the same meaning. For instance, if the job description calls for "accounting experience, preferably in general ledger, reconciliations, accounts payables and financial statements," use these exact terms in your resume – if, of course, they honestly describe your experience. The more the wording of your resume mirrors the accountant job description, the more likely your resume is to be rated high and given further review.

In addition, give some thought to other possible keywords that might be built into the algorithm. For an accountant job, for example, the resume screening software might also be programmed to scan for certain professional associations, accounting honors or schools attended. Incorporating these types of relevant keywords can also help your resume get noticed.

Additional strategies

Sooner or later, your resume will, hopefully, be reviewed by a living, breathing human. For this reason, it – and the cover letter – should also reflect more subtle aspects of the accountant job description.

Visit the employer's website to get a sense of the corporate culture and language of the firm. If you notice certain recurring words or phrases in describing the company's mission, values or capabilities, try to weave those into your resume and cover letter. Also, consider the wording of the accountant job description and its tone. If it has a playful tone, for instance, you might echo that in your cover letter.

The advantage of trying to channel the job description in your application materials is twofold: Your resume should have a better chance of getting noticed and, if hired, you'll be working at a job for which you're well-suited (assuming your skills and experience are, in fact, a good match with the accountant job description).

Today's technology definitely adds an extra layer of challenge to developing and submitting your resume, making the process more science than art. But if you take the time to carefully study the accountant job description and corporate language, you should be able to make your resume more effective and give your job search efforts a boost.